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Whitney Wolfe, the founder of Bumble, at her dating app’s offices in Austin, Texas, Feb. 23, 2017. An all-female staff is just one way in which Bumble is a response to an online dating culture many see as toxic. (Drew Anthony Smith/The New York Times)

Dating game

How, under the leadership of Whitney Wolfe, Bumble became the ‘feminist Tinder’

March 21, 2017

The dating app Bumble boasts 800 million matches and 10 billion swipes per month. The company recently launched Bumble BFF, a matchmaking service for platonic female friendships, and plans to expand further with an app that caters to networking. A recent New York Times feature explored the business strategy that helped catapult Bumble to the top of its field — namely, putting women first.

The app, which was created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, prohibits nudity and is quick to block users who exhibit cruel or sexist behavior. Its abuse report rate is reportedly 0.005 percent. And on Bumble, women have to initiate contact with potential romantic partners, which Wolfe believes can help curb unsolicited advances and unwanted aggression.

“I’d read a lot about the psychology around rejection and insecurity, and I had noticed that when people feel insecure or rejected, they behave aggressively, erratically,” she told the Times. “Especially when you can hide behind a screen name or a profile picture. So I thought, how can we reverse-engineer that?”

It is perhaps little wonder, then, that Hello Giggles deemed Bumble the “feminist Tinder.” The app seeks to make dating a more pleasant experience for women — an idea that may have been born out of Wolfe’s own romantic experiences. She once dated fellow Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, but their relationship came to a very bitter, and very public end. In a lawsuit filed against the company, Wolfe claimed that Mateen called her a “whore” in front of colleagues and subjected her to a litany of other abuses.

The key to successful and safe dating, Wolfe says, is ensuring that women retain some power in the relationship. “I think a lot of the dysfunction around dating has to do with men having the control,” she told the Times. “So how do we put more control in women’s hands?”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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