Whitney Wolfe Herd — the world’s youngest female billionaire fighting misogyny and putting women first
Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder & CEO of Bumble, became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire at 31. She’s now dominated global headlines as being the youngest female CEO to take a company public in the United States.
Back in 2014, Wolfe Herd launched the app Bumble as the only dating platform empowering women to make the first move. She notes, “Bumble has now grown far beyond a dating app into a networking platform, allowing people of all genders to make empowered connections in all areas of their lives, whether that means you’re seeking a romantic relationship, making new friendships or growing your professional network.” Bumble now has over 55 million users in 150 countries.
“Why am I cleaning up somebody else’s drama? Women are always cleaning up somebody else’s mess.”
Wolfe Herd co-founded Tinder in 2013 and left one year later after experiencing sexual harassment and sex discrimination. She filed a lawsuit against Tinder including claims of threatening and abusive behaviour from her former boss and ex-boyfriend, Justin Mateen. She claimed Mateen called her a “gold digger” and a “whore” and attacked her with derogatory and threatening text messages. Wolfe Herd also alleged that Tinder had wrongfully stripped her of a co-founder title. Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, denied all claims but paid out an estimated $1m to settle the dispute. Fueled by her experience, Wolfe Herd decided to compete against Tinder and entered one of the most saturated markets, where over 90% of online dating startups fail. However, she quickly rose to success by carving out a lucrative space that focused on the needs of women.
“My ambition comes from abusive relationships”
Wolfe Herd decided to create a platform where women had more control and power. She designed Bumble so that women can send the first message after matching with a user, reinventing the online dating landscape. Wolfe Herd’s mission was to create a safe space for digital romance as online dating commonly sees women (and particularly women of colour) harassed and bullied. Bumble creates a more polite and considerate feel than competitor apps. It avoids unsolicited photos, for example, the app banned shirtless mirror selfies. Bumble tries to prevent unpleasant experiences for users and mitigate abuse. Wolfe Herd claims, “I’ve never had this healthy male relationship until I created it. I engineered an ecosystem of healthy male relationships in my life.”
“We have embraced the type of feminine design that a lot of tech spaces steer clear of”
Bumble has grown to 70 employees where approximately 85% are women. The new headquarters, based in Austin, Texas, boldly embraces themes of female empowerment. The offices are decorated with posters and neon signs promoting numerous Bumble mantras such as “Be the CEO Your Parents Always Wanted You to Marry” and “You’re a Queen Bee”. Wolfe Herd says, “as for the space, it’s really all about reflecting the themes of our brand: kindness, self-respect, fun, and a celebration of female empowerment.”
I can’t wait to see more female entrepreneurs pioneering change the way Whitney Wolfe Herd did. She is a leading example of a businesswoman who fiercely stands for what they believe in and stays true to personal beliefs. Wolfe Herd fought against misogyny and was compelled to make the world a better place for women. As the youngest female self-made billionaire, she effortlessly leaves us in awe by powerfully inspiring us in many ways.