Wolfe was a co-founder at Tinder and widely credited with boosting that app’s popularity on college campuses.
She was fired in the midst of a breakup with Justin Mateeen, the service’s chief marketer.
“He can’t say you’re desperate, because the app made you do it,” she says, adding that she tells her friends to make the first move and just “blame Bumble.” Matches expire after 24 hours, which provides an incentive for women to reach out before it’s too late (the women-message-first feature is only designed for straight couples—if you’re LGBTQ, either party can send the first message.) Wolfe says she had always been comfortable making the first move, even though she felt the stigma around being too forward.
But there’s one essential difference: on Bumble, only women can send a message first.For Wolfe, 25, that key difference is about “changing the landscape” of online dating by putting women in control of the experience.On a sunny May morning in NYC, Whitney Wolfe smoothes her hair (golden) takes a sip of her iced coffee (black) and points across the leafy patio at a handsome guy sitting with a friend.“You swiped right in your head just now,” she says.“It’s easier as a guy, you’re swiping and then just letting the girls take the next step.” Plus, he adds, “the women are so impressive.” Wolfe pulls out her cell phone, which is hot pink with a bright yellow bumble-bee decal on the back, and shows me a guy she matched with in Costa Rica, of all places.
The great thing about Pink is the diversity of women.
With around half a million users sending 200,000 messages per day, it’s growing about 15% every week, Wolfe claims. While Bumble has not yet monetized and won’t disclose the details of its funding, Wolfe’s partner and major funder is Andrey Andreev, founder of Badoo, the multi-billion dollar European social network.
Their Austin-based office has only six employees—and five of them are women.
And while the whole messy incident has been held up to illustrate the challenges women face in a notoriously bro-friendly tech culture, Wolfe stops short of calling out sexism in tech.
“This isn’t necessarily a tech problem, this is a society problem,” she says.
’ And wouldn’t it be nice if there was no way he would think you were desperate or weird if you did?