WHITNEY WOLFE HERD
Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder + CEO of Bumble
The WOMAN. The myth. The legend and my personal hero. If you haven’t heard of Whitney Wolfe Herd, the now youngest self-made woman billionaire at the age of 31, it is safe to assume you may be living under a rock. Whitney Wolfe Herd is the Founder and CEO of Bumble, the parent company that operates Badoo and Bumble, two of the world’s largest dating and connection apps with millions of users globally. Bumble has over 600 employees in offices in Austin, London, and Moscow.
To give you a little bit of background on Whitney, here is her story. In 2014, she launched the Bumble app as the only connection platform where women make the first move and control the interaction. As the company has grown, she has executed her vision of making Bumble the first social network where women make the first move to one that helps facilitate empowered connections across all areas of life. The company launched Bumble BFF in 2016 as a friend-finding feature and launched Bumble Bizz for professional networking in 2017. In January 2020, Wolfe Herd welcomed Blackstone as Bumble’s new majority owner with a shared vision of growth for Badoo and Bumble. In February 2021, she filed an IPO for Bumble and took her company public. Prior to Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd co-founded Tinder, where she served as the Vice President of Marketing. Whitney is one of the biggest changemakers in the fight for women and their place in the corporate world. She has singlehandedly paved the way for women everywhere, with Bumble facilitating over 1.7 billion first moves for women worldwide. As an ambassador of the Bumble Honey Ambassador Program, I had the special opportunity to ask Whitney questions on connection, self-care, and personal development.
What is the greatest connection you’ve ever experienced?
There are so many amazing connections that I’ve made in my lifetime. I wouldn’t have been able to build on and execute my vision for Bumble without the brilliant people and mentors around me. A lot of these people became early team members who helped launch the business in 2014. No matter what endeavor you choose to pursue, it’s crucial to find other people who genuinely believe in you and your idea.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my husband, who has been a powerful force in my life. When I first founded Bumble, I wanted nothing less than to be a part of changing thousands of years of gendered behavior, which is no easy feat, and my husband believed in me every single step of the way. My connection with my 1-year-old son is also indescribable – albeit new! I learn from him every single day.
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve received?
“Never take no for an answer.” When I first founded Bumble six years ago, I received a lot of doubt. We were the first dating app where women were required to make the first move in heterosexual dating, and a lot of people told me that this wasn’t possible - no woman would ever take the initiative when it came to dating. At this point, it became clear to me that the only way to overcome this skepticism was to normalize this by engineering equality into our product.
Our mission started with convincing one, then two, then three, and so on, people to take a chance on us by downloading the Bumble app. We’ve pushed through the resistance and skepticism, and now there are millions of people worldwide on Bumble. Looking back at this journey helps me stay confident - not only about our business’s future, but it helps me understand how much our mission resonates with the global community, too.
What three phrases would you want to leave behind as your legacy?
I have one that I can’t emphasize enough: “make the first move”. When Bumble launched in 2014, no dating app had ever required women to make the first move. This was an entirely different social construct than what was already established in terms of gender dynamics. However, this phrase isn’t only applicable to the Bumble app - I want to empower everyone to take initiative in their everyday lives, whether it’s texting someone first, asking for a job promotion, or reaching out to an acquaintance to potentially foster an amazing friendship. “Make the first move” can mean a lot of different things to different people, but it’s a phrase that has truly changed my life.
What keeps you centered in soul, body, and mind?
My family. Having my first child and starting a family has centered me more than ever. It’s positively impacted my health and my thoughts on work-life balance. Now that I’m a mom, I feel an entirely new sense of responsibility. I want to be the best version of myself for my son.
What has kept you moving on the bad days through the building process of your career and company?
Entrepreneurs must have a purpose beyond creating a product that only meets the bottom line. You have to identify a problem that you passionately and vigorously want to solve. When I founded Bumble, I knew that we needed to tackle a significant problem: there was no safe place online built for women. I felt firsthand just how damaging social media could be. I wanted there to be a safer, more accountable internet rooted in kindness and engineered to empower women.
I’ve realized that there will always be bad days. Whether it was building Bumble from the ground up in 2014 or to this very day where I’m now experiencing what it’s like to be the CEO of a global company for the first time, I’ve realized that there will always be days of ambiguity, uncertainty, and potential failure, which just comes with growing a business. However, in those moments, I remind myself of the progress that we’ve made so far and the mission ahead of us. It’s this clear vision and purpose that fuels me every single day.
What tips do you have for personal development as a college student?
My path was never a linear one. When I graduated from Southern Methodist University, all of my friends were getting incredible jobs, and although I knew that there was something out there for me, I had no idea what it was. So, instead of taking the path some in my life expected, I went to work at an orphanage in Southeast Asia and saw the world from a completely different perspective. When I came home, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world.
I encourage you to chase after your passion, look to solve the problems that impact you most, and to learn more about the world in any way that you can – whether it’s by joining a school or community organization, volunteering, traveling, or immersing yourself in the world of content around your areas of interest.
To download Bumble for iPhone, Click here.