Entrepreneur Spotlight: Whitney Wolfe-Herd, Bumble CEO

Whitney Wolfe-Herd is the founder and CEO of Bumble, the dating app that empowers women to take the lead in the world of online dating. She is a true force to be reckoned with in the tech industry and her journey to the top is nothing short of inspiring.
17 July 2023
Photo: Bumble.com

At 22, after graduating college, Wolfe-Herd started to work for Hatch Labs, a startup incubator where she met Sean Rad and Chris Gulczynski who later became the development team for Tinder. Together, in 2012, they created Tinder, with Wolfe-Herd coming up with the name and logo. However shortly after, in 2014, Whitney left after filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company. With the lawsuit settling for over $1 million, without any admission of wrongdoing, Sean Rad soon stepped down as Tinder CEO.

Speaking to Business Insider in 2015, Whitney said “I don’t wish for anyone to go through that, especially right as you’re turning 25.” Just two months after the lawsuit against Tinder, Wolfe-Herd launched Bumble. A female focused app that is dedicated to women making the first move. This feature means that women feel like they have more control over their online dating experience and has made Bumble one of the most popular dating apps amongst women.

Within its first year, Bumble had accumulated more than 15 million conversations and 8 million matches, and as of 2020, it had over 100 million worldwide subscribers. In 2022, Bumble was valued at over $8 billion!

The success Whitney had with Bumble made her one of the most influential women in tech. In 2018, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and was featured on the cover of Forbes “30 Under 30” issue. After giving birth to her first child in 2019, Wolfe-Herd has used her platform to advocate for equality and women’s rights, within and outside of the tech industry. 

Wolfe-Herd made Bumble a stellar example of parental rights as they declared $1,000 bonuses to offset childcare costs, four months paid leave, flexible start times and reimbursement for using breastmilk delivery services. 

“CEO’s often think about parenting within the context of maternity and paternity leave, but there are the nine months before and then there’s everything that comes after.” “I want to make sure that once a parent does come back to work, how do we do that in a flexible way?” 

In 2021, Wolfe-Herd took Bumble public, becoming the youngest female CEO to take a company public in the US. As she made history, Whitney also sparked headlines for bringing her son to the New York Stock Exchange, breaking down barriers for working mothers in the process.

The journey to the top has not been without its challenges, but Whitney’s determination and resilience have made her an outstanding role model for young women in tech. Writing on her Instagram, “Bumble is the outcome of a fiercely dedicated team who’ve worked tremendously hard to show that women can, should and will make the first move. When relationships are better for women, they’re better for everyone. To all the first movers, whether on our platforms, in business, or in life; you’re what today is about. Never take no for an answer, believe in yourselves and turn your pain into purpose.”

Through her work with Bumble and her advocacy for women’s rights, Wolfe-Herd is changing the landscape of the tech industry and paving the way for a more inclusive future.