Interview: Whitney Wolfe, Tinder co-founder and CEO of new dating app Bumble

"Surround yourself with people who build you up"

The latest in our series of interviews with amazing women doing interesting things in the worlds of tech, business and building the future saw us chat to Whitney Wolfe. She was one of the original co-founders of Tinder, but ended up suing the company for sexual harassment and discrimination, among other things.

Happily, she’s now CEO and founder of a new dating app: Bumble, which we mentioned in our round-up of female-friendly Tinder alternatives.

So what makes this one different? Well, after two people mutually ‘opt in’ by swiping right, they’re added to each other’s ‘hive’ of connections. The woman has to say something first within 24 hours or the connection disappears forever. For same sex connections, or friendships, either person has to make a move within 24 hours before that connection disappears. Regret swiping left? Just shake your phone to undo it. Described by some as “Tinder for women,” we had to know more.

Hi Whitney! Please introduce yourself!

My name is Whitney. I am 26 years old. I live in Texas. I split my time between emails and doting on my dogs.

Can you tell us a bit more about Bumble?

I wanted to start a platform that would hold people accountable online, primarily setting out to solve online bullying that young people (especially teens) experience on a day to day basis. It is really shocking and terrifying to me that the bullying my generation experienced is so different from what teens and children will be facing in this next wave where bullying no longer takes place on the playground, but in the privacy of their home on social media.

It can be gut wrenching to mental health and confidence. While I was setting out to start this (it was going to be called Merci), I was approached by my current partner in bumble who is an expert entrepreneur, Andrey Andreev, founder of Badoo, Europe’s most successful multi billion dollar social network. He loved my vision and passion for the cause, yet encouraged me to go back into a space I had experience with. Therefore, Bumble was born, where women go first.

Image: Bumble

What sort of feedback have you had from users?

Phenomenal. We receive the most incredible emails from users who want to share their experiences with us.

We’ve encountered lots of dating apps that don’t deal well with people who fall outside the straight/gay/male/female sections of society. Does Bumble include them?

It is in the pipeline to introduce features that will address these type of issues to ensure everyone feels welcomed in the app.

Hmm, OK. Your app is currently only available on iOS. Isn’t it a bit strange that everyone who meets each other on Bumble is an Apple user?

Android is coming in the very near future! We’ve been working very hard on it.

What are the best and worst bits of your job?

Even the worst bits are still the best bits. I love my job. I love my team. I am so passionate and I feel so fortunate every single day.

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would you say?

You are the company you keep. Surround yourself with people who build you up and are a positive light.

What do you think is the future of dating? (Will we one day all go on dates in virtual reality? Will there be a dating app for meeting robots?)

I hope so! I’m really into robots right now 😉

Any last thoughts?

If you can dream it, you can do it.

If you want to try Bumble, Apple users can head here to download it (free). Android users and people who don’t fit the gender/sexuality parameters currently supported on Bumble, watch this space.


Main image: Whitney Wolfe