Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of “by women, for women” app Bumble is in the elite list of the youngest self-made billionaires in the world. At just 31-years old, Whitney ended Thursday by having $1.5 billion in her kitty based on her company’s stock that is priced at $70.31.
According to the company’s SEC filings, Wolfe Herd received a whopping $125 million payout ahead of Bumble’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) which was held last week. In the filing, some more crucial details came about in the form of the company looking to raise $100 million. As of now, the app has more than 42 million MAUs (monthly active users) across the globe and the company has generated $376.6 million in revenue.
As the company’s IPO came about, its stock traded up 77% above its target range. The stock has been trading at $76 per share under the “BMBL” ticker. The company had created the target range of $37 to $39 before it started trading and soon after the bell rang, it ended up selling more than 50 million shares.
Whitney Wolfe: Woman telling women stories
Bumble founder and former Tinder founder Whitney Wolfe launched Bumble as a dating service where she wanted to solve a complicated 21st-century relationship problem: helping women find love who are waiting for men. She did so by turning the tables and launched an app developed by women, mentored by women, where women were able to make the first move. This was seen as not only a huge shift in power dynamics in a patriarchy centered world but also an ingenious technology.
Whitney wrote a letter in her app’s SEC filing which said, “Throughout the journey of building Bumble, we were told that it was impossible to create a successful women-first brand and platform.” She then went on to say that after six years of hard work, she and her team have created a platform where they are celebrating ‘1.7 billion first moves made by women’.
“That women don’t, won’t, and shouldn’t speak first. That it would never work. Those objections have only fuelled us. Six years and countless Bumble weddings, babies, friendships, business partnerships, and meaningful relationships later, we have a diverse and fast-growing community spread across six continents. We’ve celebrated 1.7 billion first moves made by women,” Wolfe wrote.
Bumble today is the second most downloaded dating app after Tinder in the US which comes with a unique feature. The app lets women decide whom they want to initiate a conversation with and make the first move. Wolfe in her letter explained the importance of this feature by writing, “The importance of a woman making the first move is not exclusive to the world of dating, romance or love. It is a power shift, giving women confidence and control.”
But the beginnings of a success story called Bumble came from a turbulent incident. Whitney founded Bumble in 2014 after she exited Tinder, another popular dating app she was also a co-founder of. Her exit came from a sexual harassment lawsuit that Wolfe had filed against Tinder where she alleged that she was called derogatory names by top-level executives. Wolfe alleged that she was stripped of her co-founder title because she was a “girl” and a female being a company’s co-founder “makes the company seem like a joke.”
Wolfe is an inspiration for women who have pushed aside and pressed down hard. She spoke at CNBC “Make It” in 2019 where she went into details about her exit from Tinder and starting Bumble in 2014. Wolfe said, “Going out on my own in 2014 was scary. It was a risk.” She added, “I am scared of a lot of things, but I try to challenge myself every day to do something that scares me, because 90% of the time, it isn’t as bad as you thought it was.”
Wolfe also gave insight into entrepreneurial wisdom and said how true success can start with the simplest steps such as “writing your idea down”, “putting it on your bathroom mirror”. She later said that one has to start somewhere. Wolfe also spoke about how it is a convention for a lot of women to be discouraged to just “go for it”. But in her speech, she declared, “But start somewhere and go for it.”