Dating app Bumble has been in the news ever since its inception in 2014 for being a revolutionary app that is run by women, catering to the needs of women. Yet again, Bumble has scripted history after its Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.
She is also the youngest female CEO to take a company public in the US.
Shares of Bumble Inc. notched 64 percent in its market debut last week, valuing Whitney’s stake at $1.5 billion. The company’s stock closed at $70.31 in New York, which puts its value at $13 billion, including debt. Additionally, Bumble raised $2.15 billion with its initial public offering (IPO).
Today, @Bumble becomes a public company. This is only possible thanks to the more than 1.7 billion first moves made by brave women on our app — and the pioneering women who paved the way for us in the business world. To everyone who made today possible: Thank you. #BumbleIPO 💛🐝 pic.twitter.com/OMLNGNvECB
— Whitney Wolfe Herd (@WhitWolfeHerd) February 11, 2021
“Hopefully, this will not be a rare headline. Hopefully, this will be the norm. It’s the right thing to do, it’s a priority for us, and it should be a priority for everyone else,” Whitney told the media.
Bumble’s steady growth had also made its CEO a part of Forbes list of America’s richest self-made women in 2020.
What makes Bumble different
Although the world of dating is cluttered with several apps, Bumble is the only one that gives women confidence and control to make the first move. Whitney founded Bumble after an acrimonious split from Tinder — a dating app also co-founded by her.
Whitney has gone on to build a multi-billion-dollar empire that aims to obliterate the most common experience of women entrepreneurs — sexual harassment.
It was harassment that triggered Whitney to quit Tinder and launch Bumble as a competitor. She had also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit at the time, which had a mention of how she was being called derogatory names by executives, and how she was eliminated from the position of a co-founder because “a girl in such a role makes the company seem like a joke.”
Initially, Whitney had planned to create a female-only social network but eventually, decided to start a dating app on the advice of Russian tech billionaire and Founder of dating app Badoo — Andrey Andreev. However, Whitney was sure she wanted to create a service “by women, for women,” and that’s what makes Bumble so different.
Why are there very few self-made women billionaires?
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index reveals that self-made women account for less than five percent of the world’s biggest fortunes, even though females make up for half of the world’s population. The wealth index is dominated by self-made men, who make up two-thirds of this list.
Further, out of the 559 companies that went public in the US in 2020, only three, including Bumble, are helmed by women. Last year, the world’s 500 richest people gained $1.8 trillion, of which 91 percent of that windfall went to men, reported the Bloomberg Index.
“Whitney saw an opportunity that wasn’t being addressed for women and based on her expertise, she’s made it into this gold mine, not just for her and her team but also her investors,” Allyson Kapin, General Partner at investment firm W Fund and Founder of the Women Who Tech network, told the media.
With this listing, Whitney has given a ray of hope to other women entrepreneurs to follow suit. One of the biggest challenges that women and other underrepresented groups in the startup world face is harassment.
According to a survey by Women Who Tech in 2020, about 44 percent of female founders surveyed reported they had experienced harassment on the job, while more than a third of the respondents admitted to having faced sexual harassment.
Another obstacle women-led startups face is receiving funding. According to Pitchbook data, less than three percent of venture capital goes to startups founded by women, and this figure has hardly budged over the last decade.
This is when studies by the Kauffman Foundation, MassChallenge, and BCG have found that female-founded companies generate more revenue than their counterparts.
But, with Whitney’s success, women in the startup world have renewed hope. “Whitney’s success will help further the case for investing in businesses that serve a female audience or that are founded by women,” Kelsi Kamin, an Austin venture capitalist, told the media.
(Edited by Suman Singh)