The marketing team for the Bumble dating app developed by Whitney Wolfe Herd cherishes its message of female empowerment. Around Bumble’s Headquarters in Austin, Texas are posters and neon signs espousing various Bumble sayings like “Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry”, “Make the First Move” and “You’re a Queen Bee.” At Bumble, female empowerment is built into the design of the app.Bumble’s approach to online dating is to give women the power by requiring women to make the first move. Navigating the app is simple. The user swipes right or left to show interest. When two people signal a like, a match is created. The woman, and only the woman, in the match, has 24 hours to make the first move. If she doesn’t start a chat, the connection is lost. This brilliant twist to online dating was initiated and developed by Bumble CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd. “I always wanted to have a scenario where the guy doesn’t have my number, but I had his.” said Herd, “What if women make the first move, send the first message?”
The Bumble app went live in December 2014 and had over 100,000 downloads in its first month. Women like the app because it puts them in control of initiating the relationship. It makes them feel safer than other dating sites because it avoids unsolicited photos and creepy messages. Men participate in Bumble because it offers them a change of pace. Men don’t have the pressure of coming up with a clever opening line or the empty feeling of rejection when getting no response to their message.Bumble has proved so popular that Whitney Wolfe Herd added two more services: Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz.
Bumble BFF allows for platonic matches with women who share the same interests. As the app marketing message declares, it allows women “to add to their squad.” Bumble Bizz is a career networking app with the same woman-first interface. Similar in intent to LinkedIn, Herd says Bumble wants to “empower women to have the confidence to make the first move within a professional environment.”In reflecting on her success with Bumble, Herd said in a Fast Company interview: “I think so many women allow themselves to be defined by somebody else’s narrative.” There is no doubt that Whitney Wolfe Herd is in charge of Bumble and, literally, her own narrative. Her memoir, Make the First Move, is expected to be released next fall.