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In August of 2014, Andreev and Wolfe met in Greece to discuss partnering on a female-centric dating app.Three years after that first conversation, Bumble has amassed more than 20 million users, and it continues to add more than 50,000 new ones per day.As companies like Uber and Google struggle to overcome public reports of discrimination, a rising cohort of women, from venture capitalists to finance and tech entrepreneurs, are determined to refashion what is acceptable and what is possible in the workplace.
Flanked by a handful of the 30 employees (mostly women) who work out of the company’s Austin office, she explains that she founded Bumble in 2014 “in response to our dating issues, our issues with men, our issues with gender dynamics.” At the time, Wolfe had been reeling from her dramatic exit from the dating app Tinder, where she served as VP of marketing.
Following an ugly breakup with cofounder Justin Mateen, Wolfe brought a sexual harassment suit against her former colleagues, accusing them of discrimination and stripping her of her cofounder title—claims Tinder called unfounded.
It’s on track to take in more than $150 million in revenue in 2018.
(The basic app is free, but more than 10% of its active users pay up to $9.99 per month for a subscription, which grants access to premium features such as a list of people who have already swiped right on them.) Bumble’s users are emboldened by the app’s impressively low rate of abuse reports; in addition to banning people like Connor, Bumble also blocks those who send unwanted nude photos, and it was the first dating app to initiate photo verification practices, limiting the potential for fake profiles.
The company called for a future in which Connor would “engage in everyday conversations with women without being afraid of their power”—and then, in an unusual move, banned him from using the service.