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Like many single millennials, Ashley and Connor met cute the modern way: They matched on Bumble, the dating app where people swipe through potential partners but only women are allowed to initiate a conversation, and started texting.
But when Ashley asked an innocent question about work, Connor launched into a misogynistic rant in which he called her a “gold-digging whore.” Bumble’s response, a fiery blog post now known as the “Dear Connor” letter, quickly went viral.
The original dating service will be rebranded as Bumble Honey.
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.
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.
One key to Bizz’s success will be drawing a new demographic of users into Bumble’s ecosystem.
The challenge, says Bumble’s director of marketing, Chelsea Cain Maclin, is convincing “someone like my mother, who is married and has three kids and now wants to get back into healthcare work, that we have something to offer her.”This fall, Bumble is launching a targeted national ad campaign, geared toward women and men of varying ages, that will promote the idea that just one connection can transform your professional life.
Now Bumble is betting that its matchmaking technology can do more than foster romantic or personal connections.
After launching its Bumble BFF vertical a year ago, which pairs users with new friends, Wolfe is repositioning the company to make room for Bumble Bizz, a professional networking vertical debuting in early October where users can look for work, find a business partner, or hire new talent.
“I read what people were saying about me, and I was sure I was done,” she says.
“I felt like a washed-up rag, the dirtiest, grossest person in the world.” But shortly after her move, she got a call from Andrey Andreev, the founder and CEO of social networking site Badoo, who wanted to know her plans.