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Austin’s Bumble founder transforms more than online dating for women

Austin’s Bumble founder transforms more than online dating for women

Whitney Wolfe of Bumble
Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of Bumble. Photo by Andrew Chan

Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Whitney Wolfe.

When Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe broke up with the dating app, she struck out on her own to create Bumble, which puts women in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding that perfect someone. A long-time advocate for anti-bullying, Wolfe intended to start a social network for young girls that focused on positivity and building friendships. But when a friend suggested that she had an incredible idea for a dating app, she took his advice and ran with it.

Bumble encourages women to make the first move: a Sadie Hawkins concept with a twist. Its predominantly female team, headed by Austin resident Wolfe, is the first of its kind in the technology startup world, something the 27-year-old is proud of — and rightfully so.

The company has recently added Bumble BFF, aka Bumble for Friends, a setting that allows ladies uninterested in dating to find like-minded friends. This fall, Bumble plans to roll out Bumble Bizz, which will exist within the app like Bumble BFF and allows people to network with one another right from their phones.

We chatted with the queen bee herself to find out more about what inspires her to create safe, fun spaces for women online.

CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?

Whitney Wolfe: The lives we touch by connecting millions of people every day — something as simple as helping someone find a recommendation in a new city they’re traveling to, or even as life changing as finding their soulmate. Bumble connects people on such a tremendous scale that our team strives to work hard every day to see that those connections happen better, faster, safer, and more efficiently than the day before.

I’m inspired by being able to make the world a little bit smaller for those that you don’t yet know. The same way Facebook connects us to those we know, we strive to connect you to those you don’t know, yet.

CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference by innovating?

WW: Do something with purpose. Purpose first. In order to grow a company, it requires passion and dedication. The best way to find both of those is by doing something to better the lives of others, regardless of what that is.

That might be opening a new amazing local restaurant to give the community a place to congregate and share memories together, or starting a new app. It can be a large range of things. As long as purpose is at the helm, you’ll feel motivated to jump out of bed each day and work a little bit harder than the last.

CM: Sum up Texas in three words:

WW: Happy. Light-hearted. Spicy!

CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?

WW: I am deathly allergic to nuts!

CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”

WW: Your family and friends are healthy and happy, and there aren’t too many clouds in the sky.


RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 25 at 800 Congress, to celebrate Wolfe and her fellow Austin winners.