Tell me about Bumble. What makes its female-first approach different from what’s already available in the dating app world?
There’s a few reasons why the girl goes first on Bumble. On platforms like Tinder, you get like 50 matches but nothing happens. They just sit there looming. Or you get an awkward amount of messages that are in some cases unwanted, hurtful, discouraging, maybe just too persuasive, aggressive or just fall flat. If you change the rules, post a barrier on the match or create an ephemeral feeling with time expiring, then you’ll engage with someone better. By making the female talk first, it takes the pressure off the guy, which they love. And the female is encouraged and empowered to make the first move.
It’s very important when you’re talking about a product and the company to separate the two. The things that were written in my lawsuit … were about the culture of a company. Is Tinder (the app) empowering to women? Sure. I think any time a woman is in control of her dating life is great. However, I will say I think it’s tragic and disappointing to see the behavior of a lot of users on Tinder. Tinder has empowered a lot of women, yes. But it has its flaws as every product does.
A big part of Tinder’s success came from its marketing campaign to college fraternities and sororities, a plan that you were a big part of. Are you marketing Bumble differently this time around?
The way I’ve been portrayed in the media is to say I invented college approach marketing. That’s not true. It’s been a proven model that works. We have thousands of students using Bumble over three dozen campuses in the United States. We also are activating in UK colleges, which is exciting. But where I was at 22 when we started Tinder is very different than where I am at 25. I am in the young professional group now so my capacity to understand the needs of the 25-year-old are a little better.
Do you see Bumble being in direct competition with Tinder?
Obviously it’s in the same space, but my intention is not to be the direct competitor to anyone. I wish Tinder all the best in the world. I still hold equity in the company, and I hope it succeeds. The market is different. We’re trying to target someone who likes the fun of Tinder but might want something a little more serious, someone who likes the simplicity of Tinder but wants to make the first move.