At just 31 years old, the businesswoman accumulates a fortune of US $ 1.5 billion after going public for her company, Bumble. Wolfe also became the youngest woman in the United States to take her company to the stock market.
At just 31, Whitney Wolfe is the youngest (non-heiress) billionaire in the world, with a fortune of $ 1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
The title was won in February, when the co-founder and CEO of the dating app Bumble went public.
WEBSTORIES tells the story of Whitney
She also became the youngest woman in the United States to take her company to the stock market. And she did this by carrying her son in her arms.
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Wolfe, born in Salt Lake City, United States, has known the online dating business for years: she was the co-founder and vice president of marketing for Tinder, one of the world’s most popular apps in this field.
However, her experience at that company did not end well. In 2014, she sued Tinder for sexual harassment, claiming that her ex-boss and ex-partner, Justin Mateen, insulted and bombarded her with threatening text messages.
Although the company denied any responsibility in the matter, Mateen was suspended and later resigned. The dispute ended with an out-of-court settlement, but Wolfe declared a few years later in The Times that the situation was very difficult.
“I was flooded with hate online, lots of attacks, people insulted me, really painful things that I had never experienced.”
She came to believe, she said in the interview, that at the age of 24 her professional career was over. “So I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m going to rebuild myself’.
It seems that this “reconstruction” was very quick. In the same year that her relationship with Tinder ended, she founded Bumble, with Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev.
Although it was also a dating app, it had a different feature from the others: only women could start a conversation.
According to Wolfe, the idea was to give women greater decision-making power, a formula that proved to be effective with the company’s success.
In November 2019, Andreev left the company and a year later the Blackstone company bought the stake from the Russian businessman.
When he was 11, Wolfe moved in with his family in France. A few years later, she returned to the United States to finish high school and attend college, according to The Washington Post.
While studying International Relations at Southern Methodist University, Texas, she started some small businesses and founded a non-profit organization to support environmental causes.
At age 22, she joined Hatch Labs in Los Angeles and, while working there, contacted a startup called Cardify, run by Sean Rad. That’s when Wolfe, Rad and others worked to create the dating app Tinder, according to Money Inc.
Feminist profile of businesswoman
Bumble was created as a dating app, but over time the company expanded its business. In addition to contacting potential partners, the application also has a space to find new friends, and another to generate professional contacts.
As part of the expansion of the business, Wolfe gained prominence in the media with a feminist speech and a profile of human rights defender.
“I am more dedicated than ever to helping to promote gender equality and end the misogyny that still plagues society,” she wrote in a letter posted on her company’s website, also expressing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘Let’s make penis pictures illegal’
She also promoted the passing of a Texas law that penalizes sending photos showing “private parts”, with a $ 500 fine.
In an interview with Bloomberg, published in January 2020, Wolfe recalled the day she decided to start a campaign against penis pictures. “It all started when I broke into a meeting and said ‘Guys, let’s make a law and let’s make penis pictures illegal!'”
Obviously at Bumble you can’t send pictures of penises. The company currently claims to have 81 million users in 150 countries and is the second most popular dating app in the United States, after Tinder.
Although some experts have criticized the company for focusing its marketing strategy on women, reducing their chances of growth among men, the company has had good results.
Amid the covid-19 pandemic, Bumble recorded revenue of $ 417 million in the first nine months of 2020, a significant increase compared to the $ 363 million earned in the same period last year.