On Thursday, February 11, Bumble made its market debut (as “BMBL”), opening at $76 a share. The company is the second dating app to go public — the IPO for Dallas-based Match Group (owner of Tinder) debuted in 2015. By the end of the day, Bumble founder and Southern Methodist University graduate Whitney Wolfe Herd had a reported net worth of $1.5 billion, making her the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.
After struggling to grasp the complexities of last month’s Gamestop news (no matter how many thoughtful explainers I was sent), I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of the stock market. But I can absolutely appreciate the optics of a young woman — one who has experienced professional setbacks and sexual harassment — standing proudly alongside her young son and husband (who was sporting a very smart Hadleigh’s suit for the occasion).
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Whether or not you regularly use the Bumble app, you likely stay aware of Bumble as a brand. Since launching in 2014, the app has grown immensely, from adding services for platonic relationships (Bumble BFF in 2016) and professional networking (Bumble Bizz in 2017) to attracting investors like Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams (just to name a couple). The female-first app — what sets Bumble apart from other dating apps is that women must make the first move in a conversation — has always had a message of empowerment, but Herd has continued to use her growing platform to push for change.
In 2019, she successfully lobbied the state of Texas to pass a bill that would make sending unwanted messages and photos illegal.
During an oppressively cold, dreary week in Dallas, seeing Herd celebrating in her sunny yellow suit from the comfort of her beautifully designed Austin headquarters was a warm, welcome site.