Entrepreneur of the Century: Whitney Wolfe Herd

By Anna Kaplan ’21

Anna Kaplan ’21, Ladies First Founders Spring ’21

Whitney Wolfe Herd has not just become a symbol for female entrepreneurs, but for
females around the world. Wolfe Herd, a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient with a net worth of over $575 million, first jumped into the entrepreneur spotlight while in college with The Help Us Get Cleaned Up Project.

After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Wolfe Herd spent time volunteering in Asia, and then went to work at an incubator in Los Angeles. While working at an incubator, Wolfe Herd spent her evenings and weekends working with a group seeking to build a
dating app
, this app idea would later become Tinder. However, while Wolfe Herd was pivotal to Tinder’s early growth, she left on bad terms after 2 years. After leaving Tinder, she sued the company for “alleged sexual harassment and discrimination.

Following her departure from Tinder, Wolfe Herd did not allow her career to get derailed, instead she let her experiences at Tinder empower her. In 2014 Wolfe Herd started Bumble, a dating app that gives the power to women as they have to message the guy first. As described on Bumble’s site, Wolfe Herd was inspired to start Bumble because, “so many of the smart, wonderful women in my life were still waiting around for men to ask them out, to take their numbers, or to start up a conversation on a dating app.”

This differs from the majority of other dating apps, by requiring the female to message first. However, the female first angle is not the only feature that sets Bumble apart. Bumble has redefined the swiping game by creating Bumble BFF, to foster friendships, and Bumble BIZZ to foster networking. It is not just the multitude of offerings and features that sets Bumble apart, but the attitude that Wolfe Herd leads with. Her leadership most recently led to Bumble instituting a zero tolerance policy on body shaming.

The rapid success of Bumble is sure to continue into the future, after recently filing for IPO. With the current IPO filing, Wolfe Herd is set to “become one of the youngest female CEOs in tech to take her company public.

Wolfe Herd, a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, has not only paved the way for other female entrepreneurs, but she also serves as a consistent inspiration for women around the world. In a society wrought with sexism and patriarchal ideology, Wolfe Herd has given back some of that power to women. Her constant mission to inspire and empower women is a powerful message to women that they can overcome challenges and sexism to achieve success.

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