But there’s one essential difference: on Bumble, only women can send a message first.
For Wolfe, 25, that key difference is about “changing the landscape” of online dating by putting women in control of the experience.
On a sunny May morning in NYC, Whitney Wolfe smoothes her hair (golden) takes a sip of her iced coffee (black) and points across the leafy patio at a handsome guy sitting with a friend.
“It’s easier as a guy, you’re swiping and then just letting the girls take the next step.” Plus, he adds, “the women are so impressive.” Wolfe pulls out her cell phone, which is hot pink with a bright yellow bumble-bee decal on the back, and shows me a guy she matched with in Costa Rica, of all places. I don't usually start off a post with the impact points right at the beginning.A former member of Kappa at Southern Methodist University, Wolfe shows up at sororities with yellow balloons, cartons of yellow Hanky-Panky lacy underwear, and always, she says, “a cute purse.” Then she hands out a thong to each sorority sister who sends out 10 invitations to Bumble.“By the end, I’d show up and they’d be like ‘Go away, we’re already all on it! Because of the female-first messaging model, Bumble seems to be free of some of the sleaziness that plagues Tinder, at least for now.“It’s important to me that nothing we do harms Tinder,” she says. It’s my baby.” But that doesn’t mean she’s not using similar tactics to get it off the ground.
One of Wolfe’s major contributions to Tinder was her ability to get college students to download the app.“Guys found it to be ‘desperate,’ when it wasn’t desperate, it was part of a broken system.” Like many startup founders, Wolfe has big ambitions for the service: “It’s not a dating app, it’s a movement,” she says.“This could change the way women and men treat each other, women and men date, and women feel about themselves.” Bumble launched about six months ago and seems to be catching on.“So did I.” Wouldn’t it be nice, she continues, if there were a bubble over his head listing his job and his education?Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just get up and say ‘Hi?Men post pictures of themselves wearing button downs (not muscle tees) or hugging their moms (not endangered species.) And because they can’t message first, guys can’t hedge their bets by swiping right on every girl they see and messaging all of them to see who bites.