For most people, getting married is an occasion that they never forget—and the year in which it occurs is often regarded as among the best of their lives. What happens, though, when you not only tie the knot in one year but rise to the top of your profession too? By many accounts, that’s exactly what Whitney Wolfe accomplished in 2017—and those things are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what she’s done throughout her brief but meteoric career. From marrying Michael Herd to launching two promising offshoots to Bumble, her greatest achievement so far, 2017 has been the year of the woman who is now known as Whitney Wolfe Herd.
As a successful businesswoman, entrepreneur and social media guru, Whitney Wolfe Herd would undoubtedly point to her professional accomplishments as her most important. However, the 28-year-old CEO has been very fortunate in love too, and there’s no reason not to celebrate that. After all, Bumble, her app, has already helped countless people make romantic connections. Who knows how many long-term relationships and even marriages have been and will be produced thanks to her efforts?
Since Whitney Whitney Wolfe Herd cleared poured her heart and soul into developing Bumble, it’s only fitting that she enjoyed a truly iconic and unforgettable wedding. Prior to that magical day in early October, however, she also enjoyed a courtship that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of a fairy tale. Randomly in Aspen, Colorado, around Christmas in 2013, Wolfe and Michael Herd were introduced by a mutual friend. Having grown up in Utah, Whitney Wolfe Herd was an experienced skier. Herd implied that he couldn’t ski but then shocked her with professional level moves. By all accounts, the pair never looked back from there.
The couple started officially dating around Valentine’s Day in 2014. A little more than two years later, while exploring his family’s Texas ranchlands by horseback near sunset, Michael popped the question. This all went down in June 2016, and the pair obviously went right to work on planning the big day. The nuptials and celebrations were covered in-depth by Vogue, so it is safe to say that Whitney Wolfe Herd has become more than just a business and tech leader—she is a role model for women who want to not only succeed in business but who want to enjoy great love lives and fashion too.
Whitney Wolfe Herd grew up in the Salt Lake City area. Based on interviews and the like, it sounds like she came from a fairly privileged background, having attended private schools throughout her grade school and high school years. She also became the third generation in her family to attend Dallas’s Southern Methodist University, where she excelled and especially became drawn in by entrepreneurship. After graduating with a degree in international studies, Whitney Wolfe Herd headed to Silicon Valley. Before too long, she became part of a team that launched a wildly popular dating app—and she never looked back from there.
The venture that catapulted Whitney Wolfe Herd into the higher echelons of the tech world didn’t last long. That didn’t end up mattering, though, as the experience had given Whitney Wolfe Herd the tools and connections that she needed to do what she really wanted—and that was to make a difference for other women. Her first foray into this territory, Merci, was a social media platform designed for women to empower one another. A major departure from her previous work on a major dating app, Whitney Wolfe Herd clearly felt that there was a major void out there in terms of apps that have women’s preferences in mind.
When she was approached by Andrey Andreev, the founder of Badoo—which happens to be the most popular dating app in the world with more than 360 million users—it must not have been easy for Whitney Wolfe Herd to turn down his offer to join the Badoo team. However, she was already developing Merci and was determined to start her own company. Andreev was struck by her vision, and the pair started brainstorming new concepts. Inevitably, perhaps, they came back around to dating apps. Inspiration finally struck when Whitney Wolfe Herd envisioned a dating app where women made the first move. Thus, the concept of Bumble was born.
Having been at the receiving end of online harassment on several occasions herself, Whitney Wolfe Herd knew all too well how intimidating the world of online dating could be—especially for women, who are often pummeled with messages from men who hardly bother to read their profiles. With Bumble, a woman has to initiate an interaction for it to happen at all. Until the woman gives the go-ahead, another user cannot send her messages. This was just the first step in creating a dating environment that’s more of a safe haven for women—and it quickly caught on.
Bumble truly exploded on the scene, being downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first month alone. Since launching in December 2015—barely two years ago—its growth has been nothing short of incredible. In a world where 90 percent of dating apps fail, Bumble now has more than 22 million registered users. In the space of a single year, it grew by a jaw-dropping 70 percent; its closest competitor, which has around 46 million users, currently only grows at a rate of around 10 percent.
On top of all of that, Bumble is poised to surpass $100 million in sales in 2017, and it is projected to exceed $200 million in 2018. Rumors of buyout bids have plagued the company of late, and a major online dating company reportedly valued Bumble at more than $1 billion just this past fall. So far, however, Whitney Wolfe Herd and her team have resisted such offers. If anything, Whitney Wolfe Herd seems even more committed to Bumble. The company recently moved to new headquarters in a quiet neighborhood in Austin, Texas, and the CEO and her team have been busy developing a few new offshoots to Bumble.
Those offshoots, Bumble BFF, which is for forging platonic female friendships, and Bumble Bizz, a female-centric response to LinkedIn, are sure to keep Whitney Wolfe Herd busy in 2018. Then again, though, her new marriage probably will too. However, given that she was already on the rise in her career when she met Herd, there’s no doubt that Whitney Wolfe Herd isn’t going to retreat into being a married housewife. If anything, the next year and the ones that follow will likely see the continued rise of Whitney Wolfe Herd—and that’s great news for anyone who wants to keep seeing positive changes for women in tech.
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