Think all dating sites are the same? There’s a reason for that. Popular dating apps and websites like Tinder, Match, PlentyOfFish, and OKCupid are all owned by Match Group, a large corporation that has a near-exclusive monopoly with many of the largest dating sites under its wing. One notable app missing from its profile is the women-focused dating app Bumble, led by CEO Whitney Wolfe.
It’s no surprise then that on March 16, Match Group filed a lawsuit against Bumble alleging patent infringement by saying that Bumble copied Tinder’s functionality and mimicked how the app works. Match Group says it will defend its intellectual property in court against Bumble, but digging a little bit deeper this seems to be a retaliatory response to CEO Whitney Wolfe’s refusal to be bought and acquired.
Match Group attempted to acquire Bumble last year for $450 million, but tech valuations suggest the company could be worth as much as $1 billion. CEO Whitney Wolfe refused the buy-out in part because she’s tired of the male-focused corporate culture that has invaded even out dating sites. She recently stated in an interview that she’s not afraid of aggressive corporate culture and that the tactic of attempting to bully Bumble into submission or a buyout settlement won’t work.
Wolfe has the chops to stand up to Match Group, too. She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas and was a co-founder of Tinder and served as the vice president of marketing, often credited with creating Tinder’s iconic name. Mrs. Wolfe left the company in 2014 to found Bumble with the help of Andrey Andreev, the founder of Badoo.
Bumble is a women-focused site that allows women to take the first step in initiating contact with men they’re interested in matching with. Bumble takes a hard-line stance against those who exhibit bad behavior while using the app, which is why more women are focused on the experience it provides over rivals. In fact, Whitney Wolfe has worked to expand Bumble’s presence into other markets like professional networking with Bumble Bizz and making platonic friendships with Bumble BFF.
With a valuation of more than $1 billion, it’s likely that Mrs. Wolfe will expand her company to have a public presence with an IPO in the near future. The focus on Bumble’s users and the refusal to compromise with Match Group make her the perfect leader to weather this intimidation tactic disguised as a patent infringement lawsuit and it’s a shining example of what women in tech can do when they’re in leadership positions.
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