Forbes released its list of the most wealthy people for 2021, and 31-year-old Whitney Wolfe Herd made headlines by becoming the youngest self-made woman billionaire on the list.
Wolfe Herd is the founder and Chief Executive of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo.
In 2014, she first founded Bumble, a dating app that enables women to make the first move, with Russian billionaire and investor Andrey Andreev, who sold his stake in both Bumble and Badoo in November 2019.
She took Bumble public in February 2021, becoming the youngest female CEO ever to take a company public in the United States. Remarkably, she rang the Nasdaq bell from Bumble’s Austin office with her 18-month-old baby on her hip, shattering the glass ceiling and inspiring many mothers across the world to pursue their passions. In her speech she said she wanted to make the internet “a kinder, more accountable place”.
However, her career did not start with Bumble and was rather bumpy. She was part of the founding team at Tinder, the famous dating app. However, she left the team after tensions with the other team members, suing her former boss and boyfriend, Justin Mateen of sexual harassment.
It was after this that she found Bumble, with a focus on putting women in control. In Bumble, only women can make the first move and initiate a conversation, a marked difference from the other dating apps, where women are subject to many unwanted, and, sometimes, inappropriate messages from men.
Interestingly, Match Group – the parent company of Tinder – tried to buy Wolfe Herd’s company in 2017 for $450 million.
Wolfe Herd owns a 11.6% stake in Bumble, giving her an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. She also heads Badoo, and the two apps operate in 150 countries across the world. In total, the two apps have as many as 42 million users, 2.4 million of whom pay a subscription.
Wolfe Herd is one among the 328 women who made it to the Forbes’ 2021 list of the world’s billionaires, up from 241 women last year, and is an inspiration to the millions of women who aim to become entrepreneurs.