Bumble CEO Whitney Wolf Herd becomes a rare female billionaire

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A women’s service company run by women has made its 31-year-old founder a woman billionaire.

Shares of Bumble, the owner of the dating app where women make their first move, jumped 67 percent in their debut to $ 72 (approximately Rs 5,250) at 1:03 PM in New York (11:33 PM IST), valued CEO Whitney Wolfe. Hurd bet $ 1.5 billion (approximately 10,920 crores).

The list includes a saga that is both an inspiration and a warning to female creators. Wolfe Herd took advantage of an underserved market and built a multibillion-dollar company that was, in a sense, born of one of the most troubling obstacles for women entrepreneurs: sexual harassment.

“We hope this will not be a rare title,” Wolfe Heard said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday, referring to the uniqueness of Bumble’s women-led management. “I hope this is the norm. It is right to do, this is a priority for us and should be a priority for everyone else. “

Bumble’s IPO was launched by Wolfe Herd in a rare club of self-made female billionaires. While women make up about half of the world’s population, self-made women – mostly from Asia – make up less than 5 percent of the world’s 500 largest states, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Self-made men make up almost two-thirds of the wealth index.

The 500 richest in the world
Of the 559 companies that went public in the United States in the past 12 months, only two, other than Bumble, were founded by women. It’s the same with blank check companies, the preferred means of increasing Wall Street’s wealth right now. Women’s-sponsored SPACs account for less than a dozen, a small fraction of the 349 listed last year.

This means that women are largely abandoned in probably the fastest wealth-making boom in history. Last year, the world’s 500 richest people earned $ 1.8 trillion (approximately 1.31.04,000 kroner), but 91 percent of that unexpected share went to men, according to the Bloomberg index.

Wealth Split
“It’s a huge profit,” said Alison Kapin, general partner at investment firm W Fund and founder of the Women Who Tech network. “Whitney saw an opportunity that was not addressed to women, and based on her experience, it became this gold mine, not only for her and her team, but also for her investors.”

Among the many barriers facing women and other underrepresented groups in the start-up world, including people of color, harassment is one of the most common. A survey by Women Who Tech last year found that 44% of women founders reported experiencing bullying in the workplace, with more than a third of this group facing sexual harassment.

In fact, it is bullying that stimulates the creation of Bumble. Wolfe Herd founded the company, based in Austin, Texas, in 2014 after leaving Tinder, the rival dating app he helped find. The separation was fierce, marked by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Wolfe Herd against the company, claiming, among other things, that it had been repeatedly called by derogatory names by executives and was deprived of its role as co-founder because it had a “girl “With this title,” makes the company look like a joke. “Later, the suit was arranged.

The monitor shows Whitney Wolf Hurd, CEO of Bumble, ringing the bell during Bumble’s initial public offering (IPO) to the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, USA, on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Bumble, the app for dating where women make the first move, seeks to raise $ 1.8 billion (approximately Rs 13,100) from its initial public offering in the US after increasing the size of the deal.

Formative experience

The experience was formative. Initially, she wanted to create a women’s social network for women to send compliments, but eventually focused on matches on the advice of Russian technology billionaire Andrei Andreev, founder of the dating app Badoo.

With Andreev’s support, Wolf Hurd created Bumble as a “women for women” service, advertising it as a place where women were empowered and harassment was tightly controlled. It has become the second most popular dating app in the United States with ads labeled “Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry.”

Wolfe Hurd took over from Andreev when Blackstone Group bought a majority stake from Bumble owner worth about $ 3 billion (approximately 21,840 crores) last year. As part of the deal, Wolf Hurd received about $ 125 million (approximately 910 kroner) in cash and a loan of $ 119 million (approximately 870 kroner), which she has since repaid in full.

“I felt very comfortable passing the baton to Whitney,” Andreev said in an email. “She turned out to be very insightful and innovative in the dating space.”

A key obstacle
Wolf Hurd’s partnership with Andreev helped her overcome a key hurdle for women-led women-focused startups: funding. Less than 3 percent of venture capital dollars goes to startups founded by women, according to Pitchbook, a figure that has barely changed in the past decade.

The tendency of venture capitalists to fund what they know and who is in their network maintains the gap. And this despite the evidence that women-run start-ups actually give better returns than men-run startups. Research by the Kauffman Foundation, MassChallenge and BCG found that women-based companies generate more revenue and are significantly more efficient than capital.

“It’s not about charity, it’s about making a ton of money,” Kapin told Women Who Tech.

Another high-profile list on the horizon is that of Honest, a baby and cosmetics company co-founded by the actress. Jessica Alba it is said that it is preparing to become public.

Women in the startup world are optimistic about the tide. “Whitney’s success will help further develop investments in businesses that serve a female audience or that are founded by women,” said Austin venture capitalist Kelsey Kamin. “It’s a super exciting time.”

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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