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The tech billionaire who puts women first

Whitney Wolfe’s Herd

You may never have heard of her – but the founder of the dating app Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd, has joined Forbes’ list of the super-rich.

And while others, like fellow billionaire Kim Kardashian, make headlines, there’s an argument that the lesser-known Wolfe Herd could serve as an equally powerful role model.

The 31-year-old became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire when she went public with Bumble in February.

She rang the Nasdaq bell with her 18-month-old baby on her hip. In her speech, she said she wanted to make the Internet “a nicer and more responsible place”.

In a 2017 interview with the BBC, Ms Wolfe Herd said the secret to being an effective CEO is not to take yourself “too seriously”. She also stressed the need to find a work-life balance and to devote time to family, even if that meant “taking an afternoon off”.

His rise as a member of the billionaire club has been interesting.

Before Bumble, she was part of the founding team of Tinder, but after tensions with other executives – one of them she was dating – she left. Soon after, she started a sexual harassment case.

Tinder’s parent company, Match Group Inc, denied the claims but paid around $ 1 million to settle the dispute.

As a result of the case, she suffered a lot of online abuse, which prompted her to delete her Twitter account.

Bumble, rather pointedly, is about giving women control.

The central goal of its app is that only women can strike up a conversation in heterosexual matches. It’s a simple idea but one that makes all the difference to those in the dating scene who have been bombarded with unwanted messages from men.

She founded Bumble with the help of Russian billionaire Andrey Adreev, who also owns a stake in Badoo, which he sold in November 2019.

Ms Wolfe Herd owns an 11.6% stake in Bumble, giving her an estimated net worth of $ 1.3 billion. She also runs Badoo. The two apps have a total of 40 million users, of which 2.4 million pay a subscription.

Ms Wolf Herd grew up in Utah and in an interview after Bumble went public she told Time Magazine about an abusive relationship she was a teenager in, and how it “stripped her of nothing” of everything. by “informing her understanding of what was wrong with gender dynamics”.

The tech billionaire who puts women first

Bumble floated on the Nasdaq for $ 8.2 billion

In the same interview, she seemed determined to put her past behind her: “I don’t need to justify myself anymore,” she says.

“Why am I cleaning up someone else’s drama? Women always cleaning up someone else’s mess.”

His willingness to speak openly and avoid corporate rhetoric has won over his fans.

Yet while it may wish to chart a different course than other tech companies, Bumble recorded more than 880,000 incidents last year that violated its guidelines – and like many other platforms, it did. also relies on artificial intelligence to research hate speech.

Its latest campaign is against bodily humiliation, banning derogatory remarks about body appearance, shape and size.

Ms Wolfe Herd is one of 328 women to be on the Forbes 2021 list of billionaires in the world, up from 241 last year.

This year MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, is among the top three richest women – beaten in first place by Alice Walton, who earned her money through Walmart and favorite Françoise Bettencourt Meyers. , whose grandfather founded the cosmetics giant. L’Oreal.

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