Whitney Wolfe is a tech billionaire whose name you might not have heard, but that is quite a shame. While other billionaires are household names (think Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk), Wolfe has been working tirelessly in order to become the youngest self-made billionaire (she accomplished this feat at age 31). So it’s time to give her the respect and role model status she deserves.
She is the founder of women-first dating app Bumble, which has become wildly successful. While ringing the Nasdaq bell, she balanced her 18-month old baby and in her speech she said she wants to help create an internet that is “a kinder, more accountable place.”
She told BBC in a 2017 interview that the secret to being a successful chief executive is not taking oneself too seriously. She said making time for family and creating a work-life balance is critical, even if it means “taking an afternoon off.”
Before starting Bumble, she was a founding member of the team behind Tinder. After much tension with other Tinder execs, she made her exit before filing a sexual harassment case. Though Match Group Inc, Tinder’s parent company, denied the claims, they paid $1 million to settle
Whitney experienced a ton of online abuse after this, which led her to delete her twitter account. She decided to create Bumble, which gives women control. In heterosexual matches, the woman must initiate a conversation before the match times out
It is an incredible option for those who are used to being bombarded with rude opening lines and unwantned messages. Along with early investor Russian billionaire Andrey Adreev (who is a stakeholder in app Badoo), Whitney sold Bumble in November 2019.
Wolfe has 11.6% stake in Bumble, meaning she has a net worth that is estimated at $1.3 billion. She is also the head of Badoo. The two apps have a combined 40 million users, with 2.4 million paid subscribers.
In an interview with Time Magazine, Wolfe shared that an abusive relationship she experienced as a teen “stripped her down to nothing” while “informing her understanding of what was wrong with gender dynamics.”
She also shared that: “I don’t need to justify myself any more. Why am I cleaning up somebody else’s drama? Women are always cleaning up somebody else’s mess.” This is why she decided to put the past behind her and help other women.
Wolfe is one of the 328 women on the Forbes 2021 list of billionaires in the world.