Bumble makes buzz as first online connection platform where women are in charge

Bumble Associate Marketing Director for Asia-Pacific Michelle Battersby

THE woman-first social and business networking app Bumble officially launched in the Philippines with platforms for dating, friendship and professional networking where women have total control over their matches and conversations.

Bumble Date, often known as the feminist dating feature within the app, makes a match between two people with a special rule in mind, and that is for women to make the first move. Bumble BFF is where users can find platonic friends, while Bumble Bizz is an online community for women to expand their professional network and help foster each others’ career development through mentoring.

“For all the advances we have been making in workplaces and corridors of power, the gender dynamics of dating and romance are still outdated. I thought, ‘What if I could flip that on its head? What if women sent the first message?’” Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said in a statement.

Herd founded the app in 2014. Today, it has over 50 million registered users and 84,000 new users recorded per day across 150 countries based on a 2019 statistics report.

Bumble has signed American professional tennis player Serena Williams as a global advisor, with her involvement specifically targeted toward investing in women of color founders; and actress Priyanka Chopra as an investor for Holberton School of Software Engineering and advisor. Meanwhile, the Philippines pose as a promising new market in the Asia-Pacific region for developers as Internet penetration in the country stands at 63 percent with 12-percent year-over-year growth.

In a press event at Whitespace in Makati, Bumble’s associate marketing director for Apac Michelle Battersby explained how Bumble works. According to her, users are required to log in via Facebook, or they can sign up using a phone number. The app requires them to build a profile with photos and a bio where they can add badges—information like height, education level and political/religious learnings—to show to fellow users.

Like Tinder, users swipe right to “like” a potential match and left to reject them. In matches between a man and a woman, the woman must initiate the conversation, or the matches disappear within 24 hours; either person in a same-sex match can reach out. In cases where users changed their mind, they have to shake their devices to “backtrack” or go back to review their recent match.

The app has features allowing the user to favorite conversations, sort conversations and send photo messages. A “snooze” feature was added in September to allow users to pause activity on the app.

Early this year, the company also launched filters—a way to sift through matches by a set of specific criteria. As an example, Bumble Date users can filter matches by relationship type, while those on Bumble BFF or Bumble Bizz can filter matches by interests or industry, respectively, among other things.

A photo verification tool was launched in September 2016 to ensure that users of the app were indeed the same people in their profile pictures. To be verified, users are asked to submit a photo of them performing a specific pose; the picture is reviewed by a real person.

“Safety and kindness is really the core of what we do,” said Battersby. “We take our brand values extremely seriously so if anyone reports abuse or came across someone who is unkind, we will remove that person from the platform.”

She also explained that users can toggle between the three modes, and even have an option to remove Bumble Date if their purpose in using the app is only to find potential friends and colleagues on the platform.

BFF mode uses the same swipe right or left tool as the app’s dating mode and follows the same interface design. Conversations started with potential friends are color-coded as green as opposed to yellow for dates.

Bumble Bizz, on the other hand, offers a more innovative feature that lets recruiters exclude men from a user’s pool of potential connections. The idea is to help the traditionally underrepresented women work force connect and build support systems outside the office.

Research group LedBetter reported that of the 234 companies that own almost 2,000 of the world’s most recognized consumer brands, only 14 of the companies had a female CEO, while nine of them had no women at all serving in executive positions or on their boards.

As noted on the Bumble Fund site (thebeehive.bumble.com/bumble-fund): “Year after year, we see the flow of venture capital to all-women teams stagnate around the 2-percent mark. The problem isn’t a lack of founders to fund. When women do have access to capital, they succeed, outperforming their male counterparts. And women of color are leading the way in entrepreneurship: while the number of women-owned businesses grew 58 percent between 2007 and 2018, the number owned by black women grew by 164 percent—nearly three times the average.”

“Representation is critically important for women, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries,” said Herd. “We’re helping women connect with other women to show them what’s possible and give them resources as they build their careers.”


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