A company catering to half of the globe’s population has led to its 31-year-old female founder become the world’ youngest woman billionaire. Shares of Bumble Inc, the owner of the dating app where women make the first move, soared 67% in its trading debut to $72 at 1:03 PM in New York, valuing Chief Executive Officer Whitney Wolfe Herd’s stake at $1.5 billion, reports news agency Bloomberg.
The listing caps a saga that’s both inspiration and cautionary tale for women tech founders. Wolfe Herd capitalized on an underserved market and built a multibillion-dollar company that was in a sense born from one of the biggest obstacles to women entrepreneurs across the world: sexual harassment.
Bumble’s IPO launched Wolfe Herd into a rarefied club of self-made female billionaires. While women make up about half of the global population, self-made women — mostly from Asia — account for less than 5% of the world’s 500 biggest fortunes, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Self-made men comprise almost two-thirds of the wealth index.
Bumble is the parent company of Badoo and Bumble, two of the world’s highest-grossing dating apps with millions of users worldwide, facing competition from the Tinder and Hinge.
Last year, tennis star Serena Williams joined actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas as an investor of the popular social and dating app.
Founded by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014, Bumble is one of the first dating apps built with women at the centre, and the Badoo app, which was founded in 2006, is one of the pioneers of web and mobile dating products.
Bumble currently employs over 600 people in offices in Austin in the US, Barcelona, London and Moscow.