In essence, the app is an attempt to answer her train of questions above.
It works just like other dating apps—users see pictures of other users, swipe right if they like what they see, and get matched if the interest is mutual.
“And girls like it because it gives them more control over the conversation than other dating apps.” Besides, just as women are sick of waiting for men to make the first move, some guys are sick of always having to come up with a line.
“It’s flattering when someone reaches out to you,” says Larry Mahl, a 32-year old New Yorker who works at Yelp. (Wolfe is dating someone, but still swipes and messages in order to get user feedback.) She had messaged him that she was the founder of the company, and asked him for his thoughts.
“It’s important to me that nothing we do harms Tinder,” she says. It’s my baby.” But that doesn’t mean she’s not using similar tactics to get it off the ground.
One of Wolfe’s major contributions to Tinder was her ability to get college students to download the app.
Wolfe was a co-founder at Tinder and widely credited with boosting that app’s popularity on college campuses.
She was fired in the midst of a breakup with Justin Mateeen, the service’s chief marketer.
“I felt like I was being punked or something, because all the guys are really good looking and had really good jobs,” explains Lauren Garzon, a 32-year old hotel manager in NYC.
“So I was like, ‘Ya, I do want to date all of you.'” She says she was disappointed that few of the guys she messaged wrote back, but Jen Stith, a spokeswoman for Bumble, says the company is considering adding a time limit to encourage guys to respond more quickly to messages. “Because girls like it,” says Bryan Oltman, a 28-year old Bumble user and software engineer who used to work at OKCupid.
“I don’t think it’s been socially acceptable for women to drop out of college and start a tech company.” Wolfe is adamant that “Bumble has nothing to do with Tinder,” but the comparisons are inevitable—they have similar matching mechanisms (the swipe) similar designs (Tinder designers Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick also designed Bumble) and similar marketing on college campuses.
Still, Wolfe insists she’s not trying to beat Tinder at its own game.
“He can’t say you’re desperate, because the app made you do it,” she says, adding that she tells her friends to make the first move and just “blame Bumble.” Matches expire after 24 hours, which provides an incentive for women to reach out before it’s too late (the women-message-first feature is only designed for straight couples—if you’re LGBTQ, either party can send the first message.) Wolfe says she had always been comfortable making the first move, even though she felt the stigma around being too forward.