Bumble is a location-based social and dating application that facilitates communication between interested users. In heterosexual matches, only female users can make the first contact with matched male users, while in same-sex matches either person can send a message first.
Users can sign up using Facebook, and have options of searching for romantic matches or, in "BFF mode", friends. Bumble Bizz facilitates business communications. Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd shortly after she left Tinder, a dating app she co-founded, due to growing tensions with other company executives. Wolfe Herd has described Bumble as a "feminist dating app". As of September 2019, with a monthly user base of 5 million, Bumble is the second-most popular dating app in the U.S. after Tinder. According to a June 2016 survey, 46.2% of its users are female. According to Forbes, the company is valued at more than $1 billion, and has over 55 million users.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, the co-founder of Tinder, founded Bumble shortly after leaving Tinder. Wolfe Herd sued Tinder for sexual discrimination and harassment and settled for just over $1 million in September 2014. Amidst the media attention surrounding the lawsuit, acquaintance and Badoo founder and CEO Andrey Andreev contacted Wolfe Herd via email, and the two met up. Andreev suggested she get back into the dating space, and the pair eventually formed a partnership in which Andreev would receive 79% ownership in the company following an initial investment of $10 million along with additional investments and Wolfe Herd would serve as founder, CEO and 20% owner. As part of the agreement, the new company would also utilize Badoo's infrastructure and Andreev's consulting. After the partnership was established, the pair recruited fellow Tinder departees Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick to design the interface and help launch Bumble. Bumble was launched three months later in December 2014.
The app is headquartered in Austin, Texas and has 70 employees globally. In March 2016, Bumble released BFF mode as a way for users to find platonic friends. After switching into the mode, the app replaces potential dates with people of the user's same sex who are also looking for friends. In June 2016, Bumble announced a partnership with Spotify that would allow users to connect their Spotify account to their profile to show their music interests. In March 2017, the company announced its plan to launch a career networking app, Bumble Bizz. In August 2017, Bumble partnered with the Anti-Defamation League in an effort to remove users who display hate symbols in their profiles. In October 2017, the company launched Bumble Bizz which also uses a woman-first interface as an attempt to remove "the soliciting nature and sexism that exists in networking".
According to Forbes, the company was valued at more than $1 billion in November 2017.
In April 2019, Bumble launched its own lifestyle magazine called Bumble Mag.
As of 2019, Bumble has over 55 million users worldwide.
Formerly, Bumble users were required to log in via Facebook when signing up. In April 2018, Bumble added an option to sign up using only a phone number, following Facebook's involvement in a controversy with Cambridge Analytica. For users who sign up with Facebook, information from their account is used to build a profile with photos and basic information, including the user's college and job.
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 of their matches or the matches disappear within 24 hours; either person in a same-sex match can reach out. There are no options for users to identify as genderqueer or transgender, in contrast to competitors OkCupid and Tinder. Bumble released a "backtrack" feature in 2015 that allows users to undo accidental left swipes by shaking their phones. Three free "backtracks" are provided initially, which are replenished every three hours. Users have the option to immediately receive a new set of three backtracks by sharing Bumble on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, although they are limited to one of these refills per day. The app has features allowing the user to favorite conversations, sort conversations and send photo messages. A "snooze" feature was added in September 2018, to allow users to pause activity and avoid using the app for a period of time.
BFF mode uses the same swipe right or left platform as the app's dating mode and requires that a conversation is started within 24 hours of matching with a potential friend. Conversations started with potential friends are color-coded as green as opposed to yellow for dates. As the feature was rolled out, Bumble also announced that it would eventually release a dual-profile feature allowing users to curate a profile for dating or friendship. In April 2016, the Bumble app was updated to combat ghosting. As part of the update, if a user is messaged after matching with a potential partner and doesn't respond within 24 hours the match disappears. Before the update, men were allowed unlimited time to respond to a message from women which the company viewed as an uneven playing field. The update was also launched for same-sex matches, with either party allowed to initiate and the other having to respond within 24 hours.
Bumble launched a photo verification tool in September 2016 to ensure that users of the app were the same people in their profile pictures. To be verified, users are asked to submit a selfie of them performing a specific pose; the picture is reviewed by a real person who ensures the user is the person in the profile pictures. Bumble was the first dating app to include photo verification in the U.S.
In June 2019, Bumble announced that it would be enabling in-app voice and video calls on all of its platforms, including Bumble, Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF. Users must match first before initiating a call.
In August 2016, Bumble announced the release of its paid service, Bumble Boost, which includes three premium features. Bumble Boost costs £20.99/$9.99 USD a month (or £7.49 per week, £41.99 for a 3-month subscription, £44.99 for a 6-month subscription, or £79.99 for a lifetime subscription) and adds Beeline, a list of users who have liked the user; Rematch, which keeps expired matches in a user's queue for 24 additional hours; and Busy Bee, which allows users unlimited 24-hour extensions for matches.
A further premium feature is the ability to purchase “Coins” which allow “SuperSwipes”, whereby a user can like another user and the recipient of the like will be notified of the interest. One coin allows one SuperSwipe and Coins cost £1.99 each (or 5 for £7.99, 15 for £19.99, or 30 for £34.99).
Bumble had a reported 22 million users as of November 2017, and 27 million downloads as of February 2018. As of September 2019, Bumble was the second most popular dating app in the U.S., with a monthly user base 5 million.
An April 2016 report by SurveyMonkey stated that 49% of users went on the app daily, and 46.2% of users were female. Wolfe Herd has stated that within the app's first eight months it saw 5 million unique conversations initiated, all by women. In April 2018, Bumble reported that 85% of users were "looking for marriage or a boyfriend/girlfriend", while 4% of men and under 1% of women were "looking for a hookup". They also reported that 25% of users had gone on a first date with someone they found on the app within the previous month.
Bumble has also reported that its users spend an average of 62 minutes on the app daily. In October 2016, the app launched new photo moderation rules that banned mirror selfies, obscured faces, and photos of users in underwear among others. According to the New York Times, as of March 2017, Bumble had more than 800 million matches and 10 billion swipes per month and is the second most popular Lifestyle app in the iOS App Store.
Bumble has been considered as a "feminist Tinder." Its founder has confirmed this identity, calling the app "100 percent feminist," although she has attempted to distance the app from Tinder in interviews. Wolfe Herd shared in an interview with Vanity Fair the concept behind the app: "If you look at where we are in the current heteronormative rules surrounding dating, the unwritten rule puts the woman a peg under the man—the man feels the pressure to go first in a conversation, and the woman feels pressure to sit on her hands... If we can take some of the pressure off the man and put some of that encouragement in the woman’s lap, I think we are taking a step in the right direction, especially in terms of really being true to feminism. I think we are the first feminist, or first attempt at a feminist dating app."
In June 2016, Bumble posted an open letter to its blog and blocked a user for sexist behavior after he had an outburst at a female user who asked him what he did for a living.
Bumble has had mixed reviews. Reviewers have noted that "the time limit [for communications to be initiated by the woman] is really off-putting", and "Bumble's incessant push notifications are worded just dramatically enough as to be anxiety inducing."
Bumble user locations can be tracked, and a company called Buzzhumble sells this information to people looking for their spouses on the platform.
Bumble has also been criticized for not offering to refund purchases, even those made by mistake. Bumble is being sued for not offering refunds of purchases, despite not offering a cancel button. The lawsuit caption is Schlossberg v. Bumble trading inc, et al., case No. 1:18-cv-08376, in the US district court for the Southern District of New York.