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Making History With Whitney Wolfe

Former Co-Founder of Tinder Whitney Wolfe has come a long way since leaving the company back in 2014. After resigning from Tinder, the 31-year-old has been at the helm of the innovative app Bumble and is about to become the youngest female CEO to take her company public.

“Why does a girl feel like she should sit and wait around?"

Business Insider

The success Wolfe has garnered with Bumble since its establishment in 2014 is nothing short of immense. Just a year after launching Bumble had created over 15 million conversations and 80 million matches. By September 2019, it became the second most popular dating app in the United States after Tinder. Now, Bumble hosts 42 million monthly average users.

These figures have resulted in Wolfe taking the leap to make Bumble public. After announcing a recorded profit of $376.6 million between January and September 2020, on the 8th January 2021 Bumble listed itself on initial public offering. Bloomberg has reported the company, backed by Blackstone Group Inc, could seek a valuation of up to $8 billion.

When looking at the data, what Wolfe is about to achieve with her IPO is immense. Since the New York Stock Exchange was founded in 1817, there have been hundreds of companies listed and thousands that are currently being traded. In its 204-year history only around 20 companies have been founded or led by women and 17 of those IPOs have happened in the last seven years. In 2020 442 companies went public on the US Stock Exchange, out of those only 4 had a female CEO of founder.

In 2019, only 13% of all venture capitalists were women and 2.7% of that venture capital went to companies founded by women. Unsurprisingly, this number was even lower for Black and Latinx women who were only granted 0.64% of venture capitalist funding. These staggering figures are cemented further by a Columbia and Harvard study which found men were typically asked about potential gains in their pitches, whilst women were quizzed about potential losses.

The Real Real founder and CEO, Julie Wainwright highlights three barriers to entry that female entrepreneurs face. 

  1. Women are not thinking or acting big enough – a survey of 57 female CEOs found that only 12% of then had actually planned to become CEO and the rest just had the idea suggested to them.
  2. There are not enough women with big money behind them
  3. There are not enough women in start-ups to support, rally behind and push them to success

Although this data is anything but positive small incremental changes are being made. As of 2021, Chief IPO underwriter Goldman Sachs has made it a requirement for the companies it works with to have at least two women or ethnically diverse people on its board of directors. It seems a no brainer when its proven Fortune 1000 companies with female CEOs outperform three times those run by men. In light of this, Whitney Wolfe is making history and will become the first woman of 2021 to shift these desolate figures in a more equal direction.

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