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“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.
“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.
“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.