Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of dating app Bumble (BMBL), will step down at the end of this year after running the company for almost a decade, The Wall Street Journal first reported yesterday (Nov. 6). Herd, who created the app where only women are allowed to initiate conversations (in heterosexual matches), will be succeeded by Slack CEO Lidiane Jones. However, Wolfe Herd will remain the executive chair of the company and its largest individual shareholder.
In a statement, Wolfe Herd, 34, said she is looking to get back to her “founder roots” as she steps down from the CEO role. Wolfe Herd is one of the cofounders of Tinder and was its marketing chief. She resigned in 2014 following a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit she launched against two of her cofounders, and launched Bumble in the same year.
Jones, 44, has been the CEO of Slack for less than a year. She previously spent four years in various executive roles at Salesforce, which owns Slack. (Salesforce acquired Slack in July 2021.) Before that, Jones worked at Microsoft (MSFT) for 13 years. One of her goals in taking on the new role at Bumble will be incorporating A.I. across its many brands, including Bumble, Badoo, Fruitz and Official.
“A.I. and generative A.I. can play such a big role in accelerating people finding the right person, finding the right friends and the right community. There’s more that we think we can do,” Jones told the Wall Street Journal.
“Lidiane’s expertise and track record in product and technology is exceptional and having her leading the next chapter of Bumble Inc. is a major win for our company, customers and team,” Wolfe Herd said. “Our shared passion, complementary skill sets and long-term vision for what Bumble Inc. can achieve makes this an exciting time for us both.”
A challenging time for dating apps
Dating apps are experiencing a rocky time right now. Since going public in February 2021, Bumble’s share price has gone from a high of $78.9 in its first week to just under $14 at yesterday’s close. Match Group, which owns Tinder and Hinge, last week projected revenue for the current quarter would be about 5 percent below analysts’ estimate of $894 million. In the past quarter that ended in September, Match also saw a decline in users paying for Tinder.
Wolfe Herd became the youngest self-made female billionaire when Bumble went public, with her net worth peaking at $1.5 billion in early 2021. Forbes reported in June that her net worth has fallen to $510 million.
Bumble announced its third-quarter earnings this afternoon (Nov. 7). The company reported $275.5 million in revenue, up 18 percent from the previous year, missing analysts’ expectation of a 19 percent growth. Net income came at $23.1 million. Like Match Group, Bumble forecast revenue for the current quarter ending in December will fall below Wall street estimates at somewhere between $272 and $278 million.