With Bumble BFF, Whitney Wolfe Says to Women, “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Whitney Wolfe has gotten a lot done since graduating from college.

The 26-year-old founder and CEO of Bumble, a popular dating app, started her first business when she was just 19. Sales of her bamboo tote bags benefited those affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Wolfe launched Bumble in March 2014 after leaving Tinder, another dating app that she cofounded. Five million conversations were initiated in Bumble’s first eight months of operation. The app is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and it employs 35 people worldwide.

Three years after the launch date, according to The New York Times, the app was registering 10 billion swipes and 800 million matches every month. Women account for more than half of its users. On average, users spend about an hour a day viewing profiles or sending messages on Bumble.

Wolfe’s latest effort, Bumble BFF, is a subsection of the original app. It’s designed to help women connect with one another and form friendships. Bumble has around 12.5 million users, and many are exploring the new friendship feature. BFF got more than 1 million swipes in its first week.

Dating by Phone

Dating was forever changed when people took to the internet to find romance. More and more, singles connect and interact with others via their cellphones. The use of dating apps has skyrocketed over the last several years.

To eliminate stress and ensure safety, singles anonymously explore potential partners before meeting them in person. Participants in new relationships go at their own pace as they find out more about each other. Anyone can back out at any time. No one suffers two agonizing hours in a restaurant with someone who was deemed unsuitable within the first 30 seconds of the date.

Bumble was the first dating app to give women the upper hand. When a man indicates interest, he has to wait for the woman to respond. She has 24 hours to reel in the fish or toss it back into the sea.

Why Bumble BFF Was Created

Since American women are waiting longer to marry, best-friends-forever come in handy for companionship, support, safety and help with difficult jobs like moving. The average age of U.S. women marrying for the first time is 27. That’s a long time to stay single and watch Netflix all by yourself.

Wolfe hopes that the new app will be especially useful to women who relocate and have trouble meeting friends. She has lived in six different cities since graduating college, so she knows how lonely and disorienting a new place can feel.

Using Bumble BFF

It works almost like the original, but either interested party can reach out within 24 hours.

To use Bumble BFF, download the Bumble app. It will link to your Facebook account. Algorithms will select good matches according to your information on Facebook, and you’ll be shown only those profiles. It will never be posted on Facebook that you’ve signed up with a dating app.

Enter personal information for your bio such as your age, the college you attend or your occupation. Select the settings option to choose the age range that you’re interested in and how far you’re willing to travel to meet up with new friends.

Let’s say that you specify a 10-mile radius. If you don’t get any matches, you can adjust the setting. You can also request push notifications that buzz you when someone has expressed interest.

Complete your profile by uploading existing photos, taking new ones or importing pictures from Facebook. When your profile is activated, you’re ready to start viewing potential matches.

If you want to view more pictures of someone, scroll down. If you’re not interested, swipe to the left.

If someone seems like a good fit, swipe to the right. The woman will receive a notification that you’re reaching out. If the feeling is mutual, either of you can then send a message. You may continue to communicate until you decide to take the conversation elsewhere.

If you accidentally swipe the wrong way, just shake your phone to delete the notification.

Matches stay in place for 24 hours. If neither party takes action, your profiles won’t be shown to each other again. You can consult your match queue at any time to see who’s interested. You may also temporarily hide your profile to prevent anyone that you haven’t already contacted from seeing it.

The app uses geolocation. This means that if you visit a distant city, the people in the profiles that you’re shown will live in that area; you won’t be able to browse for friendships back home.

The company will soon roll out a dual-profile feature. If you use both the dating and BFF modes, you’ll be able to tailor your pictures and bio to either romantic or platonic searches. For now, conversations on the app are displayed in yellow if you’re chatting with a potential date and in green if you’re talking to a friend.

Related:  Dedman College Alumna and Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe on Shifting the Dating World and Never Quitting

Safety Features

Catfishing, the practice of using a fake identity to lure victims into online relationships, prompted Bumble to add photo verification in 2016. Bumble BFF features it as well.

If a user requests it, the app will randomly choose a photo from its catalogue. There are about 100 images of people in various poses. A subject might be making a peace sign or looking over one shoulder at the camera.

The man or woman being asked to verify identity is then sent a request to mimic the pose in the picture and take a selfie. Bumble employees closely compare the selfie to the person’s profile pictures to ensure that he is who he says he is.

Verification of all users isn’t mandatory. If, however, a profile has been reported as suspicious, that user must verify his identity within seven days or risk being denied access to the app. Many users volunteer up front to be verified, and the clearance is noted on their profiles.

Users can report rudeness, offensive language, nudity in photos or other abuse at any time, and Bumble has little tolerance for it. Users regularly receive notifications to “bee nice.”

The next project in the works is Bumble Bizz, a business, career and networking app. Before long, you’ll have Whitney Wolfe to thank for your dynamic love life, close friendships and lucrative new job.