Though most people associate the app Bumble with dating, Bumble Bizz, the business networking side, has taken on quite a successful life of its own. In case you aren’t familiar Bumble Bizz lets women highlight their professional skills, portfolios and accomplishments and network with worthy connections all from their phone. Like the dating side of the app, women have to message first.
And now Bumble has started the Bumble Fund led by Sarah Jones Simmer, Bumble Chief Operating Officer, and Bumble Senior Advisor, Sarah Kuns. With startups led and founded by women receiving only 2% of all venture capital last year, the Bumble founders saw a clear need to try to elevate these entrepreneurs. “For black, Latinx, and other women from underrepresented groups, that statistic is even more bleak,” the company explained in a blog post. “Black women are both the most educated and most entrepreneurial demographic in the U.S., but received only 0.2% of all venture funding for their startups last year,” it noted.
The fund will invest in a range from $5,000-$250,000 and have already given $1 million to female led startups some of which include the winners of Bumble’s first “Bizz Pitch” competition. Ladders spoke with Simmer about the fund. “Supporting women is in Bumble’s DNA. We’ve had the opportunity to build a global brand that’s also a very profitable business. As a result, we felt an incredible opportunity to help find and fund the next generation of great female-led businesses and support their journeys. We could have waited until we had 10 years of experience and an exit, but we felt that it was important to make this commitment early – especially as we can still understand the very real early growth challenges that the companies we fund are facing.”
Putting women in the driver’s seat
Bumble was started in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe with the intention of bringing women power in not only their romantic lives, but their careers as well. Connections are now made with one click and Wolfe wanted that to be possible in every aspect for women. The company also has an 87% female workforce.
Simmer told Ladders, “Bumble Bizz is a platform for making the most important connections in your professional life – whether that’s for networking, mentoring, or building bridges to your next professional opportunity. We see Bizz as an important network to connect founders to each other, to talented potential employees, and to funders and professional friends who will support their growth. Our Bumble Fund is another important tool for the Bumble Bizz platform, as our workshop events on topics like financial management and speed networking will be hosted locally around the world. We have other exciting Bizz related initiatives in the works that will be brought to life in the coming months.
Though more funds specifically aimed at helping female entrepreneurs are launching, there is still a long way to go Simmer noted. “If Bumble’s actions to recognize this group of amazing founders helps draw more attention and money to these types of companies, then we are excited to be catalysts for change.”