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The Incredible Journey Of Wolfe Herd And The Dating App Bumble Which Went Public



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Silicon Valley woke up to the news of the dating app Bumble making its public debut.  Bumble is a dating app which caters to women and is led by a woman named Whitney Wolfe Herd.  As soon as Bumble made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NSE,)  shares of the dating app soared by as much as 67%.  This led to the net worth ofWolfe Herd, the Chief Executive Officer of Bumble, to be valued at $1.5 billion, thereby making her a self made billionaire at just the age of 31.  Bumble plans to use the $2.2 billion proceeds from the IPO to pay off debt, fund international growth, and pursue acquisitions.

However, the story of Wolfe Herd and Bumble is one of mettle, grit and inspiration.  The journey of the unicorn is nothing short of a story.  Keep reading to find out how Wolfe Herd founded a company to rival Tinder.


Wolfe Herd began her journey as a co founder of Tinder, the world’s biggest dating app.  Whitney Wolfe Herd was Vice President of Marketing, at Tinder when she began her journey.  However,  Wolfe Herd alleged she was subjected to sexual harassment by her colleagues at Tinder and that she was stripped of her co founder tag because having a girl with that tag makes the company seems like a joke.  Wolfe Herd walked out of Tinder and filed a lawsuit against Match Group, the parent company of Tinder.  The lawsuit was settled out of the court for $ 1 million.

It was her experiences at Tinder which led Wolfe Herd to start Bumble, a dating app which lets women make the first move.  Women can swipe across profiles of men and choose to begin a conversation after a match.  At no point in this process could a man make the first move thereby putting women in firm control about the conversation as well as offering them a safety net.  

After taking some time off following the nasty lawsuit with Tinder, Wolfe Herd received an email from a Russian named Andrey Andreev, who is based in London and founded Badoo, another dating app which was the world’s largest dating app at that time (2014.)  Andreev was impressed with Wolfe Herd’s commitment at Tinder and said he would help her with her new startup and ended up investing $ 10 million in her idea.  Andrey Andreev would own 79% stake while Wolfe Herd owns 20% and the title of CEO and at the same time be able to tap into the infrastructure and resources of Badoo.  Herd and Andreev brought in former Tinder executives Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, to design the new app’s back end and user interface.  Both Mick and  Gulczynski share the remaining 1% stake between themselves.

ALSO READ: Tinder: The Unique Story Behind The Swipes

During a cocktail event, Andrey and Wolfe Herd were discussing a scenario where women could make the first move and get the phone number of a guy after a match.  However, the match would disappear after 24 hours if neither of the parties made a move.  This became the core of Bumble and the secret sauce for its success.

By January 2015, about a month after launch, Bumble had about 100,000 downloads.  By the end of 2017, two years after launching, Bumble had amassed more than 22 million users.  This growth was noticed by Tinder which then made a buyout offer for $ 450 million.  Wolfe Herd rejected the offer immediately.  By July 2020, Bumble announced it had reached 100 million users.  Today, Bumble is available in 150 countries and is expanding into new areas like business networking.  In 2019, revenue jumped more than 35% and it turned a profit of $ 68.6 million.  More than 10% of Bumble’s users pay $9.99 for a monthly subscription to access perks like extra time to decide whether a suitor merits a message.  At Tinder, just about 5% of users pay for a similar service.

Today Bumble is the second largest dating app in the world and only continues to grow with its closest competitor being Tinder.


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Emerging Startup Stories

Discover Kheyti, The Startup Changing The Lives of Farmers In India



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Farming has been an integral part of India’s history and culture for ages. It’s been the foundation of the Indian economy, supporting millions of people with food and jobs. Crops and agriculture hold immense importance in Indian society, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of culture, community, and spirituality.

Farming is a way of life for many people in India, but it can be a difficult and unpredictable business and farmers face a number of challenges, from erratic weather patterns to low market prices for their crops. Kheyti is a social enterprise founded in 2015 by Saumya, Kaushik Kappagantula, and Sathya Raghu. The organisation provides sustainable solutions to small farmers in India, helping them overcome challenges and improve their lives.

Kheyti’s flagship product is the “Greenhouse-in-a-Box,” a low-cost modular greenhouse that allows farmers to grow high-value crops year-round, even in unfavourable weather conditions. operates on a subscription-based model, where farmers can purchase a “Greenhouse-in-a-Box” kit or sign up for crop advisory services on a monthly or annual basis. also earns revenue by connecting farmers with markets and buyers, taking a small commission on sales. They work to keep the costs low by partnering with local manufacturers to produce their products and leveraging tech to provide personalised crop advisory services at scale.

They also provide crop advisory services to farmers, offering personalised advice on crop selection, planting, and management. In total, The company has helped over 6,000 small farmers increase their incomes by an average of 300%. You call them small farmers, Kheyti calls them Smart farmers!

While there are other companies in India that offer similar solutions to small farmers, Kheyti stands out for its focus on sustainability, innovation, and community involvement. It works closely with farmers to develop tailored solutions that meet their needs while focusing on sustainable farming practices. Through its efforts, Kheyti has improved soil health, reduced water usage, and increased yields of various crops.

Looking ahead, Kheyti plans to expand its reach to more farmers in India and beyond and aims to continue developing new products and services that can help small farmers overcome the challenges they face. With its commitment to sustainability and innovation, The visionaries at Kheyti claim it has the potential to transform the agricultural sector and contribute to a more equitable future for all.

Imagine the joy and hope Kheyti brings to struggling farmers in India. With Kheyti’s help, over 6,000 small farmers have transformed their lives, becoming Smart farmers who handle challenges and succeed. With sustainable solutions, Kheyti is not only revolutionising agriculture but also spreading hope for a brighter future.


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Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?



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Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform.  This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known.  Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic.  Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse.  There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.

Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup.  Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS.  However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace.  Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.

We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion.  Please let us know your answer in the poll below.

Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?

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Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?



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If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something.  There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you.  Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes.  The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.

These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing.  Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more.  Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost.  Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.  

Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements.  Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up.  If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”  

ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition.  This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing.  Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing.  Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”

There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms.  Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.  

Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present.  Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics.  We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)”  Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort.  The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions.  Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools.  Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.

With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset.  The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.

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