The woman-led, woman-centric dating app, Bumble, repeatedly declined Match Group's offer to buy. Now Match Group is suing for patent infringement.
In Forbes December 2017 issue, Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd made the "30 Under 30" list, with Bumble being worth $1 billion. Bumble has over 18 million registered users, with more than 1 billion matches made since its launch. And Match Group is the parent company for Match.com, Tinder, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and HowAboutWe. Naturally, Match Group would want to acquire the dating app that's giving them a serious run for their money.
While Match Group's attempt to buy out Bumble looks like nothing more than business as usual, the history between Match Group and Bumble is anything but. Herd, then just Wolfe, was one of the co-founders of Tinder along with four other co-founders, including then-CMO Justin Mateen. In 2014, Wolfe sued for sexual harassment and the receipts Herd shared paint a pretty horrifying picture of what she had to endure during her tenure at Tinder. Here are the receipts straight from the lawsuit.
The deposition shows that Herd and Mateen dated briefly. However, the texts show that their relationship was one where Herd was constantly being accused of flirting or cheating. Even Herd's description of how they, allegedly, first began dating is problematic af: Mateen summoned her over to his house because he was distraught about an ex-girlfriend. When Herd refused, he told her that he would be very upset with her at work. Even though she complained to partner and then CEO Sean Rad about Mateen, Herd's pleas for Rad to do something about Mateen went ignored, save for him calling Mateen "nuts" and instead called Herd "emotional" and "dramatic." The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court with no admission of wrongdoing on either side. The evidence, though is quite to the contrary. Rad was forced to step down as CEO, but was reinstated after five months.
In 2017 Match Group, where Rad is still chairman of Tinder and very influential, tried to acquire Bumble for $450 million, even though Bumble is worth $1 billion. Bumble turned down the offer, but Match Group came back with a $1 billion offer, even though the group does not have the cash on hand.
Now, Match Group is suing Bumble for patent infringement--the design patent for Tinder’s swipe-to-connect feature. Bumble's response to the lawsuit?
hough both Bumble and Tinder dating apps allow seekers to swipe right for yes and left for no, Bumble's app is more woman-friendly, requiring the woman to make the first move should she and her potential both swipe right for each other. Bumble has also added BumbleBFF to help people find friends in their area as well as BumbleBiz for networking relationships.
Suing for patent infringement could be a way for Match Group to intimidate Bumble into joining the groups already growing number of dating apps. But Match Group has to know that after having a partner not check a coworker--nay, fellow co-founder for sexual harassment, why would Herd want Bumble to be associated with anything that has to do with them? It just goes to show that they still don't understand that no means no and corporate bullying doesn't make anyone want to say yes.