By Michael Teich
Digital daters no longer have reason to feel insecure about using apps to find love, said Bumble COO Sarah Jones Simmer.
The popular dating app ー which only allows women to initiate conversations with matches ー faces new competition from Facebook as the social media giant prepares to launch its own dating feature. But the Bumble exec thinks it's good news for the matchmaking business.
"I see it as a net positive for the industry," Jones Simmer said Friday in an interview on Cheddar. "If there was any stigma attached to meeting people online and making very real connections online, Facebook just validated that this is a real path to making those meaningful connections."
But Bumble aims to do more than just match-make. The Austin-based company announced Wednesday it's looking to narrow the gender gap in venture capital funding with the launch of "Bumble Fund," which will raise capital for female-founded and female-led businesses. All-female business teams only received 2.2 percent of capital invested by VC's in 2017, according to PitchBook. Jones Simmer said the company's own success made it imperative to help others in the same position.
Still, Jones Simmer is not dismissing the threat of Facebook dominating her field.
"We have examples ー even in the way that Amazon has moved across the e-commerce space. If you are in [Facebook's] path, I think you do need to be a bit worried. They have a very dominant monthly active user base."
Jones Simmer said she's still confident Bumble and Facebook can co-exist peacefully ー mostly because their business models are vastly different.
"We feel like we are able to run alongside in our lane, which is very focused on the experience for women ー which is very focused on empowerment, equality, creating a kind, safe community," she said.
"There's so much opportunity for us to exist alongside whatever Facebook builds if we stay true to that competitive edge."
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