Most Kiwis won't be familiar with the name Whitney Wolfe Herd, but matchmaking app Bumble should ring a few bells.

Speaking from her home in Texas, 28-year-old Herd, the founder of Bumble and co-founder of its competitor Tinder, was happy to chat about the $1 billion company's expansion in New Zealand.

Bumble aims to connect people for a chance at love, or as Herd says, a chance to build meaningful relationships on all fronts.

Both Tinder and Bumble are based on app users swiping right if they like the photos they see of a person or left if they don't.


If two users swipe right on each other, they can chat and connect.

The Bumble app, available on IoS or Android. Photo / Getty
The Bumble app, available on IoS or Android. Photo / Getty

The added stipulation for Bumble is that the woman has to make the first move in talking to the guy, otherwise the match disappears after 24 hours.

Herd has expanded the service since it was founded in 2014, offering Bumble Bizz for business partnerships and Bumble BFF for making friends - both of which launched in New Zealand this week.

"After the launch of Bumble Date, users were starting to connect as friends, so we decided to launch BFF," Herd says.

"When I was using BFF I matched with someone who I then went on to hire at Bumble HQ, from there I thought why not create a platform for women to build business connections and advance their careers."

"We want to build meaningful connections empowering women in all facets of their lives - be that relationships, friendships or business networking."

Bumble has been available in new Zealand for three years, with more than 1.73 million conversations started.

A Bumble event in LA. Photo / Getty
A Bumble event in LA. Photo / Getty

The bulk of users are between 23 and 27 years old and there's a 50/50 gender split.


"After a hugely successful 12 months in Australia, we are now focused on growing the already engaged New Zealand market," Herd said.

"Bumble is the perfect fit for New Zealand, a country that has always been a world leader when putting women first."

The app is available in 144 countries and has more than 33 million registered users.

It has about 80 staff working across six offices and is widely acknowledged as one of the fastest growing dating apps globally.

Herd wouldn't comment on speculation of various takeover offers, but the latest one was reported to value Bumble at $1 billion.

With a 20 per cent stake in the company, and happily married, it would be easy to assume Herd has had it easy.

Her story is a reasonably public one however. In 2014, she sued Tinder for sexual harassment, alleging her ex-boss and ex-boyfriend Justin Mateen had sent her threatening and derogatory messages.

Whitney Wolfe Heard, founder of app Bumble. Photo / Kristen Kilpatrick
Whitney Wolfe Heard, founder of app Bumble. Photo / Kristen Kilpatrick

She also alleged Tinder had wrongly stripped her of her co-founder title.

The company denied any wrongdoing, but Mateen was suspended and then resigned.

The suit was settled and Herd decided to launch competitor Bumble. She had support from UK dating app Badoo founder Andrey Andreev, who took a 79 per cent stake in the business and helped Herd launch and grow.

The focus on women is the app's key Herd says.

"I wanted to create an environment where women could connect safely online and users who behaved negatively or inappropriately would be held accountable," she says.

"Andrey supported me and gave me the resources to give Bumble the wings it needed from an infrastructure point of view."

With 85 per cent female employees, Herd is also focused on women in business.

"Bumble is about equality, we are reverse engineering traditional societal norms. Women need to support other women and we must ensure we are providing women with opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential."