Contributed by: ElyseRomano Friday, August 24 2018 @ 08:07 am
Over the last four years, Bumble has conquering dating, friendship, and business networking. Now the buzzy company has set its sights on a new arena: startup investments.
Bumble Fund is a new venture focused on early-stage investments for female-founded and female-led businesses. The fund will invest amounts ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 in companies that primarily serve women and are spearheaded by female leaders from diverse backgrounds.
“Investing in and empowering women in business is something that our founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd is deeply passionate about and is at the very core of what Bumble stands for,” said Sarah Jones Simmer, Bumble COO, who will lead Bumble Fund’s investment strategy alongside Bumble Senior Advisor, Sarah Kunst. “Through Bumble Fund we’ll look not only to support those women leaders who have been largely ignored, but we’ll also demonstrate why those investments build smart, successful businesses.”
Bumble has committed more than $1 million to the fund so far. Two of the initiative’s early investments are in other women-focused funds, Kunst's Cleo Capital and Female Founders Fund. Bumble Fund has also backed Sofia Los Angeles, a swimwear company that was amongst the winners of Bumble’s first “Bizz Pitch” competition in the spring, as well as prenatal and postpartum healthcare company Mahmee and the beauty festival startup BeautyCon.
Bumble declined to share the amounts invested in each of these companies, but noted that the fund’s mission is bigger than money.
“We want to give more than capital,” said Jones Simmer. “We are in a privileged position of having built a legacy of experience over the last four years. And so much of what we are tackling is what other founders are facing on a day-to-day basis.”
Bumble took a similarly mission-driven approach when announcing Bumble Fund. In a blog post[*1] , the company revealed that startups headed by women only received 2% of all venture capital last year.
“For black, Latinx, and other women from underrepresented groups, that statistic is even more bleak,” the post explained. “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.”
Bumble says it wants to help solve the problem of women being “largely ignored by the venture capital establishment” with this fund.
Going forward, the company hopes to discover investment opportunities through a mix of expert advice and its own platform. Jones Simmer says the company plans to use the professional networking tool within its app, Bumble Bizz, to identify potential fund recipients. Future Bumble Bizz pitch competitions are also in the works. For more info on this dating service, check out our Bumble app review.