Bumble Set To Launch In India With Priyanka Chopra As An Investor

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Bumble is on track to debut in India later this year, with an unexpected investor and advisor by its side: actress and philanthropist Priyanka Chopra.

"I've always believed that investing in women is key to social transformation and economic growth,” Chopra explained in a statement released by Bumble. “Women want love, they want friendship and they want to find a career, and that's the uniqueness of what Bumble delivers.”

“I’m inspired by the real, positive change Bumble is creating and I’m proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this movement as a partner,” she added.

This is Chopra’s second investment in the tech space (the first was a US-based coding school). She first teamed up with Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd during the launch of Bumble’s LinkedIn alternative, Bumble Bizz, last fall — a partnership Wolfe Herd says initiated the company’s expansion into India. In the intervening months, Bumble has been building a local team in the country and refining its strategy and marketing campaigns. Chopra has reportedly been “deeply involved” in the process.

“She’s a partner, and she’s going to help us empower not only the women of India—she will be a global force,” Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said of Chopra at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit. “Women globally want to be empowered. They need to feel safe, and they need to connect.”

This is an especially important mission in India, where cultural stigma and an overwhelming volume of male attention makes online dating a less appealing prospect for women. “The barrage of messages that hits your inbox is like a swarm of locusts,” a Mumbai woman, Anushree Majumdar, told the Wall Street Journal in June. Bumbles women-first approach could play a key role in changing the perception of dating apps for single women in India.

“There are hundreds of millions of young women in India that are part of a larger movement to take control of their lives, and they’re demanding respect and independence,” Chopra’s manager Anjula Acharia, who is also Bumble advisor and investor, said in a statement.

In preparation, Bumble executives studied the launch process for American tech companies in South Asia, reports Fortune, and familiarized themselves with Indian norms around dating and relationships. Bumble will introduce features specifically designed to address safety concerns for Indian women, including new features for reporting bad behavior and the option to show only a first initial — no first or last name — on profiles.

Bumble has created versions of its app in Hindi and “Hinglish,” tailored its marketing strategy to appeal to the Indian market, and adjusted its user interface and matching algorithm for the country’s levels of network connectivity. This may be the most specialization to date for one of Bumble’s international apps, which now reach 160 countries. Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz will look largely the same in India as they do in other markets.

Bumble will face competition in the Indian market from one of its primary rivals in the United States. Tinder launched in the country in 2013 and is now its highest-grossing Android app, according to App Annie data. Interestingly, Tinder introduced a copycat version of Bumble’s women-first feature in India last week. The timing is allegedly a coincidence, but given the legal battle currently raging between the two companies on their home turf, it’s bound to raise eyebrows. For more about this service you can check our our Bumble review.