Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, a dating app that requires women to initiate a match rather than men, had a great support network when she was getting her young company off the ground. Her business partner was supportive. Her now husband was, too. So were early employees and her immediate family.
“Outside of that, I was a crazy person,” said Herd, who also co-founded the popular “swipe right” dating app Tinder. “According to the Internet, according to most people I went to school with. That’s good. And that’s healthy.”
Speaking at the 2017 Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Herd urged budding entrepreneurs in the room to convert criticism that isn’t constructive into motivation to move forward.
“If people are telling you that they don’t believe what you’re doing, that means you’re doing something out of their comfort zone. And generally, people don’t want to be taken out of their comfort zone because it’s outside of the status quo,” she said. “If you’re doing anything disruptive, and if you know it to be good and true and progressive, let the naysayers fuel you to work harder and go faster and sleep less. Well, take care of yourself, but you know what I mean.”
Bumble, which launched in late 2014, leverages what is known as the Sadie Hawkins concept, in which female students ask male students to the school dance, rather than the typical reverse. The Austin, Texas company certainly struck a nerve; in addition to the 24 million registrations Bumble has enjoyed to date, the company recently made headlines for its attraction of Match Group, the InterActiveGroup-controlled company that dominates digital dating services (OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, Match.com, Tinder).
It’s little surprise, then, that the company decided to expand into business networking with its Bumble Bizz service. Enterprising businesspeople want to meet others in the right way, Herd said—no negative exchanges necessary.
“It’s a way for you to network in an empowered way,” she said. “To make connections without being solicited.”