Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg Admires Bumble Despite Their Legal Dispute

October 3, 2018, 6:21 PM UTC

Executives from two companies suing each other took the stage one after the other at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Wednesday morning.

Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg joined Fortune‘s Leigh Gallagher, where Ginsberg said that she respects Bumble and its founder Whitney Wolfe Herd despite the two companies’ ongoing legal drama. Match has sued Bumble for infringement on intellectual property, and Bumble has responded with a lengthy countersuit alleging a host of misdeeds, including fraud and disparagement.

“I’ve really admired Whitney and what she’s built,” Ginsberg said. “I’ve had a great personal relationship with her even through all this.”

In the past year, the online dating industry went from one dominated by men to one with women leading its two highest-profile companies—”about time,” Ginsberg said. Ginsberg took over Match—a large public company with a portfolio of 10 global dating brands compared to Bumble, a startup—in August 2017.

Match, which owns Tinder, first sued Bumble for infringement on intellectual property in March 2018, alleging that Bumble stole the dating app swipe from Tinder. Wolfe Herd was a co-founder of Tinder, before leaving to found Bumble, which was the first dating app to give women control of matches and messaging with men.

“Thousands of companies protect their [intellectual property]. I didn’t realize I was entering into, as you said, drama,” Ginsberg said, referencing the name of the morning’s panel, “Dating Drama.” “I thought it was the right thing to do to protect the IP we had.”

Bumble has since responded with a countersuit alleging that the lawsuit was frivolous, brought by Match after Match lowballed Bumble with an investment offer and then requested Bumble’s most sensitive records and business strategies to come back with another offer. Instead of making that offer, Bumble claims, Match used that information and then filed its lawsuit.

The Bumble lawsuit isn’t Match’s only legal battle. The company is also caught up in a lawsuit over equity with Tinder’s co-founders that Ginsberg calls a contract dispute.

“I never spent so much time with lawyers as I did this year,” Ginsberg said.

But Match is pressing onward despite its lawsuit-heavy year. About 35% of marriages are now between couples who met on a dating app or website, Ginsberg said.

And the company isn’t afraid of Facebook’s recently announced plan to enter the dating market.

“Eighteen-to-25-year-olds don’t want to date on the same platforms where their parents are,” Ginsberg said, referencing Tinder’s core demographic.

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