One thing’s for sure: Bumble is one tech tech startup that will have no problems recruiting women.
Austin-based dating app Bumble this week held a party to unveil its new Austin headquarters, which is a few blocks west of the Central Market on North Lamar Boulevard.
It’s like no tech office I’ve ever seen.
The pink-and-yellow office is unabashedly feminine, from the plush pink chairs to the strategically placed “Feminist Fight Club,” book on the coffee table, the bubble gum-pink toilet and the “glam room” for women that doubles as a nursing room.
The company worked with a residential interior design firm, JEI Design, to achieve that look, according to director of operations Caroline Ellis.
Monday’s event was attended by social media influencers, members of media and Bumble employees, some of whom flew into town for the event and were treated to Salt Lick barbecue and escorted around in a Bumble-branded van.
There was food and drink catered by notable Austin restaurants such as Uchi, Enoteca/Vespaio and Peached Tortilla, and an eye-catching bubble-gum-flavored milkshake with a donut on top.
The majority of Bumble’s employees are women, which fits with the company’s focus and is unusual in the tech industry. The dating app functions similarly to Tinder in that users swipe left or right to indicate their preferences.
But the difference with Bumble is only women are allowed to start a conversation with someone on the app.
That mantra is emblazoned in yellow letters on a wall in the new headquarters: MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. The office has homey feel, with large couches, frames on the walls and yellow diner-style booths inside the kitchen.
Bumble’s headquarters are head-snappingly different from any other tech startup I’ve visited.
Usually engineers sit elbow-to-elbow in open offices, with exposed ductwork. There is typically a foosball or ping-pong table nearby, gently worn couches and bean bags.
They tend to look like this:
What many of those tech startups also have in common is male founders and/or a predominantly male workforce. Perks like a foosball table and beer rank a little higher than glam rooms and pink toilets.
Bumble’s headquarters show what happens when women run a tech company and have free rein to break the rules about tech culture and carve out a female-friendly environment. It’s similar to the glamorous Kendra Scott headquarters a few blocks away.
Bumble moved into its new Austin headquarters after operating out of a two-bedroom apartment in an Austin downtown high-rise.
Bumble is one of Austin’s biggest consumer app success stories and is expanding its services beyond dating.
The company also has a “Bumble BFF” version of its app that is for women or men just wanting to make friends. And the company is working on a version of its app for business networking.
Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe, who had previously co-founded popular dating app Tinder. She left the company after filling a sexual harassment lawsuit that was later settled.
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