The world of online dating is changing on a daily basis. To find out how, we've caught up with Bumble – the dating app that puts women in the driver's seat.

Online dating ain’t what it used to be. Over the last few years, dating apps have become the norm for singletons looking for love, while new apps with fresh approaches seem to hit the market on a weekly basis. One such app with a different approach to the dating game is Bumble, which launched in 2014 and now boasts over 23 million users.

But what makes it stand out? And what’s the thinking behind its female-friendly ethos? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve been chatting to Bumble’s UK Director, Julian Hislop, to find out…

Shaking things up

Bumble is the brainchild of former Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, who’s original idea was to create a ‘nice’ non-dating specific platform, where people would only be able to give compliments and say kind things to and about one another.

It wasn’t long before this idea evolved, however, and moved back towards the space that Whitney knew best: dating.

Bumble’s big selling point is that it turns ‘traditional’ dating – where the men take the lead – on its head, in part to tackle some of the more questionable behaviours she’d experienced on other dating and social apps in the past.

In the Bumble app, women send the first message, giving men 24 hours to respond before the chance is lost and the messages deleted. Oh, and that 24-hour window still applies to same-sex matches too. Sounds simple, but Julian says it’s a real game-changer when it comes to the fundamentals of online dating…

“I think we’ve created a kinder environment,” he tells us. “And that’s because, in order to be a part of Bumble, you have to follow our moral values. We’ve only had a small number of users suffering any from unwanted or rude messages in the app as a result, but even if a user is sent a rude message, we have the largest team of moderators comparable to any other dating app – whose job it is to monitor and ban users instantly if they think it’s appropriate to do so.

“I think we’ve created a kinder environment.”

“Here at Bumble we believe that you’ll stand a better chance of finding love if you’re more considerate, respectful and generally kinder.”

And the results speak for themselves. Bumble’s been responsible for over 850 million matches, and 5,000 weddings and engagements. “It’s difficult to determine the long-term success of a match,” Julian says, “but we get loads of people who email in every day to say they’re getting married; we’ve had tonnes of Bumble weddings. There’s been a huge number of Bumble babies too, which is incredible considering we’ve only been around for the past three years.”

Breaking down the barriers

Changing up the traditional dating game to put women in the driver’s seat is a cool, new step, but what’s coming next for the dating game? And what is it about modern dating apps that’s made them such a phenomenon?

“I think people are making the most of the accessibility of dating apps,” Julian explains. “In the past, if you couldn’t find someone in your local town, you might just declare yourself unlucky in love. Increasingly though, people are finding that there are no limits to who, where and when they can meet. We’ve created options to finding love, and that’s why people are using these apps more and more.

“That’s only going to grow,” he adds, “because people are realising there aren’t as many barriers when it comes to meeting new people these days.”

As if to prove it, Bumble’s next step is to take the idea of meeting new people to an even more global level:

“The new idea is ‘Passports’, which will let you view potential matches in other parts of the world. So if you’re travelling to LA, for example, you can set up a meeting or a date there ahead of time. It’s all about increasing people’s options.

“We’ve got a lot of other cool things coming up too,” Julian adds. “Video content is coming soon, for instance. A lot of the feedback we get suggests people have trouble conveying their looks or personality through photos alone, so we’re working on Bumble Vids, where people can record a short video of themselves.

“That’s coming in the next six months or so,” he says in closing, “but we have loads more in the pipeline that we can’t talk about just yet.” All told? The future of online dating looks brighter – and more accessible – than ever.

Looking for love? You can grab Bumble on iOS here, or Android here.

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