How Lidiane Jones, the incoming CEO of Bumble, intends to leverage AI to elevate matching

Nov 8, 2023
5 minutes to read

Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd steps down

Slack’s CEO will take over in January. Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd is stepping down from her role at the dating app she co-founded nearly a decade ago, the company confirmed in a statement Monday. 

How do they see the upcoming stage of the company’s development:

  1. Lydiana Jones, currently CEO of workplace messaging platform Slack, will assume the role effective January 2, succeeding Whitney Wolfe Herd;
  2. Wolfe Herd, in turn, will move to the position of executive chairman.

Whitney’s transformative experience

Reflecting on her journey, Wolfe Herd, who is also the co-founder of Tinder, shared in an interview with Fast Company that the last decade has been a personally transformative experience for her. During her tenure, she guided Bumble through challenges, oversaw the company’s expansion in areas such as matchmaking and professional networking, navigated the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, managed the company’s 2021 initial public offering, and faced intense competition from Match Group parties.

Despite the dating app industry’s initial surge during the pandemic as singles sought online connections, it has faced challenges as users experience burnout. Bumble’s stock price has fallen to under $13 per share, a significant departure from its debut price of over $70 per share. Last week, Match Group issued a warning of lower-than-expected revenue for the fourth quarter of 2023. Bumble is scheduled to report earnings on Tuesday.

“What makes this partnership different is that we complement each other,” noted Wolfe Herd. As executive chairman, she intends to focus on the brand’s 10-year strategy, covering areas such as public policy and social impact. Jones, on the other hand, described herself as a dedicated product leader with significant experience in artificial intelligence and managing global teams.

Bumble support

Wolfe Herd has been a consistent supporter of Bumble, which she founded in 2014 with the goal of empowering women to initiate conversations in heterosexual relationships, as a cornerstone of the “women’s internet.” Bumble’s unique approach requires women to make the first move on the app. Over time, Bumble expanded its portfolio of apps to include Bumble for Friends, Fruitz, Badoo and Official, a platform designed to nurture relationships.

Jones’ role at Bumble is to take the company to its next stage, with a focus on the key role of artificial intelligence. Wolfe Herd praised Jones, a technology veteran with a wealth of experience including 13 years at Microsoft, leading the Sonos software team and several years at Salesforce before her tenure at Slack. Wolfe Herd highlighted Jones’ ability to bring new product ideas to life and her passion for artificial intelligence, acknowledging that AI is poised to take Bumble to new heights.

Jones expressed her intention to explore the potential of AI to not only improve ideal matchmaking, but also create a more natural experience for participants in finding ideal partners. She emphasized that AI can play a vital role in strengthening Bumble’s long-standing commitment to user safety, positioning the platform as a leader in defining how AI can facilitate secure matches.

Wolfe Herd also envisions using artificial intelligence to make more relevant connections, improve security, and shorten the path from matching to face-to-face meetings. She believes Jones is uniquely positioned to ensure the successful implementation of these ideas.

During her time at Slack, Jones focused on effectively integrating artificial intelligence into products. In an interview at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in September, she laid out Slack’s AI guiding principles. Jones emphasized that any new AI capabilities introduced in Slack must prioritize trust, keep user data protected in a secure environment, and they must solve meaningful problems for users.

Brazilian native Lydian Jones, who continued her education at the University of Michigan on a scholarship, brings an international perspective to Bumble. She highlighted her diverse background, including being from another country and speaking multiple languages, as well as her experience doing business on a global scale. Jones sees significant potential in expanding Bumble membership around the world.

Consequences of Whitney Wuffle Herd’s transition

The announcement of Whitney Wolfe Herd’s move sent Bumble shares down more than 6.5%, with some investors expressing negative sentiment. Evercore analysts said they view Wolfe Herd’s departure as a near-to-medium-term business problem and a morale blow for the company.

Anne Mather, chairman of the board, said the company has been planning a thoughtful and thoughtful succession strategy for some time with Wolfe Herd. In her new role, Wolfe Herd will continue to be involved in the company’s operations and expressed enthusiasm for the partnership.

Jones explained that she was drawn to Bumble by meeting Whitney Wolfe Herd and the company’s mission, which continually focuses on “connections of kindness.” She sees Wolfe Herd’s role as chairman as a great opportunity to leverage her collective strengths and take Bumble to the next level.

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