One of the most popular new dating startups, Bumble, will become the first dating product to expand into the world of professional networking.
Called BumbleBIZZ, the new networking feature helps users find job opportunities and talk to prospective employers in a more casual and less pressured environment.
The announcement comes as Bumble reveals it has now hit over 5.5m users.
Speaking about the new feature, Bumble CEO & founder Whitney Wolfe said: “Sometimes when you get on a platform like LinkedIn or similar to LinkedIn, you feel like you have to go in the door with very formal wants or needs.
“We don’t want you to have to put forth very robust terms about what you’re seeking because a lot of the times, you don’t know what you’re looking for.
“And oftentimes, success comes from spontaneous connections.”
When BumbleBIZZ is launched – expected to be by Autumn – it will be the third main section on Bumble – joining the app’s main dating feature and BumbleBFF, a platonic friend-finding aspect to the product that was launched in March.
Users will soon be able to flick between the three sections to find dates, friends, and potential employers.
Asked why Bumble decided to introduce this networking angle to the app, Wolfe said: “Our users were already using our platform to network. So, we decided to introduce that curated section of the app to give them a distinct place to do this.
“This isn’t us introducing random new features. This is us listening to our users, and really inching toward our grand vision, which is to be the place for people to meet.”
Although BumbleBIZZ and BumbleBFF both exist within the original dating app, user profiles are not linked, with each feature working individually – not connecting users on BumbleBIZZ to their dates on Bumble, for example.
However, Bumble members can tailor their profiles to fit each platform, meaning they can choose the photos and information they present in each one.
BumbleBIZZ profiles will contain information such as what industry their work in, what their current job is and their education history.
The app’s founder, Whitney Wolfe, has also assured users that this new move is in-keeping with the company’s female-focused take on connecting people.
BumbleBIZZ works in the same way as Bumble – women still have to instigate the conversation after a match is made, and if no messages are sent, the match will be lost within 24 hours.
Explaining why they kept this functionality for the networking feature, Wolfe said: “Women sometimes feel approached in an inappropriate way [on professional platforms]. That they’re being sought out for dates or hit on.”
“Just like in dating, we as a company firmly believe that women and men don’t get treated with equality in business.
“We’re doing our very best to be a feminist product. Are we absolutely 100% perfect? No, absolutely not. We know that we have a long way to go.”