Two years ago Bumble launched its dating app before expanding with an algorithm to help women forge new friendships. Now it has its sights set on professional networking.
The newly-announced BumbleBIZZ aims to allow users to swipe their way to better career prospects.
Just like Bumble's dating interface, the BumbleBIZZ feature would work on a location-based, left-right swipe mechanism.
While it sounds like a very direct way to address new business connections, the thinking is that it allows a more casual alternative to sites like LinkedIn by facilitating immediate connections and sparking conversations. Rather than waiting for someone to check an inbox you can chat live about local projects or job opportunities.
And before you worry about the prevalence of dog selfies and holiday snaps on your current Bumble profile: they've thought of that. Your BIZZ profile will be separate and allow you to outline your professional achievements or hobbies.
It also allows for more personal relationship building, as it's about what you've got to say, not your CV.
Just like on Bumble, female users still have to make the first move. According to its founder Whitney Wolfe, the hope is that this will make it easier for women to network, especially with men.
"I think a lot of women to this day struggle with feeling respected and feeling like an equal when it comes to business connection,” she says. “They feel that sometimes when they’re approaching something in a purely platonic or business connection, they feel like the conversation goes in a different direction.” This is something Wolfe is all too familiar with, given that she co-founded Tinder but famously exited the company after settling a lawsuit against it and her ex partner Justin Mateen.
The idea for the app came after Wolfe - who is currently in a relationship - used Bumble to make connections with senior staff at Facebook and Snapchat. She then figured that mixing your professional and private lives in one place is the way forward for social apps.
Wolfe anticipates Bumble being at the forefront of what she calls "social discovery" and thinks that while an app bridging all the relationship components in our lives: romance, friendship and professional, might sounds extreme right now, that it will become commonplace to use social networking this way in the near future.
“The same way people were somewhat perplexed by on-demand hyper local dating apps in 2012, I think we’ll be met by the same perplexity right now with this,” she says. “But I think soon it’s going to be normalised, and I think this is the direction that social discovery is moving. Hyper-locality is where everything is going right now.”
Ultimately her goal is for Bumble to become the place for forging new connections. “Facebook is the best place to keep in touch and connect with people you already know,” Wolfe says. “We want to be that for the people you don’t yet know.”
BumbleBIZZ is set for release in early Autumn.