With her one-year-old son on her hip, a smiling Whitney Wolfe Herd rang the bell at NASDAQ, signalling a new era for her female-focused dating app Bumble.

The globally lauded app places female empowerment at the forefront of dating, with women making the first move. Yet, despite its success, the app was borne from an unfortunately all-too-common experience of women.

Wolfe Herd was the youngest woman to take a company public in the US, continuing a legacy of high achievement at a young age. In her early twenties, she joined what is now known as Tinder, a dating app that fueled the mobile dating boom. Less than a few years later, she had left Tinder and filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company. From the ashes of that experience, Bumble was born, empowering women, and becoming a worldwide sensation.

For women, by women

Wolfe Herd’s story is particularly significant for two reasons. Firstly, it showcases the immense capabilities of women at the helm of a company. Herd was not only able to create a dating app that competed against the juggernauts in the industry but was also able to grow it to become a public company.

Secondly, it highlights the importance of female-founded tech companies. Wolfe Herd’s tragic and regrettable experience is one faced by countless women, and why so many have felt empowered by Bumble. Women can provide a unique point of view to create solutions, as Wolfe Herd did.

Women best understand the experience of being a woman, from the difficulties of tracking fertility (solved by the Ava bracelet) to the stress of finding good childcare (made easier by the Kinside network). Empowering women to found companies can enable them to fix problems they understand and may be best positioned to tackle.

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Supporting female founders

Yet, numerous challenges remain. While the need for a STEM education is not a prerequisite for starting a tech company, it does inevitably help in building a product. Supporting more women in STEM programs can facilitate the route to tech entrepreneurship down the line—supermodel Karlie Kloss does this through her ‘Kode with Klossy’ program, which awarded 4000 scholarships in 2022.

The second challenge comes when a startup is in its infancy and seeking funding. Only 2% of VC funding goes to female founders—an astronomically low percentage given the wealth of experience and intelligence that they possess. Female-focused venture capital funds such as HearstLab and angel investor network Alma Angels are seeking to change this, however, more can be done.

Women face several complex problems in their lifetime and supporting them in finding solutions will not only change the lives of the women involved in the companies, but of those the solutions help. Female founders are the future – together, we can empower them to step into the light.