Since I gave my presentation a few weeks ago, BumbleBizz officially launched on October 2nd. Most of the feedback I received on my presentation centered around you all wanting to know more about exactly what BumbleBizz is, how it works, and how it will take Bumble from a dating app to a connections app; so here we go!
If you open the Bumble app right now, you will be given the chance to choose which vertical you would like to create a profile for. These verticals include Bumble (dating), BumbleBFF (to find friends in the area of your same gender), and now, BumbleBizz (to make networking connections). Each of these verticals are totally separate from one another so you can tailor the photos you choose and your bios to fit the vertical, and perhaps most importantly, no one on BumbleBizz will know if you have a Bumble dating profile or vice versa.
So what does a BumbleBizz profile look like you might ask? Below is a sample profile, an example of a match notification and a company partnership. When you create a profile, first there is a Headline section where you can describe your current employment status and what you are looking for on BumbleBizz. Then you can scroll down to the About Me section to write “more details about your skills, previous roles, and anything else you’d like people to know.” Below this, you can add up to four jobs (including your current occupation), up to four institutions, and finally your gender. The only flaw to this feature is that the only jobs and institutions you can add already must be on your Facebook profile. Therefore you must go back into Facebook and add any jobs or institutions that you want to showcase on your BumbleBizz profile.
Like I mentioned in my presentation, BumbleBizz works the same way as the Bumble vertical in that if there is a woman in the match she must initiate a conversation within 24 hours to keep the match from disappearing (if it is two women or two men either can initiate the conversation before the 24 hour time limit). In an interview with AdAge, Bumble’s CEO Whitney Wolfe said the reason to keep the requirement for women to make the first move an integral part of BumbleBizz, as well as on Bumble, is that “it’s about letting the woman know that it’s okay to be outspoken, it’s okay to be confident.”
Ultimately though, why should LinkedIn or other professional networking sites care about BumbleBizz? Well, for starters Bumble is the first company to use a geo-targeted swiping approach to allow professional networking. Also, BumbleBizz has a few cool features that are sure to set it apart from the competition. As shown in the image above, Bumble is partnering with different companies, like AirBnB, that their large millennial audience already is both familiar with and feels a sense of connection to in order to engage users who are actively looking for new jobs or career paths. This puts BumbleBizz more in the realm of a LinkedIn-esque company, as there are actual job opportunities posted regularly, and not just individual-to-individual based connections.
Another interesting feature BumbleBizz is adding is a feature called “Bumble Spots” which are officially approved by Bumble as safe places to meet a potential networking connection. If a user shows their profile at a Bumble Spot they are eligible for discounts and promotions. For the time being, these spots are unpaid partnerships. As the popularity of BumbleBizz grows however, Bumble is looking to monetize these business connections by having companies like coffee shops or restaurants pay to be featured as a Bumble Spot.
However, BumbleBizz is in its infancy and still has some kinks it needs to work out before it can really ‘take flight.’ First of all, unlike a traditional resume, BumbleBizz uses a person’s photo as the primary means of selecting someone to network with. Although Wolfe has said that BumbleBizz is “more focused more on the connection with the individual than a job posting,” and therefore is not necessarily meant to replace websites like LinkedIn, there is no way to deny the natural tendency for people to choose to talk to people they find more attractive, regardless of their resume or skill set.
Also, BumbleBizz uses geo-targeting and only allows people to connect with others within a 100 mile radius. This is tough for people like me who might be looking for jobs in other cities across the country. When I was working in the office this summer however, I did find out that eventually BumbleBizz will allow for long-distance connections. Eventually, users will be able to select different cities that they wish to network with people from, but there is no telling how far off in the future this addition will become available. Other features that are soon to be added include the ability for people to create group messages and organize events within the BumbleBizz vertical.
Lastly, if BumbleBizz ever does decide to directly take on LinkedIn, they have a lot of catching up to do. Currently Bumble as a whole has around 20 million users, and networking giant LinkedIn boasts around 500 million users. Additionally other players in the dating world are trying to tap into the estimated $80 billion recruitment industry. eHarmony tried to create its own career site called Elevated Careers, but it did not take off as planned and was eventually acquired by Candidate.Guru. Tinder also has tried to enter the space by acquiring Humin, a management app back in 2016, but has yet to do much with the technology.
It will be interesting to see if any of these companies can gain a sizable footprint in the large recruitment industry. In my opinion, if Bumble can continue to improve BumbleBizz, it has as good of a shot as anyone; plus it never hurts to root for the underdog (or should I say under-bee?)!