This week, Whitney Wolfe, Tinder’s former VP of marketing, filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against her Tinder co-founders. Wolfe claims her male counterparts belittled her role in the company, denied her of the title of “co-founder” and finally fired her after she raised her concerns. Oh, they also called her a “whore” and a “gold digger.”
According to the suit, Tinder CEO Sean Rad and chief marketing officer Justin Mateen told Wolfe that listing a “girl” as a company co-founder would devalue the red-hot dating app. It would make Tinder seem “slutty” and be taken as a “joke.” Ironically, Wolfe was tasked with perhaps the most pivotal part of Tinder’s widespread success: making the app a comfortable space for young women.
“In light of Wolfe’s suit, it seems clear that Tinder’s success among women was no accident. A woman had been on the ground floor all along, until her work was diminished and covered up,” wrote Amanda Hess in her fascinating Slate article recounting a conversation with Mateen.
The male-dominated startup world continues to be intimated by women and her possible contributions. It’s easy to understand why. After all, check out these other six tech startups co-founded by women that turned out to be total jokes…
Julia Hartz, Eventbrite President and Co-Founder
Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman, One Kings Lane Co-Founders
Lisa Sugar, Sugar, Inc. (PopSugar) Co-Founder
Susan Gregg Koger, ModCloth Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer
Leah Busque, TaskRabbit Founder
Mariam Naficy, Minted CEO and Founder
You’d think the dudes at Tinder would have at least — by default — gotten something right by having Wolfe be one of the faces of the company, while working to build her up to be a force in Silicon Valley. Now that would have made Tinder an empowered player. Like I wrote last year in my review of Tinder: “Built by men whose brains seem to only process two basic functions at a time — hot or not, want and get — these new apps rely on simplicity when sex is anything but. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. All it would have taken is a woman.”