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.”

3 Comments

  1. Dennis H

    The interesting element to this was that there Wolfe dated her boss (Mateen) previously and it seems the breakup wasn’t so clean. As Bloomberg reports, Tinder is less a start-up and more of a incubator-gone-wrong. The whole thing smells like kids playing in a big world for which they’re not yet ready. Good for her; it sounds like she deserves more than her fair day in court.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-02/tinders-forgotten-woman-whitney-wolfe-sexism-and-startup-creation-myth

    • Oscar Raymundo

      I completely agree. Can’t fathom what working day-to-day must have been like.

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