Bumble VP of partnerships outlines her approach to courting business brands

Bumble VP partnerships B2B
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It may have started life as the dating app created by women, for women, but the appointment of a new vice-president of partnerships suggests Bumble could offer a range of experiences that appeal to its audience’s professional needs.

Last month the Austin-based firm said it had hired Michele Tobin, who has worked at gay-focused dating app Grindr as well as Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds franchise. Her mandate includes connecting with other businesses that want to get in front of the approximately 50 million people who use Bumble around the world, including in-app experiences, live vents and more.

Even before Tobin’s hiring, however, Bumble has been moving into the B2B space with the launch a year and a half ago of Bumble Bizz, a professional networking service where users can find peers to discuss career interests, mentors to offer advice or even for freelancers to find clients. Tobin said her work will build upon features like Bumble Bizz as she explores collaborations with a range of other firms. 

“I’m going to be trying to make sure wherever we bring a partner that it makes the user experience better in some way,” Tobin told B2B News Network. “What you won’t see is us rushing towards standard ad units or anything that feels overly intrusive.”

Tobin said she’s considering everything from in-person panel discussions about women and  entrepreneurship to helping users build their professional brand with better head shots. She noted how the concept of “value exchange” is common in mobile gaming, where players engage with partner content like watching a video in order to move to a new level or unlock some other kind of reward.

“We want to give our users access to content or experience that they wouldn’t otherwise get, or create amazing events for them to make them aware of interesting happenings,” she said.

On the flip side, Tobin said an enterprise or B2B brand that wants to create a partnership around a theme like female empowerment needs to be able to do so in an authentic way. This is particularly important given Bumble has been vocal about having a brand purpose to help end misogyny.

“One of the big differentiators is we are hands-down a mission-driven company. That permeates everything we do and how we think about things like partnerships,” she said.

“Whenever you can create something that’s unique and very relevant contextually in the app, or an experience or product in real life that is meaningful and relevant to the brand, that’s the win.”

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.