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#GIRLTECHIE on Tinder: They Founded Love in a Hopeless Place

Our new columnist, GirlTechie, breaks down the sexual harassment suit from the co-founder of the infamous dating app, Tinder.


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I started using Tinder back in October 2013. I’ve used the dating app not only to find potential suitors but also new friends, travel tips, and, once, a business connection. My reputation as somewhat of a Tinder pro means I regularly hear from friends asking for advice: “What’s a good opening line?” “How soon till I ask to meet up?”

Yesterday’s announcement of the Tinder sexual harassment lawsuit prompted several friends and colleagues to ask for my thoughts on the situation.

Here’s the background: Former Tinder co-founder and VP of Marketing, Whitney Wolfe, filed a lawsuit against co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Justin Mateen, claiming sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

While these allegations have yet to be proven, I would not find it shocking that a man in power-driven Los Angeles would possess a vulgar disposition toward women. In this case, it’s a woman who seems to have just as much, if not more, power than than her male co-founder. A woman who is likely due as much – if not more – credit for Tinder’s success.

In addition, rumor has it that Wolfe and Mateen once dated. Dating a colleague is nothing new; most people do it at one point or another. I have. When I was 16, I briefly dated a colleague, and learned my lesson soon after: don’t date co-workers. It never works. The ironic thing here is that Wolfe and Mateen had at their finger tips a method to find a wide array of people to date. Literally. At. Their. Fingertips.

So, what does this mean for the future of Tinder?

Probably nothing.

I doubt that women (and supportive male counterparts) will stop using Tinder as a form of protest. In fact, I’d guess more adopters got curious after this news spilt out on the Twittersphere, perhaps prompting more downloads.

However, I do think that we will see Whitney Wolfe create a new platform to stand on. Wolfe has now opened herself up to proving that it was her work that created Tinder. (According to this source, she’s also the one who came up with Tinder’s moniker). Wolfe’s portfolio has the potential to reflect Tinder’s reported 10 million matches a day, and investors will surely be curious should she have any other ideas in her arsenal.

Ms. Wolfe, I wish you the best of luck on your next endeavor. Keep fighting for us GirlTechies in and outside of Silicon Valley. Harassment and undermining of women in tech happens all too often, and we at KnowTechie know for certain that a female co-founder does not devalue a company in the slightest.

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Amy DePaola is a Boston based writer and filmmaker working towards her M.F.A. in Media Art at Emerson College, where she also teaches undergrad. Amy enjoys exploring how technology affects us socially and often writes about relationships both with tech and to tech. Amy is also the founder of the digital incubator for TV pilots @indieMEDIAry. Follow her at @TheeAmyDee.

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