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Bumble wants you to swipe right for professional networking

Bumble wants you to swipe right for professional networking

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Mobile dating app Bumble is now also a professional networking app. A new section called BumbleBizz, announced today, will connect people interested in building business connections when it launches this fall. While it uses the same swiping system as Bumble (or similar apps like Tinder), it will show potential matches a separate, more job-tailored profile, and it will look to match up people who may work in the same professional circles, regardless of gender. But it’s keeping the feature that sets Bumble apart from similar dating apps: in male-female pairings, women have to make the first move.

Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe tells Time that the system is supposed to make it easier for women to set the tone in a potential business relationship. It’s also part of a larger move to expand Bumble beyond a traditional dating app. The company recently launched a feature called BFF for platonic friendships, as well as a partnership that integrated Spotify listening habits into profiles. It’s not alone in exploring friendship matchups — apps like Hey! Vina and Wiith have done the same thing. But the options for networking are more limited, and Wolfe describes BumbleBizz as a more casual and immediate alternative to something like LinkedIn, the current de facto professional networking platform.

Someone, at one point or another, must have pitched this service as "Tinder for LinkedIn," which would sound like some kind of cruel joke in most other contexts. (Wolfe was a co-founder of Tinder as well, before leaving and filing a sexual harassment suit that was settled in 2014.) But seriously, there’s pretty much no way for BumbleBizz to be more painful to use than LinkedIn — if Bumble is able to keep a solid wall between people’s professional and dating profiles, it’s a low-pressure alternative to mailing lists or meetups. We just hope you get to switch between sections by selecting "business" or "pleasure."