Bumble creates networking pop-up for women

The activation aimed to replicate the "safe space and empowering" nature of the dating app's career development mode.


Bumble, a dating app focused on women, recently ran a Toronto pop-up offering its user base the chance to connect and network in a “safe and empowering” environment.

The event, dubbed #OneConnection, was done to support Bumble Bizz, a networking and career development mode within the app.

Held at Bolo in Toronto (a fitness space that also includes a gym, coffee lounge and salon), #OneConnection was launched on April 25 with an exclusive discussion on “personal branding” that featured influential women in business. In total, seven mentors were on site, providing advice to some 35 Bumble users who had applied to attend in advance via connecting on the app.

Part two of the pop-up, which ran through April 28, enabled users to visit the space to network, meet with other professionals and make use of career-oriented services, such as professional headshots and time with a career coach. The mentors included Canadian Olympian Tessa Virtue, Cityline host Tracy Moore, entrepreneur Sara Koonar, as well as members of the Bumble leadership team, including head of brand Alex Williamson and Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF heads of creative Sara and Erin Foster.

The pop-up was meant to replicate how users interact on the app, says  Emily Ramshaw, the Canadian country lead for Bumble. Both aim to create safe spaces for people to connect, so that they can “feel empowered and supported” while meeting new people, “which can often be a scary thing,” both online and off-line, she says.

OneConnection2Bumble launched in December 2014 offering an alternative to the Tinder dating app format by giving more control to women on the platform. Unlike some other dating apps, once a pair is matched, the woman is the only one who can initiate contact. The company expanded into friend-finding with the launch of Bumble BFF in 2016, followed by Bumble Bizz in 2017. The latter aims to overcome the anxieties women face when networking online by giving them similar control of the people they connect with.

On a global level, the company has run other pop-ups in the past, including Bumble Hive, an interactive concept in which guests have access to entertainment and sessions with entrepreneurs and influencers, Ramshaw says. However, this was the first Bumble Bizz-specific event the company has run in Canada.

While mentorship opportunities are available through its app, providing an opportunity for one-on-one sessions resembling “speed dating” is not something it has done before “in real life,” Ramshaw says.

The concept was the “brainchild” of Jessica Mulroney, who recently signed on as a Canadian strategic advisor for Bumble, and it was intended to serve as “a nice little ecosystem that we could build out to exist like the way that we want the digital world of the app the exist,” according to Ramshaw.

Promotion was mostly done through the app itself, with invitations sent directly to users, who Ramshaw notes are already looking for networking opportunities. Additional promotion was done through Bumble’s social channels and those of its featured mentors.

Mint agency led the pop-up concept, with support from Megan Leahy, which leads Bumble’s national PR efforts.