Whitney Wolfe Herd's Bumble is a lot more than a women-empowering dating app these days--and through the company's venture capital arm, it has been expanding its ties to other innovative female-founded businesses.

Last week it announced its latest round of investments, ranging between $5,000 and $250,000, through the Bumble Fund. The round included an investment in Alice, an AI-powered platform helmed by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz that recommends resources such as startup accelerators and networking events to help entrepreneurs grow their companies. (Gore is on the Inc. Board of Advisers and is an Inc.com columnist.) Alice had previously received $200,000 from Melinda Gates, who last February made it the very first investment from her Pivotal Ventures organization.

Alice's platform is open to all business owners, but it prioritizes recommendations for women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs, with a goal of helping increase inclusivity and accessibility.

What's interesting about the investment is that it also means that for the Bumble Fund's next wave of investments, entrepreneurs seeking funding will apply through Alice's website. As a result, even if an idea or company doesn't get the money from the fund, it will automatically get some business advice through the Alice community. "The partnership marks the first time every applicant of a venture fund will receive education, support, mentorship, and guidance to grow their companies, no matter if they qualify for investment at that moment," Bumble said in a news release.

Bumble also invested this past week in Promise, the San Francisco area-based startup that provides alternatives to pre-trial incarceration. Promise was backed by Y Combinator and founded by Phaedra Ellis Lamkins and Diana Frappier.

Bumble, which launched its Bumble Fund last August, has made many small investments in both female-focused funds (Female Founders Fund and Cleo Capital, among others) and woman-founded startups (including Mahmee, a postpartum health care company; and swimwear upstart Sofia Los Angeles). 

Published on: Mar 11, 2019