Bumble is taking dating offline

One of the pioneers of swiping in an app to meet your mate is leaning into the radical idea that striking up a chat in-person might work better, after all. 

What happened: Bumble, the popular dating app that promises to put “women first”, acquired Geneva, an app that helps people find and join offline communities. 

  • Geneva lets users find and join group chats with people in their area who share similar interests and hobbies—think local book clubs or bird watchers.

  • Bumble’s CEO said Geneva would accelerate the company’s push into the just-friends market, which began with its standalone Bumble For Friends app.

Why it matters: Dating apps are discovering that a lot of their users are sick of swiping and want to meet people in person again, whether for friendship or something more. 

  • Gen Z, in particular, appears to be losing interest in online dating. One recent survey of university students found that 79% of them weren’t using the apps at all, and three-quarters had met their significant other IRL.

Zoom out: Dating apps are also struggling to engage women. 70% had experienced online dating “burnout,” according to a Bumble survey. Another poll found most women under 50 using dating apps received a sexually explicit message or image they didn’t ask for.

Where else are people meeting? Some have found love on non-dating apps like Duolingo, Strava, and Letterboxd. Offline, running clubs are the hot new place to find a meet-cute (exhibit A: this TiKTok feed), and come with the added benefit of at least getting your cardio up whether you land a date or not.—TS