Dating app founder fights back: We aren't elitist

the league dating app

The League is billed as an intelligent alternative to Tinder -- for those who are busy, ambitious, and super picky. But don't call it elitist.

Founder and CEO Amanda Bradford publicly blasted one undergraduate student for doing so.

A senior at Stanford saw an internship for the company on Facebook and commented that she was "ashamed" to see the company come out of Stanford. (Bradford got her MBA there.)

"Do you realize there are millions of people out there who are kinder, nicer, harder working, more devoted, passionate, and interesting people than those who you believe are 'qualified' for your service," the student wrote. "Is it possible to get more elitist than this?"

In a 1,124-word response, Bradford shot back that her app is 100% merit-based: Anyone can apply and join the app regardless of income, profession, background or education.

But there's a pretty big caveat. The company says it has an "advanced screening algorithm" to curate the community and filter out "flakes." It won't expand on what this means or how it plays out, but unlike Tinder, not just anyone can sign up. The app, which is in private beta in San Francisco and New York, requires users to join a waitlist before being admitted.

According to Bradford, the "common thread in the League community ... is the desire to be successful and having the ambition and work ethic to make an impact somewhere."

Related: 10 alternatives to Tinder

But Bradford didn't stop there.

"Is it possible that Stanford admissions have gone down?" Bradford wrote on Facebook, taking the student to task for a "jumbled and imprecise" argument.

The student (who uses a pseudonym on Facebook and preferred to remain anonymous) likely wasn't planning to apply to the internship.

But Bradford makes sure of it: "Thanks for responding to our community manager internship. Unfortunately, based on the intellectual rigor you demonstrated in your work above, you wouldn't meet our criteria, but please tell your friends we're hiring!"

The League seemed to be proud of Bradford's response, which it sent to users over the weekend. (The app has a "concierge," who answers questions and occasionally sends updates.)

"So, turns out our founder got into a pretty epic Facebook battle," wrote the concierge. "I personally think it is pretty funny and you guys might want to see ... enjoy us being us."

The tone of Bradford's response -- and the app's promotion of it -- made some users uneasy. One said she was considering leaving the service after seeing the exchange, calling it "unprofessional and petty."

But many praised Bradford: "Brilliant. Classic. Love it!!" commented one Facebook user.

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This isn't the first time that Bradford, who has raised $2.1 million for the startup and is currently fundraising, has lashed out about her app's "elitist" label.

"The media has slammed The League for our 'exclusive' model and labeled us an elitist app for trust fund kids and Ivy League grads," she wrote in October. "These stereotypes make my blood boil and couldn't be more wrong."

Bradford says she built the app for Alpha women like herself.

"I wanted to never EVER hear a woman be worried that her educational achievements or career ambition would be a turn-off," she wrote.

Bradford did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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