OPW INTERVIEW - June 24 - We spoke to Markus Frind, founder and CEO of POF, about mobile, Tinder, and POF plans for Google Glass...
How are the events working out for you?
They've been working out great for the past 10 years now. We host 400-500 events a month with 28-30k showing up.
How is your offering different from Match?
All of our events are user driven. Users create the events, they promote them on the site and then people show up. Match.com plans the events and charges people to attend.
Isn't that a little more risky though?
I would say theirs is more risky. It's much easier to hold free events. From a business point of view, our users are advertising the site for free for us.
You had a $10M fund for acquisitions. What's the ideal profile of a company that you're looking for?
It was more like $30M that we wanted to invest. We're looking for a company that has ~1M in revenues, and can massively grow if we send them our traffic.
Online dating is skewing more towards mobile, do you think?
The web is going the way of the dinosaur.
Looking at what Match/IAC has done with Tinder, do you think that this was done with POF in mind? POF is a direct threat for Match.com. So their ultimate response would be to back a free app that focuses on mobile. How much of a threat is Tinder?
I don't think they have that much foresight. Although Tinder is growing in leaps and bounds, it's not like it's affecting traffic of existing dating sites. It is just bringing more people to the category.
Do you think they will launch a site? It seems like a fishing mechanism, but where's the website? They aren't sending traffic to Match yet.
95% of our users under the age of 35 are using a mobile phone. So who cares about a website?
How about the high end matchmaking? Aren't you leaving money on the table?
We will see what happens with eHarmony. Everything is just moving mobile and getting more casual, not serious.
Last year, 70% of your traffic was on mobile, what's it stand at at this stage?
85%. It still grows a percent a week.
I hear Zoosk is making close to half their revenues on mobile now. How's that compare with POF in terms of revenues.
We haven't done a lot of revenue driven features on the apps yet, so we are nowhere near where they are. I think they are at 41% from their filings. We focus mostly on getting users and retaining them.
Was developing an app for iOS less challenging than for Android?
iOS is far more challenging for us. There's just more things that can go wrong.
If you were going to give some advice to a startup. Which would you advise them to start with?
We make equivalent amounts of money from users. It doesn't matter if they are Android or iPhone. As far as I know, that applies to all of the major players.
Doesn't iOS make more money though? Are behaviors a little different?
Android makes a little more money because you don't have to pay Google 30% that you have to pay to Apple.
Do you have plans for a Google Glass app?
We have no plans for an app yet. Facial recognition is banned. So until there's a wide install base, we're not going to play with it.
What's your thoughts on wearable computing in general? Do you think wearables improve the idating experience in the next 5-10 years?
The technology is still 3-4 years from being the next big thing.