INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - Aug 14 - When Match bought POF for $575M in July, smaller dating sites felt encouraged. Mark Brooks, an Internet dating business consultant who has worked with POF, says the news prompted one start-up to approach him with a business plan. "They told me they'd like to get purchased by Match in six to nine months," Brooks says of the would-be clients. He had to set them straight, explaining that the POF acquisition was many years in the making. POF had impressive back-end features and 100M users. Bill Pescatello, a partner at Lightbank, a VC firm in Chicago, feels very optimistic about online romance. "It's crazy looking back to see how Tinder and other mobile apps have changed the game," he says. Tinderites may be anywhere from age 18 to 35, the younger set being those not yet interested in marriage prospects and likely to stay with the service for a longer time, notes Brooks. Another popular apps are Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge. Dawoon Kang, CMB co-founder, says she believes her site will grow to rival Match. That kind of confidence made it easy for her to turn down Mark Cuban’s offer to buy the company for $30M.