STARTUP-REVIEW -- Dec 10 -- eHarmony was launched Aug' 2000 with $3M funding and grew to $100M+ revenue and established a new category. Sequoia and TCV invested $110M in November 2004 and it was rumored ~$80M was used to buy out founders shares. eHarmony made its mark in the online dating landscape by establishing its brand as the site for the serious relationship seeker, particularly women. eHarmony weeds the non-serious. On traditional dating sites, over 80% of e-mails go unanswered. eHarmony was the first site to moderate the flow of introductions and was able to charge more and monetize women more effectively. eHarmony got its first growth spurt by being featured on Christian radio program, Focus on the Family. In 2001 eHarmony struggled to acquire users but in 2002 the service produced marriages which generated PR. The positive PR fueled eHarmony's ability to graduate into radio and TV advertising, the key to its success in taking revenues to the next level. One of the themes that I see recurring in the Startup Review case studies is the importance of mainstream, offline PR to scaling an Internet business. The real people that wanted to tell their stories on TV, radio, and print made for a great human interest story. Companies that have a consumer service that naturally lend themselves to a good story are likely to see the greatest success.
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