NEWSWEEK - Aug 31 - In 1993 Gary Kremen founded Electric Classifieds, to bring classifieds to the net, raised $200k and launched Match.com in April '95. Today Match has 1.7 million paid subscribers, with sites in 30 countries and 8 languages. 1 in 5 relationships and 1 in 6 marriages are between people who met through a dating site. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 74% of the 10 million Web users who are single and looking for a partner have turned to the Internet to find someone. 850 services make up the multi-billion-dollar dating industry. Match consistently comes in among the top five based on traffic.
Kremen received $1.5 million in venture capital. In '97 Match’s investors sold the startup for $8 million to Cendant who sold the company to IAC/InterActiveCorp the next year for $50 million. Kremen got $50k from company stock. A combination of joint ventures and innovation helped Match to flourish. In 2001, the service partnered with AOL and MSN. Today, smart phones are Match’s fastest-growing channel, according to Match CEO Greg Blatt. “We’re trying to be wherever our users are,” whether in the waiting room at a doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store, he says. The company now lives up to its name, using complex formulas to recommend users to each other.
“People have become more willing to open their wallets to find love,” says Mark Brooks, editor of OnlinePersonalsWatch.com, a consulting firm for the online dating industry. That’s partially because Match’s fees ($35/mo) are relatively modest, and it also helps, Brooks says, that the site has really “stocked its shelves” and continues to do so, with more than 20,000 singles registering on Match every day. In 2001, a judge awarded Kremen $65 million in a dispute over the domain name sex.com. Kremen also married the woman of his dreams. FULL ARTICLE @ NEWSWEEK