On Tuesday, dating website PlentyOfFish got acquired by Match Group, an IAC/InterActive subsidiary that recentlyannounced plans for an IPOlater this year. PlentyOfFish sold to Match Group for $US575 million in cash.
36-year-old Markus Frind is the founder and CEO of Vancouver-based PlentyOfFish.
In 2003, “I started PlentyOfFish as a way to improve my resume,” Frind tells Business Insider.
“At the time there was a new programming language called ASP.NET, and I don’t like reading books, so I just went and created the site in two weeks and then people then people started signing up, much to my surprise. And it blew up from there. It wasn’t like I had a plan to create a dating site. It was just a side project I created that got really big.”
Before founding PlentyOfFish, Frind had been a developer. Frind has retained complete ownership of the company, which has 75 employees. PlentyOfFish’s deal with Match will close by the end of the year.
Frind built PlentyOfFish without a cent of venture capital funding. “By the time I found out what VCs were, I was already making millions in profit and I didn’t see the need to raise money because I wouldn’t know what to do with it,” he told Business Insider. “It was a profitable company and there was no need to raise money.”
Frind says PlentyOfFish, which has 90 million registered users and 3.6 million active daily users, was “immediately profitable.”
In 2008, Frind told The New York Times that his website’s net profits were about $US10 million a year, and he only worked about 10 hours a week. Now, he says, he works a bit more than that. “It’s funny. Once you start adding people to the company, the amount of time you have to work goes up,” he told Business Insider. “We have a staff of 75 now. I’ve been working normal hours the past few months.”
Match Group CEO Sam Yagan said in a statement he’d had his eye on PlentyOfFish for over ten years. “As more people than ever use more dating apps than ever with more frequency than ever, PlentyOfFish’s addition both brings new members into our family of products and deepens the lifetime relationship we have with our users across our portfolio,” he said.
So how does it feel to finally have the deal close, knowing you’re walking away with millions of dollars for your project? “I don’t know,” Frind told Business Insider. “It’s still pretty fresh here. It’s just very surreal.”