You might think Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurs and executives at companies like Google would use online dating to find a partner. But instead, many of them turn to professional matchmaking services to find love.
“They weren’t the popular kids at school,” said Charlee Brotherton, the founder and CEO of Executive Matchmakers, a matchmaking consultancy based in Redwood City, in northern California, that helps men working in business and tech companies meet women.
“They weren’t the jocks at college and they weren’t picking up girls all the time,” Brotherton ;said, referring to her clients. “So romance is a new experience for a lot of them.”
Brotherton, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, has launched 23 separate matchmaking agencies since leaving her job as an accountant in 1999. She started Executive Matchmakers with dating consultant Megan Buquen, who is now the company’s Vice President, in May 2016.
So far, the four-month-old company has helped executives at companies such as Google and Facebook — and even former politicians — find a partner.
For a fee of $20,000 (£15,300), Brotherton and Buquen arrange 24 first dates for each client over a two-year period. “It doesn’t take them that long usually, though,” Brotherton said. “They have normally found someone they like after a few dates.”
To find a suitable match for its clients, Executive Matchmakers draws from a large database of single women registered with other matchmaking services, as well as from its own database of eligible women.
Brotherton also recruits Personal Scouts, who help to build the firm’s database of single women through partnerships with other matchmaking networks.
The company boasts that around 90% of its clients end up in happy, long-term relationships. To maintain this high standard, Brotherton and Buquen meet their clients in person to make sure that they are serious about finding a partner and open to the firm’s coaching sessions before taking them on. “We try not to work with clients who we can’t do the job for,” Brotherton said.
“We work with with the most interesting people,” Buquen said. The firm’s clients are a mix of executives, entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals from a range of industries and social backgrounds. “We’re diving into the most intimate parts of their life and… helping them on a level that changes their lives.”
To find a match for a client, Brotherton and Buquen like to know what his lifestyle is like and what he’s looking for in a partner.
The matchmakers said that executives in Silicon Valley are turning to introduction agencies over online dating because of a lack of confidence.
“They understand business and they understand technology. They have become rock stars overnight,” Brotherton said. “But now they’re open to finding love which is a new world to them a lot of the time.” She added that their lack of experience with dating means that some of her clients are very shy around women.
“They can assume things about their date or talk about the wrong things,” Buquen said. The matchmakers advise their clients to avoid talking about previous relationships and politics on a first date, and help them choose a venue to set the right tone.
Brotherton said that their main job is to “help them build their self-esteem. We help them arrange the date, talk to them beforehand and right after. We’re like their cheerleaders.”
Though many of Executive Matchmakers’ tech clients are the new “rock stars,” Buquen said they “don’t just want arm candy.”
“They want to meet their equal. They don’t necessarily want someone who works in tech, but an understanding of it is a plus because it’s something they’re passionate about.”
The matchmakers said that many of their successful clients are looking for an intellectual partner, and some have asked for specific university qualifications, but the most important thing to them is shared values.
“We mostly match them on their lifestyle compatibility and their interests,” Brotherton said. “They want someone they can connect with intellectually, spiritually, and on all levels.”