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This man built a startup with zero funding and kept everything when it sold for $575 million

His dating site, Plenty of Fish, has been picked up by Match for a very tidy sum.

Plenty of Fish CEO Markus Frind
Plenty of Fish CEO Markus Frind
Image: YouTube

YESTERDAY DATING WEBSITE Plenty of Fish was acquired by Match Group, a subsidiary of the Tinder parent IAC that recently announced plans for an IPO.

Plenty of Fish sold to Match Group for $575 million (€522 million) in cash and Markus Frind, 36, is the founder and CEO of the Vancouver-based company.

Frind said in 2003 he started the business “as a way to improve my resume”.

“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 started signing up, much to my surprise,” he said.

“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.”

No funding, complete control

Before founding Plenty of Fish, Frind had been a developer and he retained complete ownership of the company without a cent of venture capital funding. Plenty of Fish’s deal with Match will close by the end of the year.

“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 said.

It was a profitable company and there was no need to raise money.”

Frind says Plenty of Fish, 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 $10 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 said.

We have a staff of 75 now. I’ve been working normal hours the past few months.”

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A decade coming

Match Group CEO Sam Yagan said in a statement he’d had his eye on Plenty of Fish for over ten years.

“As more people than ever use more dating apps than ever with more frequency than ever, Plenty of Fish’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.

Sam Yagan Match Group CEO Sam Yagan Source: YouTube

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 said. “It’s still pretty fresh here. It’s just very surreal.”

READ: Here’s what is being done to lure ‘the next Facebook’ to Ireland >

READ: A billion-dollar travel giant has paid a cool €55 million for one Dublin tech firm >

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Business Insider
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