Meet the Woman Who Gets Paid Up to $100,000 Helping the Silicon Valley Elite Find Love

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They run the largest global companies, produce the most advanced technology and they change the world we live in every day, but the one thing that the tech elite in Silicon Valley aren’t good at … is dating.

Luckily for them, Amy Andersen is there to show them the classic art of old-world dating. While living in Palo Alto, Amy founded Linx Dating in 2003 after realizing a “unique niche and a great opportunity to be had.”

“I was flabbergasted by the surplus of men who were eligible in Silicon Valley and a dearth of eligible women. I was socializing and meeting countless successful, highly educated and professional men, the majority of whom were single and searching for ‘the one.’ ”

Amy told us simply, “I was born to be an entrepreneur.” Linx links successful men and women within its network through hosted meet and greet events; Amy also provides one-on-one coaching, lifestyle makeovers, and gives each client — some of whom are quite needy — an almost extreme level of personal service. Some events are catered for specific clients desperate to find “the one” — when two clients within the Linx network meet and sparks fly, Amy has done her job.

Amy came from a background in developing high-net-worth clients for Merrill Lynch, but her skill set wasn’t just limited to businessmen. According to Amy, there were “lots of attractive and brainy women frustrated by the shortage of commitment-minded men around them.” Now she pairs high-powered men and women together for a rather high-powered price — up to $100,000 for some cases — but as we found out, that’s a rather small price to pay for finding true love.

When we say true love, we don’t mean big paychecks, private jets and designer everything. The most successful relationships are fixed on compatibility between two people — sure it can be an expensive event to find and bring together a wide array of compatible, successful, established and available men and women, but to find the love of your life and actually make it to the altar, which several of Amy’s clients do, it’s virtually priceless (even when you are a millionaire).

“To fall in love is to be in a place to receive love … Finding someone that loves you and loving that person back is one of the greatest gifts that you can give and receive.”

We had the chance to get to know Amy through email where we discussed the greatest challenges to being an entrepreneur of true love, Silicon Valley’s notoriously sexist culture, and what successful men and women really want in a partner.

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Like most entrepreneurs in business for themselves (and by themselves) Amy’s greatest challenge to running her client-intensive business was bringing someone else on board that wasn’t her.

“One of the most valuable lessons I have gained was hiring my first full-time employee in early 2014. Being able to delegate important tasks and give up some of the ‘control’ has been a huge learning curve and a very smart business decision.”

Linx Dating was started in 2003 — that’s over a decade of being a one-woman team, but it’s not an unfamiliar obstacle for many entrepreneurs today. It goes to show that sometimes “letting go” can be one of your best business decisions. Amy’s advice?

“Hire someone smarter than you and someone who will happily take some of the work load off.”

We also asked Amy about the sexist culture that Silicon Valley has become notorious for — techies and investors who’ve made more money for themselves than their egos can handle and exercise their entitlement through sexist, inappropriate advances and sexual harassment on what we imagine to be annoyed and disgusted women in the same industries.

“These females have had to keep their cool, while being strong, fearless, and not afraid to vocalize themselves that indeed they are a founder, a CEO, a maverick of sorts in that space and to focus on the task at hand, rather than get lost in the ‘politics’ of what could be deemed as sexist commentary or, frankly, ignorance. As Ghandi said, Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. And the will is will to create change and not allow others’ ignorance to set you back.”

While she fortunately has not had the pleasure to see the uglier side of the Valley’s sexist culture, especially in an industry where she deals with a lot of wealthy single men, Amy is still no stranger to presumptuous clients.

“Sometimes men on the receiving end of the phone in the preliminary stage of being a prospect have sometimes thought this is a ‘hobby’ and they don’t realize they’re dealing with a shark in business.”

However, her policy on dealing with the sexist culture is quite simple — ostracize it. Amy explained to us that, “if I spoke to someone who was interested in membership and I learned quickly that he/she was sexist, racist, or exhibited whatever form of intolerance,” she drops them right then and there.

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Perhaps the most valued part of Amy’s services is her dating advice. We asked her about the most common dating tips she finds herself telling her male clients.

“Stop playing games. There are so many guys that obsess about calling on the right day, playing hard to get, not returning calls, and the list goes on. If you are into someone, communicate that. If they aren’t into you, move on.”

If most men were honest with themselves, they would admit that this is definitely one of the greatest stabs of insecurity when it comes to courting women. Almost unsurprisingly, in Amy’s experience, even the most wealthy men are often the ones who are more scared and uncertain about women — it’s all just a matter of confidence.

“My advice is to be yourself and take ownership in how you feel. Although men are often even more scared of rejection than women are, you got to jump all in … or else … you might never know!”

For the women that Amy helps, things are a bit more straight forward; they seem to know exactly what they want in a man and Amy is all too happy to oblige them — it’s all just a matter of quality.

“Height is always a standard determining factor of ‘what is attractive’ to a female. Besides this, we hear a lot about him possessing ‘family values,’ ‘having integrity,’ ‘being responsible,’ ‘hard working,’ and ‘wants a family one day.’ ”

Understanding Amy’s industry really shows that no matter how much money a person makes, the tension, difficulties and desires are really the same for everyone.

With her company blooming, Amy’s ambition means she has no plans to stop anytime soon.

“I am always thinking about growth. At this stage in the game, I’m having so much fun getting my roots deeper and deeper into the Silicon Valley soil that I am very focused on doing the best job I can do in the San Francisco Bay Area for now.”

When it comes to love, Linx Dating has proved that even more “traditional” services can still find prominence in today’s ever-changing market. Throughout her journey as the matchmaker of Silicon Valley, only one thing has really surprised Amy.

“I think what has surprised me most about this business is in the modern era of apps, technology, and everyone moving at such a fast pace, so many people actually turn to something that is offline and much more traditional sans technology when it comes to the most intimate matters of the heart and finding true love.”

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You can read our full interview with Amy Andersen below:

What is your personal definition of love or a successful relationship in today’s society?

“To fall in love is to be in a place to receive love. In order to do that you must be willing to break up your current dating inertia and patterns that have often held you back. Once you are ready to find the love of your life, love is compromise. It means letting go. Love is trust. Love is vulnerability. It is openness. Love is tenderness. It is saying goodbye to your ‘laundry list’ of ideal mate characteristics yet holding onto your values and a few more meaningful attributes that are essential in a mate selection. Love is far from superficial. It requires depth, intimacy and time. Finding someone that loves you and loving that person back is one of the greatest gifts that you can give and receive.”

In growing Linx Dating, what has been the hardest lesson for you to learn?

“I have been running my business since December 2003, and since that day I quit my job at Merrill Lynch to announce I was starting Linx, I have truthfully never stopped working at full throttle, full steam ahead. I have always been a ‘hard worker,’ but running your own company is a serious commitment. Getting into the right college or figuring out ways to pay rent on a shoe-string budget as a young 20-something was a cakewalk compared to running a business. There are always challenges and lessons to learn from: from the administrative (i.e., the constant flood of emails in my inbox and clients always wanting to talk to me, ‘the boss,’ versus an assistant), keeping clients happy through good matchmaking, client retention, a constant pressure of growing the business (as one successfully matched client exits the network, I must look to bring a new client into the network. The sales aspect of this business is very tough work), business development (so many experts, other matchmaking firms, etc., all want to do business with Linx. It is a dance figuring out which other brand makes sense), marketing (the current state of the Linx brand took years of hard work to create, maintain, hone and secure its position as a market leader in this niche space. I am constantly thinking about the branding, positioning and marketing of Linx.). As these tasks plague my mind daily, the lesson I learned well over a decade in running Linx is sometimes it is OK to let go. One of the most valuable lessons I have gained was hiring my first full-time employee in early 2014. Being able to delegate important tasks and give up some of the ‘control’ has been a huge learning curve and a very smart business decision. Hire someone smarter than you and someone who will happily take some of the work load off. Now, instead of crazy long days, I can maintain a much better work-life balance.”

Many wealthy men in the tech industry have been accused of being sexist or are guilty of sexual harassment when it comes to working with female entrepreneurs or women in tech in general. In your experience, have you seen this?

“The tech industry is largely dominated by men and I think women have had to work very hard to penetrate that industry in general, but I have not personally witnessed this. I have heard stories of females founders in technology who most men assume are in more traditionally female stereotypical positions i.e., marketing roles at a tech company. These females have had to keep their cool while being strong, fearless and not afraid to vocalize themselves that indeed they are a founder, a CEO, a maverick of sorts in that space, and to focus on the task at hand, rather than get lost in the ‘politics’ of what could be deemed as sexist commentary or, frankly, ignorance. As Ghandi said, Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.And the will is will to create change and not allow others’ ignorance to set you back.”

What do you think is the cause of this kind of behavior (i.e., culture, values)? And do you take any specific measures to educate your male clients to possibly change this culture?

“Every one of us can be guilty of ignorance at times and passing human judgment. I am no expert on this, but certainly culture can play a huge role as can the way someone was raised. I do not take a role in educating my clients about their viewpoints and ideologies of men or women in the workplace. That being said, if I spoke to someone who was interested in membership and I learned quickly that he/she was sexist, racist or exhibited whatever form of intolerance, I would choose not to work with that person.“

In your line of work, have you ever experienced discrimination or sexism because of your gender? How did you handle it?

“Sometimes men on the receiving end of the phone in the preliminary stage of being a prospect have sometimes thought this is a ‘hobby’ and they don’t realize they’re dealing with a shark in business. So those types of people are probably just not a good culture fit from the start as they don’t recognize the value of this service or the determination of the people behind it. Other than that, no, I have not faced discrimination or sexism because of my gender. If I did, I would not tolerate it. “

Can you tell us about the most intensive work you’ve ever had to do with a client?

“San Francisco Magazine did a great story as they chronicled the details of the work that went into a client and his quest to find the perfect match. ‘For those who need it, there’s also date coaching, mock dating, a dermatologist referral, and a fashion and home-decor makeover (in the case of her male clients, Andersen has been known to personally throw out grungy toothbrushes and moldy bath mats)…… Andersen spends her days listening to male and female clients check off their lists of ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’: no shorter than 6 feet, no smaller than a C cup, no professors or accountants, no kids, no salary under $500K a year.’ ”

What is the most common piece of dating advice that you find yourself telling your male clients?

“Stop playing games. There are so many guys that obsess about calling on the right day, playing hard to get, not returning calls, and the list goes on. If you are into someone, communicate that. If they aren’t into you, move on. My advice is to be yourself and take ownership in how you feel. Although men are often even more scared of rejection than women are, you got to jump all in … or else … you might never know!”

Can you tell us some of the most popular attributes that your female clients are looking for in men?

“Height is always a standard determining factor of ‘what is attractive’ to a female. Besides this, we hear a lot about him possessing ‘family values,’ ‘having integrity,’ ‘being responsible,’ ‘hard working,’ and ‘wants a family one day.’ ”

Do you have any exciting plans for Linx Dating or maybe any future projects you’d like to start?

“I am always thinking about growth. At this stage in the game, I’m having so much fun getting my roots deeper and deeper into the Silicon Valley soil that I am very focused on doing the best job I can do in the San Francisco Bay Area for now. That’s not to say that I don’t entertain cool projects and ideas all the time. I think what has surprised me most about this business is in the modern era of apps, technology, and everyone moving at such a fast pace, so many people actually turn to something that is offline and much more traditional sans technology when it comes to the most intimate matters of the heart and finding true love. So with that, my day continues making one match at time and helping singles get closer to finding the love of their lives.”

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