When programmer and entrepreneur Markus Frind started the dating website Plenty of Fish in 2003, he described it as a “side project” and a simple way to “improve my résumé.”
On Tuesday, Match Group, a subsidiary of IAC (the same company that owns Tinder and OkCupid), bought Frind’s 12-year-old “side project” for $575 million in cash — Frind was the sole owner of Plenty of Fish.
Frind, now 36, first started Plenty of Fish in Vancouver — he told Business Insider that it only took him two weeks to make the website:
“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. 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.”
Plenty of Fish was an online startup that never required venture capital. The website was able to generate a profit years shortly after it’s launch, which also means that Frind never had to split POF’s equity with anyone else and remained the sole founder. Frind explained:
“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. It was a profitable company, and there was no need to raise money.”
Plenty of Fish was “immediately profitabe,” Frind says. By 2008, five years after launching, Frind told the New York Times that POF’s yearly net profits were in the range of $10 million and he only worked about 10 hours a week at the time. Today, POF has 75 employees, but Frind’s responsibilities now require more than just a 10-hour work week:
“It’s funny, once you start adding people to the company, the amount of time you have to work goes up. We have a staff of 75 now. I’ve been working normal hours the past few months.”
Frind’s idea grew into what is now a successful dating site with 90 million registered users and 3.6 million active daily users.
When asked what it felt like to close a deal for the website for hundreds of millions, Frind modestly responded:
“I don’t know. It’s still pretty fresh here. It’s just very surreal.”
Frind just makes it look too easy.