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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Plenty of Fish: Another Startup Financing Milestone

Plenty of Fish is one of the most prominent online dating websites in the world. Match Group, a US-based online dating behemoth took it over in 2015. As of March 2020, Plenty of Fish features over 150 million subscribers across the world and the company adds above 60,000 subscribers daily.

About Plenty of Fish 

Markus Frind set up Plenty of Fish in 2003 and in 2004, switched the company into a whole-time business. Frind carried out the commercial activities of his business from his flat till the time he bought a new workplace in 2008 in Vancouver, Canada.

The Plenty of Fish App is accessible in eleven separate languages and the app is available on both iOS and Android platforms. It has 100 employees now.

Plenty of Fish is a Canada-based popular online dating website, mostly functional in Canada with a presence in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, the United States, and Brazil. 

The headquarters of Plenty of Fish is located in Vancouver, Canada. The company earns revenue via publicity and premium subscriptions. Though it is a complimentary or free-to-use app, there are premium services available that come against a fee. This is an advanced subscription facility from the company similar to somebody liking a subscriber via the MeetMe characteristic of the company and enabling subscribers to find out if a communication has been gone through and/or purged.   

On July 14, 2015, Match Group (the proprietor of OkCupid, Match.com, and Tinder) acquired Plenty of Fish against a valuation of $575 million. Match Group is based in Dallas, Texas. However, the head office is still there in Vancouver but of late, certain expansions have taken place.

In 2019, Plenty of Fish disclosed a yearly revenue of $2.05 billion. 

More than four million people rely on Plenty of Fish (POF) daily to assist them in getting in touch with somebody special.

How Markus Frind made it possible

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Plenty of Fish, Markus Frind completed his graduation from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1999. He did a diploma course in Computer Systems and Technology and launched Plenty of Fish. In 2004, the company turned into a whole-time business venture for Frind. He operated the website of the company self-reliantly till 2008. Since that time, he started recruiting other staff for the head office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The next year, POF introduced a competition with Lady Gaga, enabling individual subscribers to assemble and contact the famous artist at the time The Fame Ball Tour was taking place. 

In 2010, the official Plenty of Fish website had its mention in many music videos and some of them are mentioned below:

  • “Touch” by Natasha Bedingfield 
  • “Telephone” by Lady Gaga 
  • “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha 
  • “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo
  • “Available” by Akon and Flo Rida  
  • “Double Vision” by 3OH!3 

The next year, the POF site was cited in the music video “Hold It Against Me” by pop artist Britney Spears. Several of these citations are essentially unrevealed paid embedded marketing and have accidentally brought about extremely pessimistic reviews.

POF created mobile applications for Android and iPhone in 2010. After one or two years, the app became available for both the Windows phone and iPad. During a discussion held in June 2014, Markus Frind credited approximately 85% of the entire POF traffic to smartphone applications and the figure was counting every week.

In a talk show in August 2012, Frind claimed that founded on the millions of affairs and weddings POF has generated throughout the previous many years, it is projected that more than one million infants have taken birth because of the POF site.

Important Stats

The important stats and figures related to Plenty of Fish are as follows:

  • March 2015 – Registered subscribers: 100,000,000 
  • May 2011 – #1 Dating site ranking in the United Kingdom (According to Comscore)
  • August 2011 – #1 Global dating site ranking (Hitwise)
  • August 2012 – #1 site in the United States in terms of market share, holding 18.57% (Hitwise) of the market 
  • April 2012 – Two billion page views in a month

In the middle of the prevailing Covid_19 pandemic scenario, Plenty of Fish informed a hike of 0.7% in the number of active subscribers every month in the last quarter of 2020.

How Markus Frind financed his startup, Plenty of Fish 

On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, Match Group acquired Plenty of Fish, the popular Canada-based dating site. Match Group is a subsidiary of InterActive/IAC. Of late, Match Group had declared schemes for an IPO (initial public offering) by the end of that year. The valuation at which the acquisition took place was $575 million and it was entirely a cash deal.

At that time, Markus, the founder and CEO of Plenty of Fish was just 36 years old. In 2003, in an interview given to the Business Insider, he stated that he began his venture named Plenty of Fish as a means to better his bio-data.     

During that time, a novel programming language called ASP.net came into existence and Frind was not an avid book reader. Therefore, he just moved ahead and generated the website in only 14 days. Subsequently, people began subscribing, much to Frind’s astonishment. It expanded from that point. This was not something that Frind was intending to do as far as creating a dating website was concerned. This was only a lateral venture that Frind undertook that turned unbelievably huge. 

Ahead of setting up Plenty of Fish, Markus worked as a software developer. As of 2015, he had kept absolute control over his company and recruited 75 staff at that time. The acquisition deal with Match Group was complete by the close of that year.  

Frind bootstrapped POF without even a single cent of angel investment. According to a statement given to the Business Insider, by the period he understood what venture capital was, Frind was already earning millions of dollars. So, he did not have the requirement to go for seed financing since he did not realize what purpose it would serve him. From the very beginning, Plenty of Fish was a profit-making venture and he did not feel the urgency to raise additional funds. So, it was instantly money-spinning with ninety million registered subscribers together with 3.6 million active subscribers every day.

In an interview to The New York Times in 2008, Frind stated that the net profit of his dating site was around $10 million annually and he just had to work for around 10 hours weekly. Currently, Frind states that he has to work somewhat extra. The Chief Executive Officer of Match Group, Sam Sagan, stated that he has been keeping an eye on POF for more than a decade. As the workforce of POF went up, Frind had been working for usual work hours. Since the number of people using the dating app of POF is going up, the inclusion of POF into Match Group strengthens the lifelong association they enjoy with their clientele throughout the world, Sagan states.  

So, when Business Insider asked how it felt for Markus Frind to walk away with $575 million for his much-loved venture, Frind stated that it was quite weird for him.

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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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