Markus Frind, CEO of the popular dating website PlentyofFish is now venturing offline, too. In his first major acquisition, he has purchased international speed dating service FastLife to continue to grow his business. He plans to invest more than 30 million over the next twelve months, so stay tuned for more developments. I got a chance to sit down with Frind, who is excited about the potential of his new venture.
What convinced you to invest in speed dating events?
We were attracted to FastLife’s strong revenue numbers.
Do you see them as complimentary to POF, or online dating in general?
Speed dating and singles’ events are very complimentary to PlentyOfFish. Some users want more face to face interactions, others prefer less. Bridging the online and offline worlds offers great variety for our users. Plus, PlentyOfFish users already host over 400 user generated events every month with over 40,000 singles in attendance each month. The acquisition made perfect sense for us.
Are there any changes you will make to the FastLife format?
We will be rapidly expanding FastLife events throughout the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. But we’ll wait before changing any of the current product offerings.
What will you put the $30 million investment towards?
We want to acquire more companies in the mobile dating space or companies that bridge the online and offline worlds similar to Fastlife. We’ve been looking for years to acquire competitors but there are very few companies in this space that are profitable and have the potential to grow.
Mobile dating apps have certainly changed the online dating landscape (and dating in general). How are you addressing this with POF? Are speed dating events still as effective considering the widespread use of apps like Tinder?
PlentyOfFish has more users than any other dating site in the world. We are already at 80% mobile when it comes to active daily users.
Tinder is one of many dating properties owned by IAC and they did a really good job incubating it within a larger organization. I think Tinder is making it even more mainstream for singles (particularly younger demographics) to try online dating and is effectively expanding the dating category. Young people tend to try casual sites like this first before migrating to sites more suited to dating like Match.com and Plentyoffish.com.
You mentioned that you think the online dating industry will end up in the hands of just a few players. Why do you think this is? Who do you think will survive?
FastLife is absolutely complimentary to our core business. This, along with FastLife’s revenue per user was what initially interested us in the business.