PlentyofFish founder Markus Frind and BBC business reporter Kim Gittleson in Vancouver, June 18, 2015.
“By the time they showed up I had millions in the bank account!”
PlentyofFish founder and CEO Markus Frind was at the Traction Conference in Vancouver yesterday and the details of his improbable story of bootstrapping one of the world’s most popular dating sites elicited roars of approval from a boisterous crowd of growth hackers, data nerds, and UX geeks.
The above answer was in response to a question from BBC business reporter Kim Gittleson as to why he decided not to accept outside funding after it became apparent that he was on to something.
Frind, who is 36 and still owns 100% of PlentyofFish, sounded simultaneously bewildered and amused by his own anecdote. The same expression appeared again when Frind told Gittleson that he didn’t hire his first employee until he had ten-million dollars in revenue.
Dubbed “The man ‘behind a million babies” by Gittleson in a BBC profile from last year, Frind detailed how the site grew into a global brand despite his original intent, which was to improve his resume in hopes of getting a job after graduating from the B.C. Institute of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems Technology.
Before Frind’s meteoric rise he was just another tech guy.
Frind graduated from BCIT in 1999, earning a diploma in Computer Systems Technology. For several years after, he worked for various tech concerns in Vancouver.
In 2003, Frind’s fortunes began to turn after he learned ASP.NET. To learn by doing, he built a dating website that ultimately became iconic. The website, which distinguished itself by being free grew in Canada and then in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.
Frind famously bragged about the size of one of his Google Adsense cheques, which became much, much, larger than the first one, which was for $1,100 (US).
By 2004, PlentyofFish became a full-time thing for Frind. Shockingly, he ran the site by himself until 2007, when he began hiring other employees at his new Vancouver headquarters.
PlentyofFish now boasts more than 100-million users and is rumoured to have more than $100-million in annual revenue.
You can listen to the full interview Plentyoffish founder Markus Frind talks to BBC business reporter Kim Gittleson