From Side Project to $575M – An Incredible Bootstrap Story

Have you ever heard of Markus Frind? If not, let me introduce you to one of the most remarkable bootstrap stories in the world of online dating. In 2003, Frind created a dating site as a side project, and by 2015, he sold it for a whopping $575 million. The most incredible part? He never raised a single cent and kept all the money himself. Let’s dive into the story of Plenty Of Fish and discover how this simple website became a massive success.

The Beginning of Plenty Of Fish

Markus Frind, the founder of Plenty Of Fish (POF), was working at a Vancouver-based tech firm in 2003. Worried about losing his job, he decided to master ASP. net, Microsoft’s new website building tool, by building a complex website in just a few weeks. That’s when he stumbled upon the idea for a dating site. Frustrated with the available online dating platforms like, he wanted to create a better, more user-friendly site.

Building the Platform

In just a few weeks, working only a few hours a night, Frind built the basic dating site and named it Plenty of Fish. The platform was incredibly simple, featuring just a plain-text list of personals. However, it had one significant advantage over its competitors: it was completely free. While many other free dating startups struggled to compete with paid platforms, Frind’s approach was radical. Instead of competing with, he created a low-cost site for users who weren’t ready to pay.

Rapid Growth

POF quickly gained traction, boasting 20 million visits per month, 150 million registered users, and adding 65,000 new users every day. By 2008, the platform had grown to 15 million users, generating $10 million in revenue, and Frind had still not hired any employees. In fact, he was working only an average of 10 hours per week on the site. By 2014, POF was making $100 million every year.

The Sale

In 2015, Markus Frind sold Plenty Of Fish to The Match Group for $575 million. The most impressive part of this story is that he never raised a single cent in funding, meaning he kept all the money from the sale himself. This incredible bootstrap story demonstrates the power of a simple idea, persistence, and the willingness to challenge industry norms.

Markus Frind’s journey with Plenty Of Fish serves as an inspiration for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. The success of this simple, user-friendly, and free dating platform shows that you don’t need massive funding or a complex business model to make it big. Sometimes, all it takes is determination, a great idea, and the courage to challenge the status quo.

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