After working for a number of tech startups, Markus Frind decided to launch his own company in 2003. Frind settled on the online dating market and bootstrapped his company from his apartment, where he received the company's first Google AdSense paycheck–for a whopping $1,100.
By 2007, the company was reportedly worth close to $1 billion, and at that point, Frind started hiring people to help him. For the first four years, however, he did most of the work himself and generated a great deal of revenue through a freemium website that was funded by advertisers.
Frind didn't stop there. Over the years, Plenty of Fish followed the build–measure–learn model we discussed above. It eventually gave up funding by an ad–based, freemium model. By offering paid subscriptions, the startup hoped to better engage users.
Frind also made a timely decision after studying consumer use and the market. He integrated his product onto mobile platforms, which he claims is responsible for a large increase in both user and revenue growth. Between 2013 and early 2015, Plenty of Fish experienced doubled revenues. By early 2015, it had 100 million users and expected annual revenue of $100 million.
Frind once stated that he didn't know anything about SEO, community, venture capital, or advertising when he began his startup experiment. What he did know is how to learn: he stated that, "I spent every waking minute when I wasn't at my day job reading, studying, and learning."
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