Introducing the Startup of the Day!
Interview with Markus Frind
Founder and sole-developer of Plentyoffish.com
Who are you?
I am Markus Frind, founder and CEO of Plentyoffish.com
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
I feel honored to be choosen, especially since we are based in Canada. Usually I see only a long list of US companies making waves and doing something different.
What did you do before creating your company? Team? Track record?
I was jumping from company to company back in 2001-2003. Each time i joined a new company it would last about 2 or 3 months. This was after 2001 when the tech scene in Vancouver quickly contracted and thouands lost their jobs. I built the company up out of my home and in July of this year I finally opened my first office and hired my first few employees.
How did you get the idea? What was the genesis?
I needed to learn ASP.net and I never learn anything reading books because I forgot stuff as soon as I flip the page. So for me to learn something I had to sit down and actually do it. Building an online dating website was the hardest thing I could think of making at the time, you had to save profiles, sort them etc etc. I also thought I could do a far better job than any of the other sites out there.
What is your market?
The english speaking world, we have a similar demographic to social networks. Our average user is about 39 - same as myspace.
Funding history? VCs? BA?
No funding, I ran out of my house up until a few months ago.
We have 1.8 billion pageviews and 70 million monthly visitors now, we are top in nearly every english speaking market. The next step is to go into other languages.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
4 customer service reps and me. I'm the only developer.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
Maybe in the coming months.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Visual Studio 2008, SQLServer and ASP.net 2.0. ASP.net is rock stable. I use 3 load balanced web servers serving 4 million pageviews an hour and the CPU never goes over 30%. The servers have 2 quad core CPU's and 8 gigs of ram. PHP and others can't handle that load because they aren't multithreaded (unless that has changed recently).
As for the database, online dating is extremely database intensive as you have to do a radius lookup. This prevents you from segmenting your database like most companies do. For example, I can't stick users A-C in one database and the rest in another. So I need to use bigger database servers with lots of ram and SQL Server performs extremely well at that task.
Do you have any IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
I'm in Canada, there are no software patents allowed here. We are the only major free site, the only website in the world I know of that got to 1 billion plus pageviews with only 1 employee.
Who’s your role model?
What I've done is unique - there is no one else to relate to. I just focus on beating myself and trying lots of new things.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
Advertising. Most companies are so clueless when it comes to online ads.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
We generate millions and millions in profits, there no need to raise money.
What about the Microsoft BizSpark Program? What do you think?
The BizSpark program gives you exposure to so many new products you'd be stupid not to try. Also its free software and dramatically reduces your costs. It is a great idea because if your company is really sucessful the cost of software a few years down the road is a non issue.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
How do you feel about the crisis ? what are YOU going to do ?
This is awesome, the Canadian dollar fell 20% giving me a huge bump in revenues. More and more people now want to use free dating sites further driving up my revenues.
Anything else you d like to say? (remember this is a global audience)
It doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing, if you put your mind to it you can do anything!