Sam Yagan

3 minute read

On Nov. 19, Match Group, the company that owns popular dating services such as Tinder, OkCupid and, was expected to start trading in an initial public offering that would value it at more than $3 billion. Which makes this a big moment for Sam Yagan, the CEO of Match Group, a division of Barry Diller’s media conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp. Dating apps, especially Tinder, have become an increasingly popular way for people to pair up. Now Yagan needs to make them a winner on Wall Street.


In 1999, Yagan co-founded, which published the popular online study guide SparkNotes and was sold to Barnes & Noble in 2001. He co-founded OkCupid in 2003, and it has since become one of the most popular dating websites. IAC’s acquired OkCupid for $50 million in cash in 2011. Yagan is also known for grooming early-stage entrepreneurs. In 2009 he co-founded the startup accelerator Excelerate Labs, which is now known as TechStars Chicago.


Dating apps haven’t seen much success in public markets so far. Zoosk, an online matchmaker that competes with services like Tinder and, withdrew its plans for an IPO in May 2015. Match Group’s brands also face competition from later entrants such as Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel and Hitch as well as established services like eHarmony.


Tinder, which was founded by Sean Rad and Justin Mateen and falls under Yagan’s portfolio, is among the most popular dating apps. It was the most downloaded mobile dating app in North America during the three-month period that ended on June 30, the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Cybersecurity is a crucial priority for any online company, but especially for dating apps since they host so much personal data. Match Group said in its IPO filing that it regularly experiences cyberattacks. When extramarital-dating site Ashley Madison was hacked earlier this year, email addresses and other account details for millions of its members were put at risk. Some members even had their information exposed online.


Match Group offers a mix of both paid and free services in various categories. Tinder, for example, is targeted more toward millennials and is made to be used on the go, while is more popular among those ages 30 to 49. This diversity gives the company a strong edge against the competition. Since Tinder is designed for smartphones and tablets, it also gives Match Group a solid mobile presence. Last year, comScore reported that smartphone and tablet usage accounted for 60% of digital-media time spent in the U.S.


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