Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Matchmaker, Matchmaker: May 11, 2011

As with many trends, this week’s is another example of “everything old is new (or hot) again.” According to research from IBISWorld (as reported in Inc. Magazine), the online dating and matchmaking business grew 2.3 percent from 2008 to 2011. And even stronger annual growth-2.8 percent-is projected through 2016.

As Gen Y comes of age, there’s going to be even more demand for online dating services. IBISWorld reports there are currently more than 14,000 online dating services in the country. By 2016 that number is expected to increase to 15,621.

It doesn’t cost a ton to start an online dating service, though Inc. says startup costs are creeping up. IBISWorld says the average online dating service can expect to make annual profits of 19.5 percent.

Almost everyone knows someone who met their spouse online-so if any social stigma existed, it’s long gone. In fact, according to Inc., the industry estimates that nearly one-third of all newlyweds today first met online.

The key to success in this business, I believe, is in the niches. It’s too late to start a general online dating service, since sites like have this business covered. Instead, think about ways you can narrow your focus-whether by hobbies, religious or political affiliations, college alma maters or other special interests.

Personally, I’ve always thought it would be great to have a dating service exclusively for entrepreneurs. If you decided to start one, let me know.