Brandon Wade is the founder of SeekingArrangement.com, a dating website for successful men and women who want to meet them. Prior to founding SeekingArrangement, he worked for Microsoft, GE Power Systems, and Booz Allen Hamilton. He is a graduate of MIT, where he earned both his bachelors and his MBA.
Sramana: Brandon, let’s start at the beginning of your personal journey. What is the backstory to SeekingArrangement?
Brandon Wade: I was born and raised in Singapore. I moved to the States when I was 18 to attend college at MIT. I graduated with my bachelors in 1993 and my MBA in 1995. After I graduated I went to work for some Fortune 500s. I moved to New York City to work for Booz Allen Hamilton. After that I joined General Electric and was a manager in GE Power Systems.
After working for them, I decided to move back to Boston. I started a dot-com company and was successful in raising $10 million in venture funding in 1999. That was not successful. Most of those companies had business models that was based entirely on advertising revenue, and my business was no different. When the dot-com boom ended, it was worthless to advertise on the Internet. We still had half of the money left in the bank, so we decided to give that back to the investors.
I then joined another startup in the mobile space. I was there as the VP of sales before I joined Microsoft. After a short time there I decided to go out and do my own thing. In 2006 I started some dating websites, and SeekingArrangement is one of those sites.
Sramana: What made you enter the online dating space?
Brandon Wade: I got into that business because I was looking at society needs. I found that dating was difficult for me. I was a nerd growing up, and I never had a girlfriend until I was at MIT. I was akward around women, and when I joined dating websites I really did not have a way to compete. That is when SeekingArrangement was born.
Sramana: What did you decide to do differently from all the other websites?
Brandon Wade: Most dating websites have more men than women. People are very superficial when it comes to dating online. Men look at photos, and if they see someone attractive then they write them a note. Everything is based on shallow, superficial qualities. That is how we judge on a first impression perspective. When I was using a normal dating website, I was competing against guys with six-pack abs and large biceps. I could not compete against that.
I looked at my sister on Match.com, and within a day of signing up she was getting hundreds of emails from men. That is when I realized there was a very real imbalance. There is a demand for attractive people, and when an attractive person signs up, he or she is going to get hit with hundreds of emails. I realized that people like me need to compete in a different way.
One of the things my mother told me when I was growing up was that I should focus on my schooling. She told me that once I was successful and I had the means to be generous, I could turn the dating game around. I decided to build a website that is focused primarily on men who are successful and the women who want to meet successful men. The website was different in one important aspect: we were able to attract 10 women for every successful man who signs up.