Warren launched eHarmony on August 22, 2000. By December, 20,000 people had signed up. The future looked promising. But the dot-com boom had already begun to fizzle, and the company’s initial $2.5 million capital was running out. “Another round of financing brought in $625,000, but that’s all we could get,” Warren recalls.
By March 2001, they were down to $300,000, barely enough to cover payroll expenses. Warren was ready to give people back their money and go out of business. Then he and his co-founder, son-in-law Greg Forgatch, discovered and corrected a glitch in their model that had prevented many users from getting more matches. The business started to grow again, and by July 2001, they were back in the black — where they’ve remained ever since. Today there are 18 million registered users, and the site is responsible for over 100,000 marriages.
Now 73, Warren is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the business, but he is still very much involved in the overall strategy and vision for the company. He spends his time with wife Marylyn (they’ve been married for 48 years), enjoying their new home in Kennebunkport, Maine, their daughters (all happily married) and grandchildren — and thinking up new ideas for the privately held business.
Looking back, Warren is astonished at how eHarmony has grown and evolved in just seven years. Although he has always urged people to dream big dreams, he says, “I didn’t come close to dreaming a dream this big. I mean, 18 million people on a site. The financial reward. The fact that eHarmony has become a household word. Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live have spoofed eHarmony.”
So what is Warren’s big dream? “I’ve often said that my dream is to get the divorce rate down to single digits. If we could ever do that, it would be the greatest single social revolution in the history of the human race.”