Meet the Silicon Valley matchmaker helping top tech executives find love

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent

Dating in any dense metropolitan area can seem like a herculean challenge, but try doing it in tech-savvy Silicon Valley, where scoring a date may be relatively easy, but cementing a relationship can be more difficult than raising another round of venture capital.

That’s where Linx Dating founder Amy Andersen comes in. While smartphone dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and The League have taken off since the iPhone launched in 2007, Andersen has established a successful business that seems downright counterintuitive, shirking complex algorithms for old-fashioned matchmaking. Over the past 14 years, the former Merill Lynch financial adviser has successfully paired hundreds of couples who work at high-flying tech companies including Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Amazon, (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Netflix (NFLX), Square (SQ) and recognizable venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, to name just a few.

Price of following your heart

Silicon Valley matchmaker Amy Andersen Source: Linx Dating

As Andersen sees it, Silicon Valley has its own unique pitfalls when it comes to finding a match. Many of these companies, whether they’re small startups or large, publicly-traded corporations, almost condition their employees to believe the mind can solve all complex problems, she contends.

“They are constantly using their IQ — naturally, as they should be — but, when it comes to matters of the heart, and where I fit into the picture for my clients, it becomes very challenging because falling in love and finding chemistry is about that emotional quotient, the EQ, and letting go, feeling, and really kind of feeling emotions,” Andersen adds. “It’s about people and connections and not necessarily a set of objective characteristics, tangibles or data that so many of these Silicon Valley types are used to.”

Andersen’s services aren’t for cash-strapped singles. The Menlo Park, California-based matchmaker has well over 50 premium clients who pay at least $35,000, and a “handful” of VIP clients, some of whom pony up as much as $500,000 for a series of hand-picked dates and coaching services. (Yes, really.) That’s in addition to the more than 500-plus, many of whom pay if they’re successfully matched up, as well as the 25,000-plus additional people in Andersen’s database.

One of her more recent successful VIP matches: a member of one of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates with an Ivy League-educated entrepreneur. The couple, who married after only a few dates, welcomed their first child last year.

Real-life interaction

This April, Andersen hosted a Linx dating event in downtown San Francisco with 50 or so clients and single friends.

Text-savvy millennials love emojis and have their noses in a smartphone, but finding a match involves establishing connections IRL, or “in real life.” Which is why Andersen throws the occasional cocktail mixer, like the one held in mid-April at Marianne’s, a lounge in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. The downtown haunt is a perennial favorite for tech companies with its antique couches, vinyl records and oddball knick-knacks that evince the vibe of a mid-20th century underground jazz lounge.

On this particular Thursday evening, Andersen gathered roughly 50 clients and single friends seeking that elusive connection. Many of the people in attendance were tech types or city socialites who have already tried their hand with the plethora of dating apps and websites out there — they just hadn’t found much success on them.

“My brother met his wife on OKCupid, but I’ve never had any luck on that site,” Ambar Pansari, a senior product manager for Uber, told Yahoo Finance at the event. “You send a lot of messages, and you don’t get any responses. With the apps, you match with people but the quality isn’t there. There are a lot of things you have to work through before you get to the point where you meet the quality person.”

Michelle Pender, a luxury real estate agent with the Paragon Real Estate Group who also attended the mixer, expressed similar sentiments.  

“I’m looking for someone comfortable in their own skin, who has similar goals that I have and similar interests, and just chemistry,” Pender explained. “There has to be chemistry, which you can’t find on any kind of app.”

Ian Mausner, a money manager who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City, shared similar experiences, having spent several years trying apps like Tinder but not having much luck, not because of the app itself, but because of how people these days behave in the virtual ether. Nowadays, many smartphone-toting singles suffer from a fickle shopping mentality — a downright Seinfeldian-level of nitpickiness. They think that, now more than ever, they can always find someone better, hotter, smarter and funnier just a few swipes away or geo-located just a few bikes away at SoulCycle.

“There’s just so many people, you can just swipe and see and date. You could date two or three times a night for the rest of the millennium. I think people have met great people, but they just don’t realize it. They’re always looking,” Mausner contended. “Half the people who are here are looking to see who’s coming in, and they’re not focusing on who they’re actually talking to. It took me a long time to learn that. I had to really learn myself and figure out what do I want. And then try to find it. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m having fun along the way.”

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

More from JP

  • Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy
    News
    AFP News

    Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

    Sears, the venerable chain that once dominated the American retail sector but had been in decline since the advent of the Amazon era, filed for bankruptcy Monday and announced it was closing almost 150 stores. With a history that stretches back to 1886, the company was a pioneer of departmental stores

  • Year after IS lost Syria's Raqa, holdout hospital awaits recovery
    News
    AFP News

    Year after IS lost Syria's Raqa, holdout hospital awaits recovery

    Shattered ultrasound machines and prosthetic limbs litter the hallways of Raqa's main hospital, still gutted a year after the Islamic State group made its infamous last stand in its Syrian heartland. On October 17 last year, US-backed forces overran the city's final two jihadist holdouts --

  • 'Give Me My Phone Back, Senator:' GOP's David Perdue Snatches Device From Student
    News
    HuffPost

    'Give Me My Phone Back, Senator:' GOP's David Perdue Snatches Device From Student

    Georgia Sen. David Perdue (R) reportedly grabbed a cell phone from a

  • S Korean president to lobby for Kim Jong Un on Europe tour
    News
    AFP News

    S Korean president to lobby for Kim Jong Un on Europe tour

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that world powers needed to reassure North Korea's Kim Jong Un that he had taken the right decision to commit to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. Moon, who has met Kim Jong Un three times this year, was set to convey the message to French President

  • Trevor Noah Points Out The Similarities Between Trump And Cancer
    News
    HuffPost

    Trevor Noah Points Out The Similarities Between Trump And Cancer

    Trevor Noah compared President Donald Trump to cancer during a special

  • Jordan and Syria reopen Nassib border crossing
    News
    Reuters

    Jordan and Syria reopen Nassib border crossing

    The border crossing between Jordan and Syria officially opened to civilians and trade on Monday after being closed for three years. The Nassib crossing opened an 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), a border official at the Jaber checkpoint on the Jordanian side told a Reuters reporter. Jordanian state news agency Petra

  • Aussie same-sex penguin 'couple' tickled pink by foster egg
    News
    AFP News

    Aussie same-sex penguin 'couple' tickled pink by foster egg

    Two male penguins who have paired up as a "same-sex couple" have become so good at nesting that zookeepers in Sydney have given them a real egg to look after. Sea Life Sydney said they had been watching "inseparable" gentoo penguins Sphen and Magic become a "great team"

  • Chinese live-streamer held for 'insulting' national anthem
    News
    AFP News

    Chinese live-streamer held for 'insulting' national anthem

    A popular Chinese live-streamer has been sentenced to five days detention for "insulting" China's national anthem by waving her arms and mimicking a conductor as she sung the song during a broadcast to millions of her followers. The woman, Yang Kaili, was detained by authorities in Shanghai

  • Lewinsky affair not an abuse of power, says Hillary Clinton
    News
    AFP News

    Lewinsky affair not an abuse of power, says Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton has said her husband Bill's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power and he was right to not resign from the US presidency in the wake of the scandal. Some, like New York Senator Kristin Gillibrand, have said that Clinton should have stepped

  • Kit Siang: Nik Aziz, peers would not have approved of Hadi Awang’s PAS
    News
    Malay Mail

    Kit Siang: Nik Aziz, peers would not have approved of Hadi Awang’s PAS

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — Former PAS leaders would not have approved of the direction that the party is taking under the leadership of Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang claimed today. He said...

  • Asian stocks extend slide on plethora of risks
    News
    AFP News

    Asian stocks extend slide on plethora of risks

    Asian stocks started the week on the back foot Monday, with investors still in a gloomy mood after several days of market turbulence sparked by trade rows and a spat over the US central bank. In Asia, Japanese equities led the way lower, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 shedding almost two percent, in

  • Uber And Lyft Plan To Offer Free And Discounted Rides On Election Day
    News
    HuffPost

    Uber And Lyft Plan To Offer Free And Discounted Rides On Election Day

    With less than a month until the 2018 midterms, ridesharing companies Uber and

  • British, EU ministers say still time for Brexit deal
    News
    AFP News

    British, EU ministers say still time for Brexit deal

    British and European foreign ministers insisted Monday there is still time to negotiate an orderly Brexit deal, even after the disappointing failure of the latest round of talks. Meeting in Luxembourg, the bloc's top diplomats accepted that no agreement will be struck this week at an EU leaders&

  • North and South Korea agree railway ceremony next month
    News
    AFP News

    North and South Korea agree railway ceremony next month

    The two Koreas will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconnection of their railways and roads as early as next month, they agreed Monday, as Seoul pursues an approach to the nuclear-armed North increasingly diverging from the US. "The South and North agreed to hold the groundbreaking ceremony

  • Japan unveils sales tax hike
    News
    AFP News

    Japan unveils sales tax hike

    Japan on Monday announced a much anticipated sales tax hike in 2019 to address the nation's huge public debt, despite warnings it could hobble growth in the world's third-biggest economy. The point-of-sale tax will rise from eight percent to 10 percent from October next year as ageing and heavily

  • North, South Korea agree to reconnect roads, rail amid U.S. concern over easing sanctions
    News
    Reuters

    North, South Korea agree to reconnect roads, rail amid U.S. concern over easing sanctions

    North and South Korea agreed on Monday to begin reconnecting rail and road links, another step in an improving relationship that has raised U.S. concern about the possible undermining of its bid to press the North to give up its nuclear programme. The agreement on transport links came during talks in

  • Embassy blasts Swedish government in latest defence of Chinese tourists
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Embassy blasts Swedish government in latest defence of Chinese tourists

    The Chinese embassy in Stockholm has made its first direct criticism of Swedish state policy in an escalation of its complaints about Sweden’s response to a recent incident involving Chinese tourists. In a statement on Sunday the embassy denounced the Swedish Chancellor of Justice for defending a satirical

  • Will Anwar’s PD win affect PKR poll?
    News
    Malay Mail

    Will Anwar’s PD win affect PKR poll?

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s overwhelming victory in the Port Dickson by-election is more than just a ringing endorsement from voters that he is the next in line to become...

  • Foreign workers are not stealing your jobs or suppressing wages, says report
    News
    Malay Mail

    Foreign workers are not stealing your jobs or suppressing wages, says report

    KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― Migrant workers tend to enter low-skilled jobs while Malaysians generally go into skilled and semi-skilled ones, a Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) report said. The research...

  • Britain asks experts to advise on net zero emissions climate target
    News
    Reuters

    Britain asks experts to advise on net zero emissions climate target

    Britain has asked its climate change experts to advise on whether it should set a date to meet a net zero emissions target, the government said on Monday. Britain has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050, but campaigners have warned this does not

  • Alec Baldwin: 'We Need To Overthrow The Government'
    News
    HuffPost

    Alec Baldwin: 'We Need To Overthrow The Government'

    Fresh from his stint playing President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live,"

  • Saudi Arabia vows retaliation if punished over missing critic
    News
    AFP News

    Saudi Arabia vows retaliation if punished over missing critic

    Saudi Arabia warned it would retaliate against any sanctions imposed on the oil-rich kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as more Western companies distanced themselves from the Gulf State. US President Donald Trump has threatened the kingdom with "severe punishment"

  • ‘Special privileges’ row sparked after senior Hong Kong official passes West Kowloon immigration with no ID
    News
    South China Morning Post

    ‘Special privileges’ row sparked after senior Hong Kong official passes West Kowloon immigration with no ID

    A senior Hong Kong official has been accused of unjustly exercising “special privileges” by passing through the immigration checkpoint at West Kowloon station without travel documents. Roy Tang Yun-kwong, permanent secretary at the city’s Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, bypassed the normal

  • Korean Air chief indicted for embezzlement
    News
    AFP News

    Korean Air chief indicted for embezzlement

    The head of South Korean flag carrier Korean Air -- whose family have been embroiled in multiple scandals including one involving macadamia nuts -- was indicted Monday on charges of embezzling tens of millions of dollars and other offences. Prosecutors charged Cho Yang-ho with embezzling more than 20

  • Contractor told to submit full report, Penang mayor says after beams fall on highway
    News
    Malay Mail

    Contractor told to submit full report, Penang mayor says after beams fall on highway

    GEORGE TOWN, Oct 15 — The contractor of the elevated road project linking Jalan Bukit Kukus to Jalan Tun Sardon here has been ordered to prepare a full report on the mishap where 11 concrete beams...