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The Dating Game

Start your own matchmaking service.

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

There must be a better way of meeting people than hanging out in a bar, thought Jose de Lasa, now 32, while attending Tulane Law School in New Orleans and doing just that. The idea stayed in the back of his mind even after becoming a lawyer in 1996. So much so that he quit his $86,000-a-year job after a few months to start Group Encounters, a social organization, using the $10,000 his father had given him to pay off school loans.

While de Lasa went to Barnes and Noble to research how to write a business plan, Graham McAden, 28, a public relations account executive for consumer products such as Burger King, languished at his job and told friends about the "socializing service" he dreamed of opening. Then one day a friend told him someone had already done his idea.

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