OkCupid Co-Founder: Mentorship Can Bubble-Proof Startups

OkCupid Co-Founder: Mentorship Can Bubble-Proof Startups
Image credit: Sam Yagan

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This story originally appeared on CNBC

Startups that worry just about money without the right mentors are primed to repeat the mistakes of the dot-com bubble, entrepreneur Sam Yagan, vice-chairman of Match Group, told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" Monday.

"For early stage [startups], there's still a ton of capital available," Yagan said. "But the advice I always give early-stage entrepreneurs is, 'It's not just about the capital. You need the minds around the table. You need the expertise, the mentorship, the people who have been there and done that and can help your company be more successful.'"

Mentors can help startups deploy capital more efficiently, avoiding the problems that plagued founders in 1999, said Chicago-based Yagan, co-founder of OkCupid and before that, SparkNotes.

Yagan said he's always interested in finding the next way that technology can disrupt an existing category. For instance, while he's never used Match product Tinder himself, it's moved beyond hook-ups to become a "transformative" technology, Yagan said.

"In India, Tinder has really started to get people thinking about dating, and online dating, in a way that they've never done before," Yagan said.

Yagan sees Chicago as the next big market for entrepreneurs after New York and Silicon Valley.

Shares of Match Group are down more than 16 percent so far this year. But with billions of single people all over the world, and just a tiny fraction of them using technology to find companionship, there's a long runway for growth ahead for the online dating category, Yagan said.

"The search for companionship is probably the most important search of your life," Yagan said.

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