So, You Want to Marry a Tech Mogul?
Some of Silicon Valley's most eligible bachelors turn to elite matchmakers to find love and romance. These experts reveal top dating trends and tips for navigating the local singles' scene.
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"Our highly successful, 33-year-old, 5'10'' bachelor of South Asian (Indian) heritage is looking to make his most successful investment yet…with you."
This is just a peek into the Linx Dating database of more than a thousand Silicon Valley singles. It's up to Amy Andersen, CEO and founder of the Menlo Park-based matchmaking service, to help time-poor and cash-rich tech moguls, venture capitalists and angel investors in the Bay Area find their perfect match.
But Andersen's not the only one. Another top matchmaker, Jill Kelleher, started San Francisco-based Kelleher International in 1986. She expanded globally over the past two decades by capitalizing on a confidential, proprietary interview process that she says "screens out the gold-diggers."
More single women should quarry Silicon Valley for Mr. Right, says Kelleher, who runs the matchmaking service with her daughter, Amber. "It's a common misconception that these men are all nerdy, when in fact many of these bachelors don't need much coaching because they're already worldly and cultured."
Related: The 10 Most Eligible Bachelors of Silicon Valley
Kelleher says the real reasons these billionaire bachelors enlist her help is because many of them share these resonating qualities:
- They have demanding schedules and/or constantly travel.
- They tend to keep tight-knit social circles.
- They are often extremely picky.
Andersen, who founded Linx in 2003, agrees that these bachelors "want it all." She adds that they're "very accustomed to controlling things and getting what they want," and as a result, "want the entire package in their dates."
What holds back some of these bachelors – many of whom are highly educated and analytical – is that they apply the same skills that gave them career success to their romantic lives, she says. "That does not always work because we're dealing with matters of the heart."
In addition, Andersen says it's becoming harder to match the younger wave of entrepreneurs because their eyes are glued to their smartphone and they're easily distracted. "They are always in search of someone better in their dating life," she says. Andersen advises clients to "invest the time to see each date through, instead of looking over their match's shoulder for the bigger, better deal."
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Not everyone can join Andersen's matchmaking pool, though there's plenty of variety in its ranks. Just last month, Andersen and her employee Michael Norman interviewed a lineup of women at their Menlo Park, Calif., office who fit the Linx bill. According to Norman's notes, they included a "35-year-old chef and author with an Ivy League degree; a 27-year-old blonde who is an avid tennis player and an occasional marathon-runner; a petite 60-year-old with "very little baggage' and a 31-year-old scientist with green eyes."
But Andersen isn't just about checking the box for good looks and common interests. She says Linx Dating, which charges between $2,000 for basic memberships and up to $50,000 for VIP clients (a majority of whom are men), has thrived because of her expertise in branding and networking.
Linx hosts year-round Link & Drink networking events at local venues like the Stanford Golf Course Clubhouse and the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel. For premier members, the company provides customized cocktail parties right at the client's office – a posh service for busy execs who are chained to their desk. Furthermore, Andersen's team offers private date-coaching, image makeovers, wardrobe consulting, personal shopping, fitness training and online dating profile-writing.
Image credit: Linx Dating via Flickr
Andersen can even help VIP clients pop the question. One recent proposal involved transforming a room at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay into a lush garden, blanketed in rose petals. (At present, Linx has matched about 50 couples currently in exclusive relationships, and on average, is responsible for about 10 marriages per year.)
Meanwhile, Kelleher International, which brands itself as an executive search firm for singles, runs an invitation-only CEO Club. They organize elite outings for networking and charity, such as a $45,000 field trip to an exclusive yacht party that sets sail to Richard Branson's Necker Island.
But despite the comprehensive list of luxury services, Kelleher says her business still values the basic tenets of old-fashioned dating, where shared values and natural chemistry between two singles reign supreme.
Andersen agrees: "I don't run a Match.com, OK Cupid, or Tinder. I have built a network with access to the absolute finest caliber of singles around here and I carefully select each match, having interviewed everyone."
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