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Interested parties then contact Social Circles to sign up.The New York City company gears all activities toward beginners and keeps the groups small, gender-balanced and segregated from outsiders.
The dating services industry is a 0 million market and growing, according to market research and consulting firm Marketdata Enterprises Inc.
With 75 million singles in the United States whose time-pressed lives make them prime candidates for matchmaking services, you can see the big business potential.
Well-run operations in major cities can take in 0,000 to million per year."The matchmaking industry is hot for two reasons," says Trish Mc Dermott, an industry veteran and director of communications at Match.com, an online personals service owned by Ticket Master.
"From a sociological perspective, single people have a greater need today for some sort of formal intermediary in the dating process.
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 ,000-a-year job after a few months to start Group Encounters, a social organization, using the ,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 Mc Aden, 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.
Rather than giving up, Mc Aden called De Lasa to "brainstorm" about the industry.
A lunch powwow turned into a partnership, and by 1997, Mc Aden had matched de Lasa's initial investment and the twosome headed a revamped activities service dubbed Social Circles.
The service, which organizes outings such as rock climbing and swing dancing for singles, sends its members a monthly calendar detailing upcoming events.