As a businessperson who manages for-profit companies, I spend much of my time evaluating the merits of future projects based on their capacity to generate return on investment.
A year ago I was invited — unrelated to my day job — to give a Jewish TED-style talk analyzing a company with which I have no professional relationship. It is a company that has generated tremendous return on investment, but I have always been more interested in an unintended consequence of that success. That company is JDate, and the unintended consequence included me meeting my future wife.
We all know that hundreds of millions of philanthropic dollars have been thrown at the problem of the Jewish community’s declining numbers. But looking back at the past decade, which endeavor has had the most significant, positive impact on the problem of helping Jews meet other Jews so that they marry and have children? Hillel? Birthright?
No and no.
JDate continues to have, by far, the best results when it comes to the dilemma of Jewish continuity. And the remarkable thing is that the company made money in the process. JDate boasts 750,000 active users per year around the world. Almost a third of them — a quarter of a million Jewish singles — pay about $30 a month for the premium service.