2009 fbFund Winner Frintro Brings Facebook Connect to Online Dating

Today Inside Facebook is launching an interview series with several of this year’s 2009 fbFund winners. Participating in the fbFund REV program this year will be 18 startups and 2 nonprofit organizations that are leveraging Facebook’s platform in fresh and innovative ways. This summer, winners will move into Facebook’s downtown Palo Alto offices to participate in the fbFund summer incubator program, where they will get the opportunity to work among each other under the mentorship of the Facebook Platform team and the fbFund Advisory Council. Once again, congratulations to all!

In today’s interview, CEO of Sofa Labs Brian Phillips shares the thinking behind Frintro, one of the first online dating sites to integrate Facebook Connect into the core user experience. Sofa Labs co-founders also include Katherine Woo and Skye Lee, both of whom are also former PayPal veterans. The team impressed me with their positive energy and passion for innovating in the online dating space.

Q&A with Brian Phillips: Part 1

“What’s totally fascinating about the second-degree social graph, which is where we’re focused, is it’s huge, and no one appreciates the size of it. For example, I have 175 friends right now who have been using Frintro … and with 175 friends, I have 60,000 friends of friends.”

Q&A with Brian Phillips: Part 2

“We’re all passionate about dating in general because we like to think, ‘Hey, what’s more important than helping friend’s find love?’ That’s  the mission we really get behind.”

“We have 500 active alpha testers … but we have very ambitious goals. In year 1, we’d love to see that grow from 500 people to 500,000 people. Once we get engagement and interactions right, we can really grow this business because we think we’re providing a really valuable service. We’d love to see some hypergrowth.”

Q&A with Brian Phillips: Part 3

“Frintro has facilitated several dates, and there’s a few budding relationships, which we’re really excited about. One of our key metrics over time will be number of marriages … At some point, I’d love to report back and tell you about our first Frintro marriage because I’m pretty confident it will happen.”

“We think there’s tons of opportunities in dating to innovate on … For example, I get asked a ton about mobile, and I do think mobile and dating is an interesting space, especially with Facebook mobile Connect becoming available, iPhone 3.0, and background applications, there’s tons of interesting stuff you can do there, so that’s not on short-term roadmap, but we certainly can’t ignore it long-term.”

A shot of Frintro’s user interface:

We’re excited to see how Frintro changes the online dating landscape. Stay tuned throughout the week for more featured 2009 fbFund REV winners.

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