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The Short Version: Whether they’re creating the latest edition of an already-cool product or coming up with the next big thing in tech, singles in Silicon Valley can lead fast-paced lives — which means dating often gets put on the backburner. Since 2003, Linx Dating and its Founder Amy Andersen have been addressing the needs of these busy, relationship-minded professionals with a curated, personalized, and intuition-based matchmaking system.
From Google to Apple to Lyft to Github, Silicon Valley is known for its juggernaut tech companies and innovative start-ups, so much so that there’s even a popular TV show named after it. Silicon Valley is also known for the passionate, hardworking, creative, and dedicated people who work at these businesses — all of which lends well to a successful career but not necessarily a successful dating life.
“A lot of these people are so focused with their careers that one day they wake up and think ‘Oh my gosh, I need to find my match. How do I go about doing that?'” said local matchmaker Amy Andersen. Linx Dating is how they go about doing that.
Founded by Amy in 2003, Linx, for short, is a curated matchmaking service for those busy, high-profile single professionals in Silicon Valley and the surrounding Bay Area (as well as all over the world) who haven’t been able to find the relationship they want. Today, the company is known as “Silicon Valley’s Matchmaker” and Amy its “Cupid.”
Amy recently told us about the “aha moment” that started it all, her client-to-client vetting process, the algorithm-less, intuition-based matchmaking, and the personal relationships she builds with the people she helps.
The inspiration for Linx came in 2000 while Amy was working in private client services at a tech company in San Francisco but living in Silicon Valley. Whether it was at work, through friends, or just out and about, Amy frequently met men and women who were educated, successful, attractive, and well-rounded, but they were single and didn’t know why.
Knowing both areas very well, Amy pinpointed the problem: there were more available men in Silicon Valley than San Fran and more available women in San Fran than Silicon Valley. With their family, friends, and careers being in their respective cities, making the 50-minute car trip to meet someone special wasn’t at the forefront of their minds, Amy explained.
“That was my ‘aha moment’ where I thought ‘What if I were to bridge this gap and create these opportunities for these great women in San Francisco and these great men in Silicon Valley?'” she said.
Amy then spent the next 3 years doing as much research as she could, using her business-oriented mind to get a better idea of the market and demand for this type of matchmaking business. In 2003, once she had all her ducks in a row, she quit her job at Merrill Lynch, launched the company, and never looked back.
“Starting Linx has been one of the best decisions of my life,” she said. “Facilitating these introductions and serving as a conduit between these two demographics has proven to work really well over the last 12+ years that I’ve been doing this.”
Amy takes a very hands-on approach with her clients from beginning to end, getting to know each person individually, utilizing their specific wants and needs during the matchmaking, and offering her expert advice all along the way.
At Linx, it all starts with the quality of the clients. While other matchmaking firms might accept anyone who applies, Linx has an extensive referral-based vetting system that makes their clientele stand out from the rest. Every aspiring member must be recommended by a former or current member, a friend or contact of Amy’s, or the like.
Amy receives dozens of referrals every day and screens each candidate herself. And whether they’re 22 or 72, Asian or Latino, attorneys or artists, Amy is looking for people who are intelligent, healthy, relationship-minded, accomplished, ambitious, and leading interesting lives overall.
“As long as somebody is passionate about their career, that’s what I’m looking for. Beyond that, I’m looking for people who are well-rounded. Whether it’s volunteering or cooking or whatever it is, I just want to see that they have a colorful, interesting life,” she said. “If someone says to me ‘All I do is work’, I’m probably not going to want to work with them. Not only do they not have balance in their lives, but to me that’s also indicative that they don’t have time for a relationship.”
After the initial screening, Amy sets up a one-on-one meet-and-greet, which she said is the most important part of becoming a client. This is where Amy gets to know the person, hear their personal story, and find out what they’re looking for in a partner (and what they’re not looking for).
Most importantly, Amy is determining if her company is the right fit for both parties. Whether someone isn’t 100% over their ex or are in a difficult phase of their life, her instinct can tell if the timing is off.
“The meet-and-greet is an important session for myself but more so for that prospect to get a good read of what Linx is all about,” she said. “People derive the answers that they’re looking for from the meet-and-greet, and that’s really important because anybody who goes down that road to become a client, I want to make sure they feel ready to embrace this process.”
If the meet-and-greet goes well, they’ll come back for a follow-up interview with Amy before choosing the membership that’s best for them and getting started on the matchmaking. And while it seems like a lengthy process, Amy said it’s necessary because she wants every member to be happy with Linx and vice versa.
Besides screening every candidate, Amy is also the only person at Linx who does the matchmaking, outsourcing her concierge services to specialists like professional wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, and psychologists.
“This is a very small, boutique, niche matchmaking company compared to a lot of firms that have huge staffs and branches all around the world and so forth, so Linx is ultra personalized in that respect,” she said.
Her unique matchmaking system combines the granular metrics of what the person wants in a date (their preferred height, age, income, etc. as well as their deal-breakers) and Amy’s natural talent and intuition for knowing when two people belong together.
“These days, in terms of when I put together a match, about 75% if it is generated by gut, that instinct that says ‘Oh my goodness, I think I might be on to something here,'” Amy said.
Based on those factors, Amy will then take over, scouring her database of eligible singles until she finds the perfect match for each client.
Once Amy has her ideal pairing, she’ll email both people a “baby bio” of each other, giving them a snapshot of the other’s personality, hobbies, appearance, and getting them excited about how great they’d be together.
“I want my clients on the edge of their seats, jaws to the ground, like ‘OMG this person sounds phenomenal,'” she said.
They’ll then get to ask Amy questions about their match and take the time they need to decide for themselves if they think it’s right. During this time, Amy also makes sure the clients don’t know each other, whether through work or social circles or even previous online dating adventures, so everyone has a clean slate.
“I find there can be cross-pollination with my clients where they’ve somehow have met. I want to avoid a situation where they’ve already met or they’ve glanced at each other’s online profiles and there was a reason they chose to forego that opportunity,” she said.
The time from Amy’s initial email to the pair agreeing to meet usually takes 72 hours, and at that point Amy will send them a one-page, custom bio with even more juicy details, including their first names. Amy said she excludes last names until the first date so they can avoid Googling each other, getting into their own heads, and ruining the magic.
And with Amy being old-school, she requires the man to call the woman (no texting or emailing!) within 5 days to set up a nice date where he treats her.
When Amy makes a match, she doesn’t just send them off on the first date with a “Good luck!” She offers pre-date coaching that puts her clients at ease and teaches them how to slow their fast-paced lives down (at least for one night) She said this is especially important in Silicon Valley, where everybody is working 24/7 and always have a million thoughts running through their minds.
“I want you to forget about everything around you, all of the distractions in life,” Amy said. “I need you to thoughtfully prepare for the date because these matches really count. A lot is riding on them emotionally and financially, so I want people to pay attention to those important details and remember how important those first impressions are.”
“Amy has exceeded every expectation and I would highly recommend Linx. I have since met a great guy who I would not have met otherwise. We are taking things slow and seeing what the future holds.” — A Linx Member
And because every member signs a two-year contract (which can be frozen at any time if they meet someone special), Amy becomes just as invested as they are in this journey and is able to build a relationship beyond a professional one. She even receives wedding invitations and photos of babies who have been born from past members.
“That’s largely why I do this — it’s very rewarding,” she said. “Far beyond my job of being a matchmaker, I’m a liaison, confidant, friend, and adviser.”
Thanks to Amy’s commitment, ingenuity, and love for her clients, Linx is taking care of an under-served singles market in the dating industry, and she’s only just scratched the surface on what she can bring to the Silicon Valley area and the world. We’re definitely looking forward to what comes next.
“I’ve worked really hard to build a great reputation in this area, but I feel like I have so much more unearthing to do to obtain even more diverse and interesting clients who I can help,” she said.