Sam Yagan is the Chief Executive Officer of Match Group, a division of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI) and co-founder of OkCupid. In this role, Sam oversees the management of IAC’s global online dating portfolio that comprises over 45 brands around the world, including leading properties like Match.com, OkCupid, OurTime, Meetic, Twoo, Tinder, and ParPerfeito.
Sam has been a leader in the dating industry since he co-founded OkCupid in 2003 and grew it into one of the most popular dating sites in America, amassing nearly four million active users. OkCupid has earned widespread media acclaim and has been described as “the Google of online dating” and where “dating meets Facebook.” In 2011, Match, Inc. acquired OkCupid for $90 million.
Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes (founded in 1999), still the dominant brand of study guides and eDonkey (founded in 2002), once the largest P2P file-sharing network in the world. He sold SparkNotes to Barnes & Noble, Inc., where he served as Vice-President and Publisher and oversaw the expansion of the previously all-digital brand into an expansive multi-platform media business.
Outside of work, Sam’s primary passion is working with early-stage entrepreneurs. In 2009, he co-founded Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first Chief Executive Officer. As a board member of TechStars Chicago, he helps to guide its growth and continues to work closely with its portfolio companies. Sam is also an active angel investor and sits on the board of several start-ups, including ShiftGig, SpotHero, Brilliant Scholars, LiveMinutes, StatHat, BabbaCo, and OVM. He also advises several venture capital funds, including Hyde Park Venture Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and the FireStarter Fund, which he co-founded.
Sam has been named to Fortune Magazine's "40 under 40," TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Crain’s “40 Under 40” in Chicago, Billboard Magazine’s “Top 30 Executives Under 30” in the entertainment industry, Crain’s “Tech 25,” and Silicon Alley Insider’s SAI 100 and received IMSA’s “Distinguished Leadership Award” and the DCIA’s “Pioneer’s Award.” He has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and has spoken at the CATO Institute, Digital Hollywood, IRCE, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous other industry events.
Sam has a BA with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned distinction as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the award granted to each class’s valedictorian.