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eHarmony CEO meets controversial success

  • Story Highlights
  • Waldorf started a software consulting company before he began high school
  • eHarmony was sued in California for excluding gays
  • Founder was evangelical Christian tied to conservative Christian movement
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By Maggie Lake
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(CNN) -- Greg Waldorf never imagined he would be running an Internet dating service. As a young boy it was technology that fascinated him. So much so that Waldorf started a software consulting company before he even began high school. He clearly had drive and a head for business, but matchmaking? It is not as far off as it may sound.

eHarmony uses advanced technology to create personality profiles to match prospective couples, and it was that element that convinced Waldorf to become an early investor.

"My background is in technology and I came to eHarmony loving the research and scientific part of it, but once you start realizing what we are doing for our subscribers and you start seeing all the successes, the families that have been created... I really don't think there is another job I can imagine doing other than being CEO of eHarmony."

eHarmony says its goal is not just to find users dates -- It wants them to get married. In fact, the company claims that 236 people a day in the U.S. are married as a result of meeting through their site.

Their success has not come without controversy. The company was sued in California for excluding gays. Others have complained they have been turned down without explanation.

When I asked Waldorf about this, he said that in the future the company may look into providing different services, including same-sex, but that at the moment their research was designed specifically for heterosexual couples looking for marriage.

I also asked about religion. eHarmony's founder, Neil Clark Warren, was an evangelical Christian with strong ties to the conservative Christian movement in the United States. Waldorf said the company had no connection to any religion and was open to people of all faiths who were looking for a happy long-term relationship.

One of the perils of being CEO of a matchmaking service is that people tend to think you are an expert on the subject. He joked about people asking him to comment on celebrity couples during interviews and getting tapped for dating advice at dinner parties.

But all kidding aside, Waldorf is acutely aware of how sensitive the business can be. "This is a service that people come to with incredible expectations, that presents a challenge for us, because they want to meet their soul mate."

Though he is passionate about eHarmony's ability to help people find love, Waldorf met his wife the old-fashioned way -- through friends!

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