Interviews

Steve Urow: Founder of VeggieDate.com

VeggieDate.comWhat is VeggieDate.com?
Online veg*n dating and networking service, free membership.

When was it launched?
March 1999

Why did you decide to create an online vegetarian dating service?
It is very difficult for vegetarians to meet and for many vegetarians it is more than just a diet choice - it is a lifestyle. Therefore, we believe it is a significant criteria for searching for a mate; almost like religion is for some people. We also want to provide a way for eco-friendly folks to support each other and not get pulled away from their beliefs due to peer or societal pressure.

What challenges have you faced in running VeggieDate.com?
The main challenge has basically been convincing vegetarians to get on the internet! We are an internet only business. Many vegetarians are minimal consumers and are not into tech - for good reason for the most part (tv's, cars, other high tech gadgets). But, we believe the internet will soon become more important than the telephone. We feel as more eco-friendly people realize this our service will grow more rapidly (as of Oct, 2000 we have over 3800 visible ads but we know there are a lot more vegetarians out there!). People also have to get used to the idea of paying for services (vs products) on the internet.

How has your concept changed or grown since you initially launched the site?
We are constantly improving the site and think of it as a community resource. We are adding functionality every several weeks. (one example is the ability to hide the date joined -- those people who have been on a while might not want that fact known) We just added a listserver capacity so that folks can sign up to receive food alerts or special offers from "green" companies on a monthly basis.

Are you aware of any couples that have used your service and then gotten married?
We know of one marriage that occurred Oct 13th 2000. Not everyone communicates their successes to us but we do list a number of them on our site. http://www.veggiedate.com/success.htm

Do you have plans to expand your service in the future?
We will always be expanding our service (as stated above we just started a listserver). We want to help eco-friendly businesses succeed. We are open to working with any eco-friendly company or person. We will not compromise our values for $$. We plan to NEVER sell the service. Our main mission is to create a more compassionate world.

How important would you say it is to your vegan visitors that they find a vegan mate? Does it seem to be a key issue?
Since eating is a big part of life it sure makes things easier to be with another vegan!. Compromises must be made in life but one should be true to themself and compromise LAST on the things that are most important to them. Also, if you know someone is open-minded and wants to be a better person, undertand that they can grow - they may not be where you are at and they may never get there but nobody is perfect and we believe life is about growing and becoming a better person.

What advice do you have for single vegans on finding other vegans in their area to date?
We really do not offer advice - this may be an area we offer in the future but with limited resources we cannot do too much. We want to keep our prices nominal. I think it is important to see the direction a person is moving and it seems too limiting for most vegans to limit themselves only to other vegans, at least for now.