Q&A With Meet Market Adventures Founder Travis Hartley

Travis Hartley founded Meet Market Adventures (MMA) in Toronto in June 2000. In 2007, he sold 10 franchises. Hartley now runs the Toronto and New York City offices.  

What gave you the idea for this business?
I had several friends in their 20’s and 30’s who didn’t want a dating service, but they did want to meet other singles. As we got older, people coupled up and we didn’t have anyone to do stuff with.

Did you meet your wife through MMA?
No. I was the entertainment director on a cruise ship and she was a passenger.

How’d you come up with the name “Meet Market Adventures”?
I invited friends over after I’d brainstormed a lot of names. I didn’t want this group to be a typical meat market or a sleazy bar scene. One of my friends suggested the play on words. MMA came out of that, and it’s done well. People are captivated by the name – they remember it.

What does MMA cost?
There’s no membership fees; you only pay for your event. It’s a great deal because it’s a one stop shop for your single life.

A “one stop shop for your single life”? What does that mean?
Everything is planned and organized for you. You pay online, and we call and tell you where you need to be. We give the cell phone of the MMA representative who’s attending. We even arrange car pooling to events. Almost everyone gets a ride, either with staff or members.

Has anyone met and married through MMA?
We don’t know. We don’t track the marriages or relationships. When members hook up, they just stop coming to events.

What would people be surprised to learn about MMA?
Members are nervous because they don’t want to go to events alone. But 98% of people come by themselves, so everyone is alone. Another surprising thing is that members aren’t there out of desperation, nor are they the stereotypical “single losers.” They’re successful young professionals who earn an average of $60,000 a year.

Do equal numbers of men and women attend the events?
No. There’s a 65 to 35 female-to-male ratio. This is because women are planners. They book ahead, and they bring their friends. Though some members have complained, we can’t do much about it. We’re not a dating service.

What are your future plans for MMA?
We are looking to add more events for single parents. We want single moms and dads to bring their kids out. We’re also looking at the gay and lesbian market as well as organizing events for couples.

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