Darren Morgenstern: What Happened to Ashley Madison Founder?

Netflix’s documentary, ‘Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal,’ delves into the notorious online dating platform known for facilitating extramarital affairs. It explores the strategies that contributed to its popularity and the fallout following a significant data breach in July 2015. Given the website’s widespread repercussions and enduring legacy, examining its origins, mainly through its founder, Darren Morgenstern, offers valuable insights. Understanding his motivations and his ongoing involvement sheds light on the foundational principles that shaped the platform.

Darren Morgenstern Founded Ashley Madison in 2002

Darren Morgenstern’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged at a young age. At 14, he began delivering newspapers and successfully boosted subscription numbers for the Toronto Star. His career trajectory continued as he secured a position as a primary circulation contractor for the new Edmonton Sun in Alberta during his early adulthood. While exploring diverse industries like telecommunications, internet services, and real estate, Darren ultimately found his enduring path with Ashley Madison.

He recalled that the inspiration for the website struck him while reading an article about the dating platform Lavalife, which purported that one-third of its users were married. This revelation intrigued him, leading him to place an advertisement inviting people who had affairs to share their stories with him for a $50 incentive. After conducting sufficient research, he officially launched the website in 2002, amalgamating the two most prevalent female names in the country. Establishing offices in both Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. in Toronto and Robert Speck Parkway in Mississauga, he set the stage for Ashley Madison’s inception.

Initially, the company operated from a physical office, but Darren transitioned it entirely online as the internet gained momentum. Investing in classified advertisements in various newspapers, they witnessed a surge in subscriber numbers. However, along with this growth came a barrage of hate mail and emails criticizing the company for normalizing extramarital affairs.

Darren openly acknowledged leveraging human tendencies and emotions to facilitate infidelity. While the platform was initially intended for individuals seeking extramarital partners, they observed an influx of users merely browsing and engaging in conversations with strangers. However, Darren realized that his entrepreneurial spirit thrived more in initiating ventures than in managing day-to-day operations. Consequently, in 2007, he sold the company to Avid Life Media, with Noel Biderman assuming the CEO role.

Darren Morgenstern Maintains a Low Public Profile Today

Image Credit: Missagua The News

In 2016, Darren Morgenstern transitioned to spearheading a business incubator focused on investing in health and wellness startups and providing nutrition counseling services. His team was developing a groundbreaking app designed to facilitate remote counseling by registered healthcare professionals, particularly nutritionists. This innovative platform aimed to extend support to individuals struggling with weight management, particularly those residing in communities lacking access to specialized weight loss clinics. As a seasoned venture capitalist, Darren has generously shared his expertise through interviews, offering invaluable insights and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to work in similar industries.

Darren, who found his life partner in Marissa Morgenstern in the early 2000s, has since marked nearly 22 years of marriage. She has been vocal about her husband’s entrepreneurial endeavors, affirming that their marital relationship remained steadfastly monogamous. Despite the occasional raised eyebrows within their social circles due to Darren’s business ventures, Marissa viewed his ventures as an expression of his entrepreneurial spirit and curiosity.

As devoted parents to three children, the couple adamantly denied engaging in extramarital affairs, emphasizing that Darren’s ventures did not condone infidelity. Since then, Darren has maintained a low public profile, refraining from making public statements or disclosures regarding his personal or professional undertakings. It may be that he is immersed in exploring his subsequent entrepreneurial pursuit.

Read More: Is Ashley Madison Still Active? How Much Does it Cost?