Sam Yagan

Sam Yagan (born April 10, 1977) is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of OkCupid.[1] In 2013, he was named to TIME Magazine's '100 Most Influential People in the World' list.[1] He is the Vice-Chairman of the e-dating site[2]

Sam Yagan
Born (1977-04-10) April 10, 1977
Alma materHarvard University
Stanford University
OccupationCo-founder of OkCupid
Co-founder of SparkNotes
Vice-Chairman of
CEO of Shoprunner
Years active1999–present
Jessica Droste Yagan (m. 2003)
Parent(s)Al Yagan
Dr. Haifa Yagan

Family and education

The son of Syrian immigrants, Al and Dr. Haifa Yagan,[3][4] Sam was instilled with an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. He grew up in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and studied at the Illinois Math and Science Academy and eventually Harvard University. Yagan holds a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University, 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.[5] His brother Danny Yagan is an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[6] His wife Jessica Droste Yagan is the CEO of Impact Engine, an impact investing fund.



In 1999, during his senior year at Harvard, Yagan and two of his classmates, Chris Coyne and Max Krohn, started the online study guide SparkNotes.[7] Christian Rudder joined shortly after the founding. A year later they sold the company to Barnes & Noble for $30 million.[8]

eDonkey, Inc.

By age 25 Yagan was the president of eDonkey (founded in 2002), a P2P file-sharing network. As the developer of eDonkey, Yagan testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing a need for balance between innovation and intellectual property.[9]


In 2003, Yagan again teamed up with his Harvard classmates Chris Coyne and Max Krohn and founded OkCupid.

Excelerate Labs

In 2009, Yagan and Troy Henikoff founded Excelerate Labs.[10]


In 2011, Yagan sold his dating website (OkCupid) to IAC for $50 million and in 2012, Yagan became the CEO of (a subsidiary of IAC).[8]


Yagan is currently CEO of ShopRunner, an e-commerce network that provides two-day shipping across multiple merchants.[11]

Honors and Recognition

Time 100

In April 2013, Yagan was listed as one of TIME Magazine's '100 Most Influential People in the World'.[1]

Fortune Magazine's 40 Under 40

In 2014, Yagan was listed as one of Fortune Magazine's "40 Under 40."

Crain's "40 Under 40"

In 2011, Yagan was named to Crain's "40 under 40" in Chicago.[12]

Personal life

Sam Yagan is married to his high school sweetheart, Jessica Droste Yagan.[13][14]


  1. "Time 100 - Sam Yagan". Time Magazine. April 18, 2013.
  2. Pletz, John (April 18, 2013). "Sam I am". Crain's Chicago Business.
  3. "Yagan's influence no illusion". The Daily Journal. December 2013.
  4. "Time magazine ranks Bourbonnais' Sam Yagan among 100 most influential people". The Daily Journal. April 2013.
  5. "Executive Profile: Sam Yagan". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg.
  6. "Faculty Profiles: Danny Yagan". UC Berkeley Department of Economics. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  7. Aucoin, Don (August 2007). "Digital Man". Boston Globe.
  8. "Confessions of a Former Entrepreneur". Inc. Magazine. July–August 2011.
  9. "Testimony of Sam Yagan". United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Retrieved September 2005. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. Casserly, Meghan. "Excelerate Labs". Forbes. Retrieved Jan 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. Cremades, Alejandro. "This Founder Bounced Back From Startup Failure To Leading A $400M IPO That Transformed Online Dating". Forbes. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  12. " "40 under 40". Crain's Chicago Business. 2011.
  13. Kapos, Shia (February 11, 2013). "Married to their high school sweethearts". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  14. "Jessica Droste Yagan '95 and Sam Yagan '95 Step Up for IMSA". IMSA360. November 6, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
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