Fabian Thylmann (born 5 June 1978) is a German businessman who was founder and managing partner of the Internet pornography conglomerate Manwin (now Aylo). In October 2013, he sold his stake in the company, which was at the time the largest pornography operator in the world.
What is Fabian Thylmann’s net worth?
Fabian Thylmann is a German adult internet entrepreneur, software engineer and investor who has a net worth of $300 million. Fabian Thylmann earned his net worth as the founder and former CEO of adult website conglomerate Manwin, which is now known as MindGeek. Fabian became a porn kingpin after creating an affiliate tracking software that would prove to be revolutionary for the adult world. Fabian eventually sold his stake in the software, which is called NATS and is still very much in-use today, and proceeded to roll-up hundreds of adult brands. This roll-up eventually became the largest adult website conglomerate in history. In 2013 Fabian sold his share of Manwin to senior management for $100 million at a time when he was facing tax evasion charges. The company was subsequently rebranded as MindGeek. MindGeek continues to be one of the largest internet empires in history. Today its brands include Brazzers, RedTube, YouPorn, Xtube, Reality Kings and Pornhub. The exact combined monthly traffic of these brands is not known, but it has been estimated at the tens of billions of monthly visitors. Despite being the most powerful person in the adult industry at one time, Thylmann reportedly lives a very normal life with a wife and two kids. He is now an angel investor who operates out of Belgium and runs a start-up incubator.
Life and career
He was born in Aachen. He started computer programming when he was 17. His breakthrough came in the late 1990s when he developed software called NATS (Next-generation Affiliate Tracking Software), which enabled website operators to track users’ clicks on advertisements and links so that they could be paid commission. Thylmann used the money he made with NATS to buy various Internet pornography companies, and in March 2010, he established Manwin by acquiring the companies Mensef and Interhub. Manwin bought Pornhub, YouPorn, RedTube, Brazzers, Twistys.com, Mofos and other pornography websites.
Sale of Manwin
In October 2013, Thylmann stepped down and sold Manwin for €73 million, for undisclosed reasons.
Upon the sale of Manwin, Thylmann wrote in a letter to employees:
It is with a sad heart that I have to announce that I have decided to sell Manwin to Manwin’s top management team. Please believe me that this decision has been one of the hardest in our lives for both my wife and myself. […] Both myself and Manwin are at a stage where I can no longer add significant value to the best of my ability. I hope I have taught all of you and management the right values to be able to continue the company in the best possible way and I am looking forward to following its development.
According to a 2016 interview with EU-Startups, Thylmann claimed that he didn’t miss the “adrenaline” and responsibilities that came with running Manwin, stating that he was working on “fun relaxing projects”.
Extradition and indictment
In December 2012, Thylmann was extradited from Belgium to Germany on suspicion of tax evasion. He did not contest the extradition order, although he reportedly denied avoiding paying tax.
In April 2015, Thylmann was indicted by the Cologne, Germany federal prosecutor on tax evasion charges. The charges were dropped when he paid 5 million euros but he still faces a suspended sentence in another case.
Fabian’s contribution to NATS earned him a small windfall. More importantly, the software’s backend admin gave him an unprecedented behind-the-scenes view “God-view” of the entire adult website commerce industry. He could see exactly which websites were actually making money, how much money, and from what ads that were leading to the actual sales. With these insights, he decided to buy his own adult site. His first acquisition was a German site called PrivatAmateure.
In 2006 Thylmann sold his stake in the umbrella company that owned NATS. With even more money in the bank, his buying-spree accelerated, but now his acquisitions were much bigger. One of his biggest acquisitions during this period was Xtube.
Fabian Thylmann was born in June 5, 1978 in Dusseldorf, Germany. He started programming at the age of 17 and soon found himself conversing in chat rooms with owners of adult websites. One of the most common complaints at the time among adult webmasters was their inability to receive proper credit for referring a customer who signed up for a paid account or purchased a product. Som in the late 1990s, Fabian set out to solve that problem.
His solution was a piece of software he called “NATS” which stood for “Next-generation Affiliate Tracking Software.” NATS finally allowed advertisers to track when users clicked their affiliate ads so they could be paid a commission for the sale referral. It was revolutionary at the time, especially for adult sites which had been blocked from the traditional online display advertising business and desperately needed a way to track who deserved a commission for generating a sale or a subscription sign up.