Q: What has been the impact of Covid19 on the business?
A: Covid has made us more efficient and lean. It's like when you lose your extra fat and feel fit and energetic.
Q: Digital adoption has increased. We see some conversations leading to marriages on apps like Tinder. How has the ecosystem changed in recent years?
A: There are 60M people looking for a life partner at any given point in time, of which ~7M - 8M are registered with online matrimony sites. So there is definitely headroom to grow. Thanks to Covid and the increased digital adoption, we think the category will grow much more strongly. We don't see dating apps as a challenge. They can remain distant cousins of matrimony sites, for a different set of users and for a different purpose.
Q: Has the number of women listing their own profiles increased?
A: Today, overall number of females registered is ~30%. ~70% of all profiles are created by individuals. 85% of male profiles are created by individuals themselves, while 50% of female profiles are created by the individuals themselves. The remaining 50% would be a mix of parents, siblings and others.
Q: Alongside the growth of the category, the brand has also evolved. Can you walk us through that journey?
A: If you look at our commercials from 15 years ago, they were primarily targeted at parents. Later we realised that we need to target the single individuals. Then we started focusing on what is it that will help people get into a happy marriage. We also realised that women want equality in relationships.
Q: How closely involved are you with the brand's creative process?
A: I am pretty much involved in everything end-to-end, from the scripts to all the discussions.
Q: Early on, you ventured into multiple verticals like jobs, property and automobiles. What was the thinking then and how did the narrowing down happen, to focus on matrimony?
A: In Matrimony, you cannot have a lifelong user. But our users are also using other verticals like jobs and property so we wanted to leverage the strong audience that we had built. In 2008-'09 there was a global recession. We were left with a million or so and were losing Rs.1 to 2 crore a month. We decided to focus on matrimony and property. I had to let go of other businesses. If the ecosystem is what it is today, we would have raised money and we would have probably succeeded.
Within matrimony, we are focusing on matchmaking and wedding services. And within matchmaking, we are now focusing on global opportunities. We are the number one in SriLanka today. We have BangladeshiMatrimony, NepaliMatrimony; we have now also launched MuslimMatrimony.com. We are looking at more opportunities in places like South East Asia.