OPW INTERVIEW - July 30 - In the future India will be one of the top three revenue-producing iDating markets. myZamana was started by a Meetmoi alumni and is doing well there now. Here’s our introduction to the founder Ashish Kundra and myZamana. - Mark Brooks
myZamana.com is a primarily Indian Dating site. I see that about 70% of your traffic on Alexa is in India.
Yes, that is correct.
What's your background? You worked at MeetMoi?
I did, I interned at MeetMoi during college. It was my first exposure to the dating space. When I graduated I moved to Boston, and started programming various sites. My sister was single and looking for a date. I thought, "Why don't I build her a service?" That's how it all got started.
What did you learn from MeetMoi? That seems really relevant to the Indian Market. 49% of all Internet usage is on mobile in India.
Yeah, MeetMoi was definitely very early on in the mobile dating space. It was an unfamiliar concept to people at that time. Now the mantra is "Mobile First."
How did you start of? How many users do you have now?
Initially, it started like JDate for Indians. The focus was primarily on the US market, which in retrospect was the completely wrong way. My goal is to build a very large, long-term, mainstream site, and it turns out the Indian market is much larger than the Indians in the US market. There are four million South Asians in the US and a billion in India.
First we signed up 10K users from large metropolitan areas in US. Then I started seeing an influx of users from India until I really just couldn't ignore it. Within a few months most of our users were in India, and I started doubling down in that market.
You mentioned that half of the population of India is under 25 at this stage. What are their thoughts on the likes of Shaadi and Bharat Matrimony?
It depends on the person's background. If you are from a rural area and don't have Internet connection then obviously all of this is irrelevant to you. If you are from a more traditional household, then Bharat Matrimony and Shaadi might be good options for you. If you are living in a city, you might want to choose your own date and not want to be subjected to the kind of patriarchal system of arranged marriages, which I see Shaadi and Bharat Matrimony as synonymous to.
What is myZamana's fit in the market?
We are basically a mainstream service that helps people meet new people.
Who would you class as your competitors in India?
There are a couple of startups going after the dating/meet new people market, but there isn't one competitor we really look at.
You are at 1.2 million users so far.
We want to be one of the leaders in this market. It's really early days, only 11% of the market is online, so we are patient.
How is the infrastructure though? Are you finding most of your users in mobile as well?
Surprisingly, most of our users have mobile devices, but we still get a lot of traffic from the web. Android is definitely the biggest app platform there.
The payment infrastructure is very recent, so it's really hard to accept payments. We don't, we are a free site. We are ad supported, and we really like that model. It works well for us.
3 or 4 years ago we did some work with a group dating app called Ignighter. They started in USA and got popular in India. Now they are bases out of India and changed their name to StepOut. What is your take on that?
India is very interesting market given how rapidly it's changing and how large it's eventually going to be. It was a wise decision for them, and they are a pretty significant player in the market.
What's your end goal? Where will you be in 2 years time?
In 2 years time, if we grow maybe the order of magnitude or two, we'll be definitely a pretty big player in the meeting new people/dating space. It really depends on the Internet penetration in India which is now 11%.
In terms of monetization, what are the options that are becoming available now? What do you think it's going to look like in a couple years time for means of payment?
Currently there are four options. Mobile payments where carriers take 75% fee and the transactions are capped at around $2, so it’s really not worth it. Your second option is brick and mortar payment collections, which is what Shaadi and Bharat Matrimony do. The third option is credit card payments online. But the credit card penetration is around 4%. Fourth option is advertising, that's what we're really big fans of. In the future the credit card penetration will pick up.
Have you thought about monetizing the diaspora?
We don't really spend a lot of time thinking about that. It's probably a pretty good short-term business opportunity, but in the long run I don't see it as a viable option. We want to invest things where we see a presence in 10 years. The US market is shrinking. ,South Asians here will not forever want to marry only South Asians.
Would you describe myZamana as a social discovery site? Is that a good title for this section of the industry?
Yea, I think that could work.
TIMES OF INDIA - Dec 3 - Growing population of youngsters and changing cultural dynamics are set to boost India's online dating market, with the count of users likely to touch 115M in three years with market size to be $206M. According to group dating site StepOut.com, there are ~6M people who use online dating services in the country. Another online dating site QuackQuack.in, that also began operations last year, expects the online dating industry to see an annual growth rate of 20%.
MEDIANAMA - Sep 17 - New York based group-dating site, Ignighter, which had stepped foot in India in early 2011, and had raised funding, has now pivoted to being an India centric online meeting place, letting its users meet and interact with other users sharing similar interests. The rebranding took place in January 2012, when Ignighter decided to build a new site customizing it extensively for Indian users. He claims that the conversion rate had doubled after the re-branding. The site claims to have a user-base of 4M, with 95% users being Indians. ~20% users are women.
THE TIMES OF INDIA - July 20 - Traditional matrimonial sites in India use markers such as caste, community, and horoscope to determine matches. New start-up TwoMangoes.com is leveraging self-learning behavioral matching algorithms to determine compatibility. The site claims 1,000 new sign ups per day. Social dating start up MyMitra is ranking people by achievement and commitment using scientific matching. It has signed up 500 users. Another site using scientific algorithms is DateIITians. It has over 10,000 registered users, 40% of whom are IIT and IIM students and graduates. Group dating site StepOut.com has over 4 million registered users in India.
OPW - Jan 17 - Ignighter, the group dating site, has recently changed its name to StepOut. Ignighter first started in New York in 2008 but became very popular in India so the company decided to rebrand the site for the Indian market and launch its operations in Mumbai, India. Ignighter raised $1.8M two weeks ago.
CITY BIZ - Jan 6 - Group dating site Ignighter has raised $1.8M of a targeted $2.4M from six investors. Previously, the company raised $2.7M of a $3.1M offering from 25 investors. Ignighter launched in NYC in August of 2008 and has users in 28 countries.
by Richard Rabicoff
The full article was originally published at City Biz, but is no longer available.
Q: You recently made your first trip to India. What were your impressions?
Adam Sachs: It was unbelievable. I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, but nothing really compared to the entirely different world that India is.
Q: You traveled to India to establish a physical presence for Ignighter. Can you tell us a little bit about the site?
A: Ignighter is a group dating site. Which means that you and your friends create a profile together. You find another group and you all go out on a group date. The idea is that it’s a safer, less awkward, more fun approach to online dating.
Q: How did Ignighter take off in India?
A: Over 2009 and into 2010, while we were focusing on markets like New York City, Philadelphia and Boston, we would go into our analytics and see that places like India and Malaysia and Singapore and Indonesia were just growing like crazy. At first we thought, that’s interesting, but it’s not our focus. So we ignored it. The growth continued and it started to get to the point where we decided we were going to optimize our site for these markets.
Q: What do you think you were doing right in India?
A: I think the group dating model is right fro India.
Q: Can you also give us some of your impressions about the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India?
A: I think it’s just starting to take off.
Q: Is there now a lot of support around entrepreneurs who do take the plunge?
A: Absolutely. I met with a lot of great VCs.
Q: What’s your future plan in India for Ignighter?
A: Our future plan is to continue to understand what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. We’re in the process of opening an office in Mumbai and hiring people.
Q: Who is Ignighter's target customer in India?
A: Our average age on the site is between 23 and 24
Q: From a management perspective, what do you see as your main challenge in India going forward?
A: I think operating a company on two sides of the world is going to be a challenge. India is by far our biggest market and our primary concern. But it’s also not our only market. We have had success and we’re having a lot of early successes in other markets.
FOX NEWS - Oct 16 - For decades, the online dating scene was limited to a handful of trusty incumbents: think Match.com, LavaLife, eHarmony. But a bevy of new sites are looking to offer the granularity users are now craving.
Here are five sites offering a fresh approach to finding “the one” online.
1. Best Concept: HowAboutWe (400K dates posted. $28 per month)
- One of the fastest growing sites in the scene. Proposing a date gives singles an immediate topic of conversation for emails and way to connect.
2. Best Elite Site: Sparkology (Service has not opened to general public yet)
- The community is invite-only and men must be verified grads of top universities.
3. Best Mainstream Site: OKCupid (7M members)
4. Best Alternative: Ignighter (2M members)
- Allows groups of friends to collaborate on a group profile.
5. Most Buzzed About: Meexo
- Meexo isn’t out yet. Meexo is attempting to bridge the gap between location-based gaming and romance.
TECH CIRCLE - May 16 - Group dating site Ignighter is developing a mobile application in India, adding a revenue stream. Currently, Ignighter monetizes through annual subscription fees and virtual goods. India has 811 million internet users, though only 11.87 million are broadband subscribers. Ignighter currently has 2 million registered users in the country.
by Preethi J
See full article at Tech Circle
(Full disclosure: Ignighter is a former client of Courtland Brooks)
LIVEMINT - Apr 3 - Ignighter’s been in the news recently for its almost accidental India business plan. Three New Yorkers - Adam Sachs, Kevin Owocki and Daniel Osit, set up a group dating site in 2008 to help their fellow men skip those awkward one-on-one Friday night blind dates. Unsurprisingly, it didn't find too many fans in the US. But they noticed a dramatic spike in the number of users from India. By August, Ignighter.com had crossed a million Indian users (the number has since doubled). In February, after raising $3M Sachs was ready to go to India. Earlier this week the websitedropped its average monthly $40 charge per group and decided it was time to indefinitely be a free site. “We don’t anticipate an increase in traffic but we’ve already seen dramatic increases in engagement,” says Sachs.
CNN - Mar 29 - Looking for love is a big business in India. Gaurav Mishra, director of digital and social media at MSL Group Asia, a communications company, estimated that ~10% of India's internet users have used a matrimonial website. India's online matrimonial industry is expected to bring in $63M a year, according to a 2008 report by the market research firm Em Power. Internet penetration is currently only 5% but the arrival of 3G services means that many of the country's 600M mobile phone users will soon be online -- entrepreneurs are seeking new ways to tap the online matchmaking market. One start-up, Ignighter, is hoping to persuade India that the future of online matchmaking is in group dating. Ignighter now has ~2M registered users in India and 40% of them are women.
Mark Brooks: Bharat Matrimony and Shaadi own this market. I'm itching to go to India to learn more about their fascinating businesses.
INC - Feb 14 - Along with partners Dan Osit and Kevin Owocki, Adam Sachs started a dating website called Ignighter.com in 2008. The premise was simple: Online dating was weird, but less weird if you did it as a group. The company was becoming incredibly popular in India. About 90% of our their users are overseas, and of that the majority are in India. The market there is huge: ~65% of India's 1.1 billion people are under the age of 35. In March, Sachs will be setting up Ignighter’s official Indian outpost. FULL ARTICLE @ INC
TECH CRUNCH - Feb 11 - Ignighter, the group dating site, has raised $3M from a number of well-known investors. This brings the company’s total funding to $4.2M.Ignighter allows groups of friends to collaborate on a group profile, where they can include photos and specify their interests. The site then presents a list of possible matches with other groups and helps them arrage get-togethers in the real world. FULL ARTICLE @ TECH CRUNCH
DEUTSCHLAND RUNDFUNK - Sep 29 - Ignighter, a group online dating site, started as a Facebook app. Adam Sachs and his two friends created Ignighter app for Facebook after their negative experiences with traditional online dating. Ignighter got over 1M funding in 2008 and became the leading group dating site. Unlike other dating sites, Ignighter's members can only communicate within groups. Adam Sachs now has to figure out how to generate revenue since most of Ignighter's members came from Facebook and are used to the free service. Parship.de, a personality profiling dating site, doesn't have to worry about generating revenue. This company has been around and charging for their services for over 10 years now. Members have to fill out 200-question questionnaire before they receive their first match. The site claims that over 10K people sign up a day. FULL ARTICLE @ DEUTSCHLAND RUNDFUNK (in German)