TIMES OF INDIA - TrulyMadly is one of the bigger and older local ventures in India. Co-founder & COO Snehil Khanor says the company caters to both casual and serious users, "but there's definitely more money in older cohorts." He says 80% of its paying users mention on their profile that they are looking for something serious. 50% of TrulyMadly users are 28+ years old, and 70% 26+. Sumesh Menon, co-founder and CEO of matchmaking app Woo, also says money flows in only from older users, who are both socially and financially dependent. BetterHalf.AI too pitches itself as a "serious matchmaking product for working professionals looking to get married in the next 1-2 years." Co-founder and CEO Pawan Gupta says matrimony sites are too overwhelming for today's generation. Matrimony, Shaadi and others that traditionally relied on revenue from parents, are transforming to attract singles while keeping parents still involved in the process. Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO of Matrimony.com, says till the mid-2000s, parents registered on behalf of their daughters and sons. Not any more. "Today, ~60% of our 3.7M active members are individuals who register on their own." Investments in the segment have been small, and was at its peak in 2015 at $6.3M. That was the year when TrulyMadly raised $5.3M and iCrushiFlush raised $0.5M. Last year there was just one funding deal. According to comScore data, the number of unique visitors to Tinder in India had risen to as high as that of Shaadi in late 2017, and had continued to challenge the local players.
TIMES OF INDIA - Jan 18 - When it comes to marriage, Indian families have traditionally relied on the referrals route. The online matchmaking industry in India is now almost two decades old, and one big benefit it has brought is exponentially increasing the choices available to those seeking partners. According to a Ken Research Report of 2016, India's online matchmaking industry revenues are set to touch $318M by 2020. The biggest pitfalls of online dating are security and safety. Not surprisingly, the gender ratio is highly skewed in favour of males. A survey by dating app Woo puts the ratio of male: female at 74:26. Woo says it keeps users' personal details confidential, analyses users' digital footprint to verify relationship status and professional information, and enables women to call matched profiles without revealing their own phone numbers. TrulyMadly, another player in the space uses a trust score for authenticity and gets the user Facebook-verified. However, possibly the safest method of matchmaking or dating still remains the referrals route. Dating app Ponder uses referrals from family members and close friends to help its users find the special one.
QUARTZ INDIA - Oct 8 - Last week, Bumble announced its foray into India. Besides Tinder, Bumble will compete with homegrown players like TrulyMadly and Woo. Winning over India may not be easy, since dating apps here are not exactly used the way they are in the West. Launched in 2014, TrulyMadly claims to be the market leader with a monthly download rate of ~65K. The uses of a dating app are pretty standard across the world. But there are a couple of differences in how Indians use them. A lot of 18- 21-year-olds use them to make friends. The 26+ audience uses dating apps pretty much as the first step towards matrimony. TrulyMadly revenue comes mostly from micro-transactions, rather than ads or membership. Users can buy a pack of Sparks to communicate on the platform or buy Select and get matched with the similar type of profiles.
WALL STREET JOURNAL - June 25 - Tinder's biggest challenge in India appears to be getting enough women to sign on. In many parts of India, arranged marriages remain the norm, and dating in any form still carries a stigma, particularly for women. Indian women who have dabbled with dating apps complain they get overwhelmed by all the attention that comes with the surplus of men. Tinder doesn't disclose a gender breakdown, but among the app's members in India, men far outnumber women. The dating app TrulyMadly, which says women make up ~20% of its users, is trying to introduce women to the concept of "boy browsing" through a YouTube video. Another competitor, Woo, allows women on its app free but charges men, and lets women use initials rather than full names.
YOURSTORY - May 18 - Woo aims to match like-minded people, and also claims to be a platform that puts women first. Released in July 2014, the platform is founded by Sumesh Menon (CEO and Co-founder) and Ankit Nautiyal (CTO and Co-founder). It received its undisclosed Series A funding from Matrix Partners, Omidyar Network and U2opia Mobile. Woo has a user base of ~4.5M users. Woo is similar to Tinder, in the sense that users can only chat with someone if the two have mutually liked each other by swiping right. Users can also send out a 'crush' to a profile without swiping right to let him or her know of their interest. With the feature 'Woo Phone', women can place an Internet call directly from the app while their number remains hidden and private. This specially created feature is available only to women. Woo Plus unlocks a few extra features.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
OPW - Oct 10 - India is changing fast! The tradition of arranged marriages is transitioning to 'planned marriages' and dating apps. Earlier this year I traveled to India to capture this snapshot in time and history of the progress of the matrimonial and dating apps industry there. I talked with the CEOs of Matrimony, Shaadi and Woo, and interviewed several diverse and fascinating users. This 'vlogumentary' covers my journey in Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let me take you to India.
OPW - June 9 - The last mobile dating conference took place last week in Los Angeles. Its main focus was on mobile technologies, marketing and monetizing of mobile dating apps. The review was conducted by Mark Brooks, publisher of OPW and CEO of Courtland Brooks, Steve Dean, consultant at Courtland Brooks and Ritesh Bhatnagar, CMO at Woo.
OPW - Apr 5 - These Woo Academy date coaching videos are so funny. Great advice on Indian dating encapsulated in an amusing and unique video. Woo is India's top matchmaking app, and #2 dating app overall next to Tinder. It competes with the likes of Truly Madly, Shaadi and Matrimony.
WEBWIRE - Apr 4 - Sumesh Menon, co-founder and CEO of Indian dating app Woo, will speak on mobile dating in India during the next mobile dating conference (iDate). The conference is taking place at the Sportsmen's Lodge Events Center in Studio City, CA on June 1-2, 2017.
THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE - Mar 24 - In 2007, the online matchmaking industry was centered around matrimonial sites like Shaadi.com. Ten years down the line, the landscape looks completely different. Online dating is now a growth industry. ~67% of Indian singles know couples dating online, and 33% of the couples surveyed had met online, according to digital research consultancy Mindshift Metrics. The online dating space has been growing at an explosive pace in urban India, driven by Tinder. Alongside international competitor OkCupid, local apps like TrulyMadly and Woo are snapping at Tinder's heels. Newer apps like SirfCoffee and Find Life Over Here (FLOH) are trying to create a middle ground between casual dating and traditional matrimonial sites. Both FLOH and SirfCoffee take the exclusive route — users can't just join, they have to go through a screening that includes detailed application forms and face-to-face interviews, either in person or through video-conferencing.
WEBWIRE - Mar 21 - The iDate mobile dating conference is taking place on June 1-2, 2017 at the Sportsmen's Lodge Events Center in Studio City. The event will focus solely on mobile dating and mobile dating apps. Speakers include CEOs and executives from: Zoosk, Woo, PinkSofa, Online Personals Watch and others.
QZ - Mar 14 - Matrimonial websites in India aren't what they used to be. Earlier this month, Shaadi.com, one of India's largest matrimonial sites, launched an online campaign titled "Ladies First," which encourages women to make the first move. "Our audience is changing every day," said Gourav Rakshit, CEO at Shaadi.com. Similarly, a Jeevansaathi.com campaign last year focused on encouraging women to get online to find a match. India's sizeable youth population and growing smartphone penetration have meant that casual dating apps, too, are doing brisk business. India is Tinder's fastest-growing market in Asia, even as home-grown apps like TrulyMadly and Woo make merry. Yet, there are some things that haven't changed. It is still a conservative society where arranged marriages are still the norm.
INDIAN EXPRESS - Feb 14 - Speed dating is a concept where men and women meet for 5-8 mins, just enough to decide if they'd like to meet again. Speed dating saw it origins in 1998 when Rabbi Yaacov Deyo of Aish HaTorah first organised an event in the US as a way for Jewish singles to meet and marry. India has been flirting with the idea over the past decade. "Traditionally, India hasn't been a very open society when it comes to love. People often find it difficult to express feelings of love", says Taru Kapoor, country head of Tinder India. "Dating apps accelerate the process of finding someone in their own private space, instead of being guided by the family," explains Sumesh Menon, CEO and co-founder Woo. This is what makes the time ripe for speed dating to pick up pace here. DateTix is working towards setting up a formal speed dating culture in India. They began in January with Delhi, and intend to expand to other cities soon. Woo's Menon also believes there is a possibility that the concept will soon spread to Tier-II cities.
Please comment if you like/dislike the new interview video style.
VC CIRCLE - Feb 1 - The price wasn't disclosed. Woo acquired the Dus platform and brand to increase its foothold in the US. Dus had around 150k members and was specifically aimed at South Asian singles living in the US. Its leadership team will join Woo and help with developing a country growth strategy and customising user features designed for the international Indian community.
by Arti Singh
See full article at VC Circle
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
THE ECONOMIC TIMES - Nov 4 - In all, TrulyMadly, Woo and Tinder have ~1M monthly active users in India, according to a report in tech journal iGadgetsworld. While data for matrimonial sites were not available, experts foresee dating apps catching up. Ritesh Banglani, who led an investment in TrulyMadly last year, said 25-35% of the "users on dating apps are looking for marriage". The trend of arranged marriages is likely to continue to decline and the logical next step for matrimonial sites would be to stay relevant either by innovating or acquire a leading dating app in India." Matrimony.com, which operates BharatMatrimony, acquired Matchify in April last year but CEO Murugavel Janakiraman insists that dating apps aren't able to scale up or make money here. "We tried out Matchify but India has a largely traditional user base so these apps are not going to work here," he said. Gourav Rakshit, CEO of Shaadi.com, conceded that although the site gets ~11K new registrations every day, many of its users are on dating apps as well.
THE NATIONAL - Oct 29 - In India arranged marriages continue to be the norm. A 2013 survey revealed that 75% of young Indians prefer arranged marriages. ~22M Indians use matrimonial sites such as BharatMatrimony, Shaadi.com and Jeevansathi. "India has 100M people over the age of 21 who are looking for partners. For them, matrimonial sites, with parents interfering, are not cool," says Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of dating app TrulyMadly. TrulyMadly launched in India in 2014. It verifies personal details of its users because fake profiles are a big problem in India. ~3M Indians have downloaded dating app Woo. Woo demonstrates the rise of home-grown dating apps in India. While Tinder is well known, the indigenous online offerings are tailored to Indian cultural needs. Other apps include Aisle, which describes itself as a cross between a dating and a matrimonial app. Another offering is Floh (Find Life Over Here), which operates in 15 cities and five countries.
by Amrit Dhillon
See full article at The National
BUSINESS INSIDER - Oct 26 - Today, online dating is all about swiping left or right on smartphones. Unlike the West, where one night stands is not seen as a social taboo, in India, people browsing dating apps, often look for a long time commitment. "We aren't like Western dating apps, which are primarily for 'hook-ups'. Nor are we traditional desi matrimonial sites. We've tried to remove the taboo from the term 'dating' in the Indian world by associating it with safety and compatibility", said Sachin Bhatia, CEO and Co-Founder of TrulyMadly, a dating app. Another dating app, Woo, has started for people looking for a relationship. Woo has a Trust Score for every user, based on the amount of information a user volunteers to share with the app. This impacts the matches she/he receives. There is also a manual verification system in place to double check profiles.