He reckons these companies will have to devise a long-term plan for survival, saying, “Dating apps are a top 10 city phenomenon in India, just like ecommerce apps.
The success of these apps will come from the number of authentic female profiles on the apps and how much time users spend on these apps.” But investors remain bullish.
That said, the best may well be yet to come, say some founders, especially with the surge in language-first internet users expected over the next few years.
FREEMIUM’S THE FIRST LOVE The business of online dating, as ironic as it might seem, isn’t about dating. It’s more about user engagement at a micro-level and hope, cognitively speaking. Failure in the dating business is when a subscriber can’t find a match or the match doesn’t go anywhere.
It is about getting you to spend time on the platform. That is also due to the gender bias in the platform, that is, there are more guys than girls on the platform,” adds Bhatia of Truly Madly. So, imagine Raj speaks to Simran virtually but never meets her.
Happn is focusing on Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur and Lucknow beyond the big cities.
Just less than half of Truly Madly’s business is from smaller towns too.
The magic would be to try and achieve that hockey-stick g rowth,” says Sachin Bhatia , cofounder of Truly Madly, which claims a monthly download rate of 65,000-75,000 users.
Others, like Sreedhar Prasad, partner and head, consumer markets and internet business, KPMG India, however, are sceptical. According to the latest census, in 2011, 85 million urban Indians were considered single, potentially looking for partners.The number represented a market waiting to be acquired, hooked on and then monetised.It was also around this time that online dating was peaking in the West, with a mix of startups such as Tinder, and well established companies in Ok Cupid or even making their mark by helping singles find partners — casual, serious, one-night relationships or sometimes, just friendship for life.India, though never a priority market, was just about getting started.And then, the likes of Aisle, Truly Madly and i Crushi Flush took the plunge into the 85-million market with contrasting business models.