In the era of funding artificial intelligence, Big Data and Internet of Things start-ups, it’s easy to overlook some obvious opportunities. Dating, companionship, or more bluntly, sex, is the most primal need, in the same hierarchy as roti, kapda aur makaan. Indians are marrying late, usually after they finish their studies and find a steady occupation. They have the option of self-selection or “love” marriages, as opposed to “arranged” marriages, earlier. Dating has become socially acceptable and convenient for young people who live in cities. This situation offers 10-plus years of dating per person.
Shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony.com have been slotted as pushing arranged marriages. Their focus on revenue from parents may turn out to be counterproductive. Tinder is too elitist for the non-English-speaking population. To be on Tinder, you must have impeccable grammar, love yoga, talk books, wear Western fashion and travel to exotic locations. You have to be good at Instagram and Twitter. The highly engaged early adopters on Tinder are crowding out others with their rather onerous behavioural and success expectations. You need a high-quality camera to click photos of the kind everyone has on Tinder. You need to have a sense of humour, do a bit of humble-bragging and have a cool occupation. A skill for chatting is a prerequisite to convert a match into a date.
What if the existing players also expand the audience? Well, if you keep two apps for booking cabs and three for shopping, how many would you keep for something far more important? Matchmaking needs a lot of tech: did you know that you can predict with decent accuracy the language a person speaks given their name/surname? Process their images, tell them what to post and what to talk and even where to meet. TrulyMadly made a valiant attempt in this space, but the timing is right today.