Neha Taneja (name changed), 23, is a user of multiple online dating apps and she enjoys the concept of stumbling upon strangers online and going on dates with them. “It’s fun! From stalking their Facebook profiles online to meeting them — the whole process is fast, there’s no worry over issues like compatibility, as they have already been sorted before meeting,” says Neha.
Clearly, any apprehensions over online dating are a thing of the past among the youth today, where Neha is only one among a growing army of online dating app users in India.
Players like Helion Venture Partners-backed trulymadly.com having over 1.5 million users. And with the entry of American online dating apps like Tinder, love is now just a swipe away. The app’s ardent users say it takes only minutes for the app to generate suitable matches for you, based on your location and Facebook profile. All you have to do is swipe right for love, and left to reject.
Online dating is not a new concept for India; it was around even during the 1990s, but there was a stigma of desperation attached to one being active on such sites. Secondly, there was always a credibility issue, as the user wouldn’t know if the person on the other side is really the person he or she claims to be.
But the entry of Tinder in 2012 took the whole online dating market to a different level by verifying Facebook profiles and then generating suitable matches based on location. The company claims that each day, 26 million matches are made on Tinder, with more than 10 billion matches made till date globally. Recently, it launched new features, like the addition of job and education details and an enhanced algorithm to increase the number of successful matches on its platform.
“With the updated algorithm, machine learning technology assesses and interprets the signals sent by our millions of users. With our ears even closer to the ground, we provide users with the most relevant potential matches to result in more meaningful connections, just as we’ve seen with introduction of the ‘Super Like’, which has increased the quality of matches and lengthened conversations,” says Ryan Ogle, CTO of Tinder.
Since Tinder made its mark globally, the Indian online dating market has also seen a spurt in such apps.
Trulymadly.com, an Indian online dating platform, has an average of 25,000 matches everyday. However, it is known more for the security aspect of its model. Its founder Sachin Bhatia says the app uses psychometric and lifestyle profiling, along with a user’s demographic data, to suggest relevant and highly compatible matches to its users. It has developed a proprietary compatibility-matching algorithm that enhances users’ ability to find a great match without investing a lot of personal effort. “We discovered that girls were not willing to try online dating because other dating platforms and apps were overrun with fake profiles — often married men posed as singles. We solved this problem by actively weeding out married people or those in committed relationship from our app,” says Bhatia.
Its system rejects any user if his or her Facebook profile status mentions ‘married’. This is to ensure that only singles are able to use the TrulyMadly app. The app also has a trust score for verification.
Even homosexuals find these apps helpful. Though Tinder has gay users, there is another app called Grindr that serves the gay community exclusively. Claiming to have an average of 69,000 active users monthly in India, it is one of the most popular apps for gay men. “I found the love of my life through Tinder and it has helped me to be more open about my orientation in a subtle way,” says Pragun (name changed).