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India now finding life partners via dating apps and TrulyMadly is leveraging this opportunity

Claiming to be the market leader amid homegrown dating apps, 80 percent of TrulyMadly’s paid user base, which is over 1 lakh, is looking for 'something serious'

June 27, 2019 / 03:48 PM IST

Gone are the days when Indians would directly go to matrimonial sites to look for marriage prospects. Now, more and more people are preferring to get on to dating apps to find love and take the next stop forward. 

And this is exactly how TrulyMadly, one of India’s leading dating apps, has positioned itself. Talking to Moneycontrol, Snehil Khanor, CEO and Co-Founder, TrulyMadly, said, "We have positioned ourselves as a dating app for those looking for something serious. That’s why more than 50 percent of the app's active users are 28 years or older and 70 percent are 26 and older.”

It claims to be the market leader amid homegrown dating apps, with five million subscribers, of whom one lakh are paid. Khanor said 80 per cent of the paid subscribers are "serious".

“We do compatibility matching based on intent and interest. To come on our platform, there is a verification process which is as long as 10 minutes. Then, if someone is looking for a serious relationship, there are as many as 30 questions to assess compatibility," said Khanor.

Khanor explained that the 26+ (years) audience, who are financially independent and don't want to opt for matrimonial sites where conversations are often initiated by siblings and parents, are using dating apps as their first step towards matrimony. 

Mostly, independent women of ages 26 and above are looking for more serious relationships, he added.

According to a survey conducted by Assocham Social Media Foundation last year, a large group of respondents said instead of matrimonial sites or newspaper ads, they would use a dating app to find their life partner.

In the last five years since it started operations,  TrulyMadly has brought on board five million users out of which four million are men and one million women.

TrulyMadly wants to increase its following among women, who otherwise stay away from dating apps for fear of safety.

“A driving force has been women as it is 80 percent guys versus 20 percent females (in terms of user base). They have to feel secure,” said Khanor. 

This is why TrulyMadly has five to six tasks from uploading a selfie or an Aadhaar card to linking social media accounts that can lead to higher trust score. “A higher trust score means higher number of profiles to view. Also, we end up rejecting or blocking 25 percent profiles of men because they are married or the photo is not matching. If someone reports to our moderation team regarding a profile, it gets blocked. To enter the (TrulyMadly) community, you have to have 30 percent trust score,” he added. 

Many apps, however, ignore such safety measures and Khanor says that’s because “the tradeoff is revenue. Hence a lot of people end up turning a blind eye”.

Khanor is betting big on the Indian dating app market, which currently has 60 million users. He added that the market has seen growth because of big investments by many players in this space (Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble that made its Asia debut with India).

According to Statista, revenue in the online dating segment amounts to approximately Rs 428 crore ($62 million) in 2019 and the user penetration is 2.9 percent, expected to hit 3.2 percent by 2023. The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to approximately Rs 108 ($1.57).

TrulyMadly declined to share financial details.

It aims to “double its user base in the next two years thanks to the speed at which relationships are happening which is much higher than the last two years,” said Khanor.  

As people in small towns are being less conservative, online dating is no more restricted to metros. For TrulyMadly, while metros get 55-60 percent business, growth is booming beyond the top 10 cities, said Khanor. “We have seen many success stories from Ghaziabad and Varanasi too,” he added.

That dating searches in India has increased is known. But that Indians are searching to settle down via dating apps was surprising. And to leverage this opportunity, TrulyMadly this November will launch another product called TMForever -- for those who want to settle down.

Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jun 27, 2019 03:48 pm