Arike, an online dating platform for Malayalees residing in and out of India. Image: Aisle
It was last month when India got its first vernacular dating platform called Arike, and it looks like the platform is finding traction amid users.
Kerala resident Shaun CA (name changed) who works at an IT firm tried a few dating platforms but shifted to Arike when he heard about it.
"I tried other dating apps, even an international platform. But there was a lot of junk on them. I switched to Arike mainly because it is an app for the Malayalam-speaking audience. Plus, the people on the app are not coming to pass time but are on the platform for serious dating. It's been three weeks now that I have been using the platform and so far have liked the set of questions they have on the platform. These are general questions which help to have a better conversation," said Shaun.
Like the 25 -year old Shaun, many more are joining Arike which in Malayalam means close by.
However, Joseph did not share the exact number of users that Arike has acquired since its launch last month.
Joseph who had announced the launch of Arike on March 8 this year said that the idea to launch the platform came when their research showed that Kerala is among the top states that find value in high-intent dating. In fact, he estimates that Malayalees comprise 10 to 12 per cent of the overall matchmaking market in India.
"One of the highest ARPUs (average revenue per user) in the country is in Kerala. This why we went for a state where returns would be higher. Also, I am from Kerala and we have a network there which will help us get in touch with more people," said Joseph.
This is how Arike came into existence, a platform which is focusing on Malayalees between the age group of 21 and 40, both in India and outside the country.
And what is interesting is that Arike is seeing traction amid international users as well.
"We are seeing strong traction from outside India. Currently, nine percent users are coming from outside India. However, the majority is from Kerala which is around 70 percent.
Compare this with Aisle; the platform currently has 5.3 million users out of which nine percent are NRIs (non-resident Indians) from across 100 countries.
Along with getting users on board, Arike is also seeing people opting for subscription plans.
"While users can sign up for free, to accelerate match-finding process one has to pay. In addition, we are also offering a Notes feature," said Joseph.
Notes is a feature which lets users express interest in someone by writing to them directly.
Currently, Arike is offering a one-month plan for Rs 800; a three-month plan will cost a user Rs 1,500 and for six months the cost is Rs 2,500. Those opting for premium plans get to send 20 notes per month and they can send 2x more requests daily.
But are people opting for premium plans? Joseph said that he was surprised to see a couple of users buying subscription plans on the first day of launch. He added that "it (traction for subscription plans) is 3x better for Arike as compared to Aisle."
Aisle currently offers two premium plans which include Aisle Premium available for Rs 999 per month and Aisle Concierge available for Rs 2,499 per month.
Ask Joseph if he is planning to launch more vernacular dating apps, he said that the learnings of Arike will help them expand to other markets.
While he did not share the exact names of the markets where he is planning to expand, he said, "It could be anything from Punjab to Andhra Pradesh."