India is seeing an influx of dating apps from across the world, especially from the US and China. Homegrown dating app TrulyMadly boasts of a total user base of over five million. The company claims to have a month-on-month growth of upto 30-40%.
“Culturally, India is very different from the West or China. We understand our audience and can relate to the use-case personally and are able to make tailor-made products for them,” said Snehil Khanor, CEO & Co-founder, TrulyMadly.
In an interview with The Passage, Khanor spoke about what makes TrulyMadly different, its unique features and revenue channels.
The Passage: How do you distinguish from your competition?
Snehil Khanor: Our positioning is very different from other players in the industry. TM is for users who are looking for meaningful long-term relationships. 50% of our user base is 28+, 70% is 26+, and 80% of our paid users, explicitly mention on their profile that they are looking for something serious.
Our mission is to create a safe community of people with similar intentions. To ensure that we moderate each and every profile to verify that they are legally single, they really are who they claim to be and we have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who violates our community guidelines. We end up rejecting around 25% of our registrations.
We have given our users a few niche features like: We don't show names of girls to guys so they don't stalk them online: We don't allow guys to take a screenshot of the girl's profile: We allow girls to opt for invisibility, wherein their profile is only shown to guys, whom girls have already liked: We have something called "Trust Score" which increases with the number of verifications you have done. More trust score equals matches.
We take the utmost pride in saying TrulyMadly is a 100% humane platform with zero bots. Also, since every photo/video which goes on the platform is moderated, it ensures that you are browsing real people with real photographs and not a bunch of cute puppies, flowers, celebrity pictures or just random motivational quotes.
The Passage: Tell us a bit about your matchmaking algorithm
Snehil Khanor: It's a complex algorithm designed with the help of some of India's top Clinical, Experimental & Social Psychologists. It takes into account users’ profession, occupation, home town, app activity and compatibility in six categories including trust, intimacy, family values, choices, identity and intention.
The Passage: What are your marketing strategies to promote the app?
Snehil Khanor: We believe in organic growth. We don't spend much on marketing. Our plan is to let our success make the noise. We receive five to six success stories (#ForeverStories is what we call them) every week. We feature them on our social media handles and on the app. When people see real people finding their forever partners on our platform, it encourages them to join our platform too.
The Passage: What is the biggest barrier of entry for starting a dating app in India?
Snehil Khanor: Cold-start problem along with creating a brand which users can trust.
The Passage: Tell us about a few unique features of Truly Madly
Snehil Khanor: Selfie verification using facial recognition, trust score, Instaspark, moderation using a mix of manual and AI Systems etc.
The Passage: Apart from premium subscriptions, what are your revenue channels?
Snehil Khanor: 95% of our revenue comes from subscriptions. As of now, we are not much focused on advertising revenue.
The Passage: What’s the potential you see in India? Do you have any data to back it up?
Snehil Khanor: I feel there's immense potential in India. Personally, I think it's a much better time for dating apps in India compared to what it was five years back, when we first launched the app. There are 430 million Indians between the ages of 18 and 35, and every month one million Indians are turning 18, for the next several years.
The Passage: A few Chinese dating apps such Blued and Tantan are entering India. What do you think they have to offer as opposed to their US counterparts?
Snehil Khanor: They have appeared to have simply reproduced the same interface and features already available on their US counterparts.