In India, online dating was considered a big taboo a few times ago. And it still is in many cities. This is a belief of the Founder of the dating app Aisle, Able Joseph. Initially, it was a difficult time for them to grow their market in India. But now, they easily can do it. Here is an interview of the CEO with one publisher.
How did the dating app Aisle come about? What was the inspiration?
Aisle, which was founded in 2014, is currently the second most downloaded dating app in India. It was developed as a wise middle path between matrimony sites and casual dating apps for people who were looking for serious relationships. People who were looking for arranged marriages online were not happy with the profiles on the platform as they were managed by parents and not the person themselves. On the other hand, dating apps were helping users find love online but the user intent on most of these casual apps remained unestablished. We saw an opportunity there to create a high intent dating platform and founded Aisle as a singles’ community. The idea was to help users connect with their potential partners directly and create an alternative to the existing matrimonial sites and casual dating apps.
Has it grown in terms of the number of members and outreach?
Aisle has grown exponentially over the past 6 years and we have crossed 5 million users in the beginning of 2021. In the last year alone, we added 2 million users. Apart from Tier 1 cities we are also seeing an increase in our Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities userbase.
Since India is a diverse country with different cultures and religions, what was the impact of Aisle? Was it taken seriously? Has the company received any negativity or backlash from any group?
Unlike western dating apps, Aisle is built according to the Indian sentiments/sensitivities and provides its users a platform for meaningful relationships. It is designed taking into account the culture, subculture and counterculture. On Aisle, the profiles will not just have a photo and a name but also details that potential partners would like to know including one’s faith, mother tongue, community etc. Due to its high intent, Aisle has more success stories per 1000 users than any other dating app in India and we’d say that’s a good measure that speaks for itself.
How’s the competition with other dating apps, particularly Tinder as its internationally renowned?
We are a dating app which is made by Indians and for Indians. Aisle is exactly designed keeping in mind Indian preferences and works as a relationship centric platform that connects people looking for love. We were the 2nd most downloaded dating app in 2020 and were ranked 3rd amongst the top grossing dating apps after the billion dollar companies like Tinder and Bumble. Tinder’s entry into India happened when the general dating sentiment was conservative. The company however did enjoy first mover advantage. A lot of young people wanted to experience dating and hopped on to the wagon. Tinder did not change its strategies according to the Indian youth and continued to replicate its western strategies. Today people are moving beyond the western apps and the casual fling culture and inclining towards high intent matchmaking.
What is the potential market scope for dating apps in India?
Online dating in India was considered to be a big taboo due to cultural restrictions and lack of trust on dating apps. People preferred looking for a partner in their limited vicinity and were averse to the idea of finding love online. The advent of matrimonial apps changed the status quo. People started finding potential marriage prospects online. However, the autonomy on these apps to find a partner still belonged to families and extended family.