Let’s be frank about it. Geeks are socially perceived to be infamously unsocial. They are said to have big brains, but a small heart. Millions try to find love every moment of the day by logging into a social network. But how many of them think about falling in love with the person whose brains went behind making the network?Three budding entrepreneurs from IIT Kharagpur are playing cupids to geeks across the country with their social dating site dateIITians.com. And if you are thinking it is probably another of those social networking sites that will spam your inbox with the unwarranted “Do u like friendship with me” messages, you will be in for a pleasant surprise. After all, dating an IITian cannot be so non-technical.
dateIITians is all about meeting and socializing with geeks and techies through social networking by imitating real life scenarios, from expressing ‘crush’ to sending gifts.
In less than a month from its launch in January 22, over 200, 000 people have visited the website and 7,000 have registered for it. The site was earlier exclusive for only IITians and IIMites, but has now opened its heart to all.
And if you are thinking why would an IITian or an IIM person, who represent the most intellectual community of our society, need a networking site to find a date? The contrasting male-female ratio in most of the engineering colleges should give you the answer.
“One day we were discussing about each other’s love-life and one of us just casually commented ‘Why don’t you start a special website where IITians can hook up with each other?” Layak Singh, one of the founders of dateIITians tells YourStory about how the idea was planted.
The trio, Layak Singh, Kingshuk Bairagi and Nikhil Kaushik are friends from three different departments at IIT Kharagpur and have been working on the development of the website since April last year.“People see IITians to be total geeks, who don’t have any social life. This image needs to be changed! Besides it is not just about finding a date, it is about finding the right person with whom you can have a meaningful conversation on subjects you both enjoy,” Layak explains.
While, love may not have any barriers, in dateIITians one must cross three steps to get to their mates. After adding someone as your buddy, you can request for flirting with him or her. If your flirt request gets accepted, you can then express crush on that person. And if love strikes, you can go on to propose that person and go on a date.
No one likes to date a fake person, and that’s why dateIITians have created three strict levels of identity verification process. Also, the team plans to release a point rating system soon that will allow users to collect points based on the amount of interaction they have with their buddies on the site. Later, they can redeem their points into cash and opt for either sending free gifts to their loved ones or convert their membership to premium ones.
The team is working on its revenue model based on members subscribing to the premium services like becoming a featured member, or by sending gifts to their loved ones. They are also looking at online advertising, sponsorships for beauty contest or events and by mobile or web based applications related to entertainment or dating/social media.
We want to reach out to as many Indians as possible, helping them connect and bond with the geeky community of IITs, IIMs and NITs.
“Our main target is to reach up to 0.1 million users in this year by going to all the premium colleges or universities. We are setting up the local college or universities representative to marketing our idea and reach to the students,” an optimistic Layak tells YS.
“We are seeking a good investor right now, who will help us control our operations and development, so that we can focus more on the development and less on the financial and operational aspect,” adds Layak.
The website is now blushing ahead of Valentine’s Day as their recent content application of “Who will be your valentine” have struck the chord in many young hearts. The contest will have exciting prizes for winer and will close on 13th Feb 2012.The So this Valentine’s day if you think you don’t have a chance, you might just find love waiting for you in dateIITians.com.
Author: Krishnakali Sengupta