“Urban Tryst was an idea that came out of a personal understanding of all the shortcomings that online matrimonial sites have. Most of the profiles in these sites are created by parents, thus making them far removed from what their sons and daughters actually are,” says Arundhati Balachandran, the Founder and CEO of Urban Tryst.
Born and bought up in Chennai, Arundhati went to US to North Carolina University for her masters, after which she also completed a master’s course in Data Analytics by North Carolina State in collaboration with SAS. In her own words, Arundhati describes herself as a sporty individual and someone who is an extrovert.
Elaborating further, she says, “I am a highly energetic and restless person, who loves to travel and do different things. While I was working in Deloitte Consulting I not only got an opportunity to hone my networking and people skills, but also got to travel across 35 states in the US. Going to the US to do my masters and travelling across different parts of the country helped shape my personality.”
Armed with a double masters from the US, Arundhati came to India in 2011 with the idea of starting something of her own. However, her progression from employment to entrepreneurship was gradual. Elaborating further she says, “Chennai was my place of birth, but I had only studied here. I thought it was best to understand the ethos and culture of the city before I began something of my own.”
Arundhati worked in Chennai at Cognizant and Latent View for a few years before beginning Urban Tryst. Speaking of her employment stint in India, Arundhati adds,
The work culture here is very different from the US, there I did not feel the gender bias as strongly as I felt it here. In India, factors like marriage and children are assumed and you are not given that much responsibility. If you get an appraisal it is attributed to the fact that you are a woman and not because of the work you do. Fortunately in the past few years, things have changed and will continue to change.
By 2014, Arundhati knew she had to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. She had started seeing a change in the ethos and found that the gender biases and polarities were diminishing. With some thought she decided to establish Urban Tryst on 14th May 2014.
After being a part of online matrimony sites herself, the idea to create something that is more in tune with the present generations’ needs with a platform like Urban Tryst took root. Speaking of her personal experiences with matrimonial sites, Arundhati says, “Like most online matrimony sites my parents created a profile for me and based on their checklist of family background, they would send me profiles, which I found just not to my taste. I found that most of the people were very different from what their profile said, and I found it irksome. Why would you start something as life-changing and important as marriage with something that is not true? And this was not only the case for me, my friends were sailing in the same boat as well.”
Initially, when Arundhati came up with the idea of Urban Tryst, she faced resistance from family and extended family, who couldn’t understand why she would give up a good comfortable job to do something of her own. “The most common questions I was asked was what did I know about match-making and matrimony. What did I know of processes and the nitty-gritty? And my answer to all of them was I know what I went through and I know what people want, I can strike a chord with most people and I can do this,” reminisces Arundhati. Adding further she says, “Fortunately, my husband was very supportive so I found it easier to start Urban Tryst.”
In the beginning, Urban Tryst found its client base with spreading out to friends and friends of friends. “It was a working idea for about 6-7 months before we went live. I did a survey, asked people what they were looking for in matrimonial sites and I had collected a database of approximately 100 people before we started,” adds Arundhati.
Arundhati says she saw a clear need of the younger generation to find compatible matches more than community based matches. “It is definitely possible to find a compatible match in your community, however, we urge people to look beyond that and open their horizon. The main criteria for matrimony needs to be compatibility rather than community,” she says.
An understanding of the need for honesty and personalisation in the match-making process is what created Urban Tryst. Unlike the other matrimony sites, the process of match-making at Urban Tryst is offline. While an individual registers or signs up online, he/she gets a call from a matchmaker, who then has an in-depth conversation with the individual to understand their needs and requirements. A
personal matchmaker then goes ahead and does the search and shortlists a profile that is best suited as per the requirements. Everything is done offline by the matchmaker, this even includes setting up a date with the individual who you are most likely to be compatible with.“The whole idea is to bring in relatable matches, our matchmakers are of the same age groups as our clients, and we endeavour to understand what each individual wants and then go ahead and find that. I was introduced to my husband by friends, who knew what I was looking for and what my husband wanted. They were able to find someone who I could relate to. Urban Tryst thrives on this idea, it is usually someone who understands you who is of a similar age bracket as you can pick someone who relates to your needs and wants.”
Explaining the process more in detail Arundhati says, “While we advise everyone to keep their families looped into the process, we ensure that they boy and girl themselves create their profile and honestly share their details with us. We have had parents calling us and asking if they can register, we tell them that it would be better if their sons or daughters register and speak to our match-makers personally as it is they who want to get married.”
Urban Tryst has been created for well-rounded personalities, individuals who are not only qualified and well-educated but also have varied interests and have different interests in life. While 50-60% of Urban Tryst’s client base is from Chennai and Bangalore, there has been a steady increase in the number of people from different parts of the country like Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata, Hyderabad and even US and UK.
Arundhati plans to expand to different cities in the country with match makers with an understanding of the local ethos and mind sets.