[App Fridays] With over 185,000 downloads, this Made in India app aims to capture the Indian dating segmentHarshith Mallya
iCrushiFlush is a social networking platform that helps connect people across locations and allows them to make new friends and build relationships. While there are many apps that aim to do this, iCrushiFlush aims to be unique in terms of functionality and the freedom it offers users. The app is available on iOS, Android and a web version. They have managed to get about 185,000 downloads across India, mainly between the age group of 18 to 40, with a healthy distribution of gender and location.
Users need to register on the app using their Facebook credentials. iCrushiFlush claims to keep user details confidential and secure. Based on the user’s profile and their desired profile details, the app displays profiles that the user can ‘crush’, if they like them or ‘flush’, if they are not interested in getting to know them. Users remain anonymous and the other person will only come to know when there is a mutual match. In case of a match, a chat opens up between the two individuals and they can start messaging each other.
Send gifts: If a user likes someone, and wishes to reveal his or her identity, they can ‘crush by sending a gift’ using the in-app currency called ‘cF’. The other person will receive the digital gift sent and also come to know the identity of the sender.
In-app currency: With the in-app currency ‘cF’, every registered user is provided with 500cF to send gifts to others. Users can gain cF by performing various actions on the platform.They can earn 20 cF for every crush, 10 cF for every flush, 50 cF for every friend invite sent and 1000 cF for every friend invite accepted. Users also receive bonus cF on special occasions like festivals or birthdays. They can also buy cF using their credit or debit cards, if needed. Users can also redeem the value of gifts received by them at half the value. For example, if you receive a gift worth 400 cF, you can redeem 200 cF in exchange for it.
Full control: Users have access to both their ‘crushes’ and ‘flushes’ at all times and can move user profiles between them based on their needs and whims. They can also change their profile names, to protect their privacy.
Team behind it
Seema Vora being a very sociable person found it easy to engage and connect with people and realized that there was a need to use technology to gamify social connect and bring people closer. This would help socially awkward people overcome their apprehensions and help others socialize more. With this thought process and help from her husband Amit Vora, who functions as the chief mentor and advisor at the starup, she conceptualized and founded iCrushiFlush. Their focus was to build the right technology and infrastructure keeping the operational cost minimal without compromising on the UX.
Seema manages the ongoing product improvement along with marketing at the startup and brings in her ideas and understanding of today's youth and their work-life interactions.
She has a team of six who assist and run different aspects of the startup. Anoop Krishna backed by his 10+ years of experience in socket based programming leads the engineering on the messaging module. Atul Singh, who has over five years’ experience of programming and delivering applications, leads the Android app development. Ratheesh VR, who has about six years of experience developing AAA games on iOS, leads the iOS app development.
Rupesh Patil, who has a background of system architecture, heads the development of the entire backend. He developed the optimum state-of-the-art recommendation module which is the heart of iCrushiFlush. Pranav Kumar heads UI and UX design, Martin Philipose works on Analytics and BI and Shreya Ranka works closely with Seema to ensure Quality Assurance and hygiene of the product.
iCrushiFlush claims that they have achieved 35 million interactions so far in about 10 weeks and over 75,000 mutual matches. There have been about 17 million expressions of Crush or Flush by the users, nearly one million gifts have been exchanged on this platform and more than 2.5 million chat sessions have been initiated. The app is now amongst the Top 15 Free Social Apps in India.
What we liked?
While there are many networking apps that enable dating, iCrushiFlush provides the most freedom to users in terms of functionality. Users can access all their ‘crushes’ and ‘flushes’ at any time and move them around between the two tabs without losing them.
The UI and UX of the app are also appreciable. Pictures are optimised and load quickly on both 2G and 3G networks. The ability to send virtual gifts and catch the immediate attention of your ‘crush’ is also interesting. The app has privacy settings in place and users can use pseudonym to protect their privacy. The app also provides a consistent experience across both mobile devices and the desktop platform.
What could be improved?
There is no default description box, but users can update their status. Users cannot see each other’s common interests or likes, but Amit explained the thought process behind this step. He feels that opposites attract and there is no real need to match people based on their likes and interests.
While most of the features of the app are self-explanatory, I was initially stumped by how I could upload images from my gallery into the photos tab in the app. After talking to Amit, I realized that by long pressing on any of the bubbles I could upload images from my gallery. It would be great if this feature could be intorduced and included in the ‘App tour’ section.
The app is unique in terms of functionality and offers more freedom to the users while also keeping their privacy concerns in mind. As of now the application is functional only in India and it will be interesting to see how they scale operations and go global in the future.