According to the latest UN report, India has the world’s largest youth population, making it a hotbed of opportunity for the online dating industry. Online dating, which was once considered to be a desperate measure to find partners, is now increasingly accepted as normal behaviour across the globe.
Internationally, with speculations pegging Tinder to be an USD 1.6 billion enterprise, Indian ventures are not trailing far behind on the opportunity. In March, 2015, Indian app TrulyMadly raised Rs. 35 crore in their first round of funding, while in July, 2015, IDG Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in dating app iCrushiFlush.
Tapping into the same market is QuackQuack.in. Founded in 2010 (pre-Tinder) by Ravi Mittal, the website crossed 1 million registrations this month. Ravi started working at the age of sixteen, managing his father’s battery manufacturing business. Eventually, his social circle shrunk, forcing him to ‘look out for friends or find a date’ online, in 2010. To his surprise, there were hardly any dating platforms dedicated to Indians at that time. Most of the people he knew would either flock to Facebook or Shaadi.com to find a date.
That was his Eureka moment. He rallied his energies behind building a dating platform for singles in India. He rented a 2BHK apartment, and hired a small development team in-house, to build QuackQuack.in. Before starting QuackQuack.in Ravi put in dummy advertisements on Google ads and Facebook to test whether the market was ready for such a venture. To his surprise, he found 20 signups to every 100 clicks on the advertisement. This was a clear and positive indicator.
Presently, with a 15-member team consisting of developers, designers, UI / UX guys, moderators, and a digital marketing team, the venture seems to be performing fairly decently in the market. QuackQuack.in added 500,000 users in the last 12 months, and is now targeting to reach 5 million users over the next 3 years.
Explaining what keeps him excited, Ravi tells us:
I was always passionate about building something in the consumer internet space. The concept of dating excites me – especially, when we see users meeting on our app. Moreover, when we get messages from our users thanking us to say that they met their date, it brings a smile on our faces and keeps us motivated.
The venture receives most of its revenue from the premium membership category on the platform. New users can sign up for free and express interest in other users, but can’t message them. In order to message, a user has to upgrade to various subscription models that are on offer. The platform charges Rs. 1000 for one month; Rs. 2500 for three months; Rs. 4400 for six months and Rs. 6400 for 12 months. 15 to 20 per cent of their users renew their memberships. QuackQuack.in claims that its revenue in 2013-2014 was Rs. 91 lakhs, and has grown to Rs. 1.81 crores in 2014-15.
The Founder tells us that QuackQuack.in is very strict on the moderation of content uploaded by users.
“We have a four member moderation team who work in two shifts to moderate the content being uploaded by users. A lot of the time, we find individuals claiming that they are 26 years old but they look much older. Some individuals upload content about themselves which makes no sense. In such cases we ban that content - the aim is to get better responses from users, without wasting their time.”
The startup verifies each user profile while registering - declining any low quality photos and content. They also have automated algorithms running to detect abuse and spam, and taking action against the user immediately.
QuackQuack.in spends heavily on initiatives to get more female users onto their platform; to balance the male-female ratio. Currently, the ratio is lopsided: there are 30 females to every 70 males on the platform.
Last month, QuackQuack.in served up 5.1 million page views on its website, with an average of 1.41 million chats exchanged on the app. The average age of users is 27, and they spend 10-12 minutes on the website every day. Their most active user bases are: Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. In Tier 2 markets, cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow are where the platform is gaining maximum traction.
The venture aims to be even more agile when it comes to incorporating changes and updates in the future. They are increasingly tracking user behaviour to adapt to the changing scenario of user requirements. This will lead to matching individuals or suggesting profiles based on user traits and personalities.
To expand their user base they plan to launch an iOS version of the app soon. They are also planning to launch a feature called in-app calling for users who have been matched.
Ravi tells us that his experience has been a very interesting one, so far. He tells us that the most difficult bit is explaining to elders about what he does for a living. Concluding cheekily, he says
Usually, I tell them that we are like a matrimonial portal without the matrimony!