Bhatia, who co-founded the online travel site MakeMyTrip, came up with the idea for Truly Madly with two friends — MakeMyTrip colleague Rahul Kumar and Hitesh Dhingra, the founder of Flipkart owned-Letsbuy.
Would you say that Truly Madly is trying to make online dating fun, safe and parent-approved?
Fun and safe, yes….no place for parents on the app or their approval. Parents should have little or no role in people deciding whom they want to be with.
As an intelligent, independent person one knows exactly what to expect from a relationship or a potential partner/match. Parents don’t have this insight and hence need not be involved in who one should date or get into a relationship with. Getting parental approval on whom you should date seems regressive.
What kind of success stories have you seen so far?
Convincing girls that this is a safe way to meet other singles and getting them to propagate the brand is a challenge we’ve met.
An external consultant working with us tried the app just to familiarise herself with the product before coming to meet us for the first time. She liked the fact that there was basic verification to shift out married men and kept using the app for a month and finally found someone she really liked. They met and she called to thank me a few months ago.
She then called me a couple of months ago to say they are now engaged and finally a week back to announce her wedding to the same guy.
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Can you give trend data for city wise usage of your app, gender wise and age wise?
Of our users, 25% are from Delhi, 15% Bombay, 10% Bangalore and the rest smaller cities and towns. Eighty per cent of our users are men and 20% women. The percentage for age groups 18-22 is 40%, 22-26 is 40% and 26-34 is 20%.
Would you say the dating scene has changed or matured since you began, that now allows you to confidently brand yourself as a dating app and not a matrimonial one?
Yes, absolutely. Especially the non metros are adapting to dating, but the challenge remains in the virality. While people use the app they tend not to talk to others about it.
Tips for the kind of photos to be put up on their dating profile for guys and girls?
Keep them real. Use pics that bring out your personality a bit more versus a passport pic. Maybe playing a sport, strumming a guitar, petting your dog, etc.
Now you can even post videos on Truly Madly so it’s a great way to talk about something, sing or any other talent to showcase your personality.
What would be the 3 best conversation opening lines?
‘Hi what’s up’ works well. We now algorithmically tell our members what to say as an opening line based on mutual interest.
So if both of you like Dire Straits we encourage you to open the conversation by saying, ‘Hey, are you attending the DS concert over the weekend?’ These contextual cues are great icebreakers.
And the 3 worst conversation starters are?
• You have nice eyes
• You have a nice smile
Was yours a love marriage?
I met a girl, we fell in love and we got married….simple. Enough to say that we were colleagues, she was actually my boss….and the rest is history!