Indians are Hooked onto Dating Apps. But Does Your App Know Your Secret? In conversation with Entrepreneur India, world's top dating apps' custodians share how they see the future of online dating

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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The dating industry is flooded with apps helping singles to find a potential match. From swiping right to clicking a heart icon on probable profiles, some online dating platforms are building creative ways to connect people in their vicinity at the touch of fingertips. Also, then there are few apps you've probably never even heard of.

While some apps like Tinder and Bumble are very well known globally and downloaded by millions, there are tons of other apps doing well in the Indian market. According to app market data and insights company App Annie, the two most popular applications in India by revenue were content streaming service Netflix and dating app Tinder (as per 2017 data).

Such kind of trends were surprising in more or less a conservative society. But this indicates the changing atmosphere in the urban middle class which wants to experiment with their personal lives.

Considering the growing importance of online dating industry, Entrepreneur India spoke to top dating platforms in India to know the future of this industry. The expert also gave some wonderful advice for safe online dating.

Facebook: Tinder

Tinder

You can bet most millennials have heard of Tinder, an app that has become synonymous with online dating. Launched in India in 2013, the location-based app allows users to like (swipe right) or dislike (swipe left) other users and allows users to chat if both parties swiped to the right (a match).

Taru Kapoor, GM of Tinder and Match Group, expressed optimism that the Indian society is in transition, and decision-making autonomy is changing across generations and social structures.

"Youth today increasingly demand and exercise more choice and control over their life decisions than previous generations. In India, conventionally, it is hard to meet people outside of your immediate social circle of friends, family, and colleagues. The growing advances in technology, particularly the popularity of the smartphone, have proven valuable in facilitating the universal need of people connecting, meeting and communicating with each other," shared Kapoor

India is one of Tinder's fastest growing markets and the largest market in Asia. Kapoor believes India promises a lot of potential with millions of young, single smartphone users, and a shifting cultural paradigm where youth want more say in the people they love, date and marry.

"We have grown rapidly in India in the last few years and are now a part of the culture and lifestyle of modern Indian youth," she added.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Be cautious when meeting someone for the first time, always meet in a public place and let someone know where you are.

  • We encourage users to stay clear of sharing sensitive personal information and to feel empowered to block and report suspicious users and behaviour, and those who violate the terms of use.

Facebook

TrulyMadly

Launched by Sachin Bhatia (Ex-Founder, MakeMyTrip) along with Rahul Kumar (Ex MakeMyTrip, Expedia and Oracle) and Hitesh Dhingra (Founder & Ex-CEO of Letsbuy.com) in early 2014, TrulyMadly has been a dominant player in Indian dating market. Based on the preferences, the app brings like-minded peeps together.

Talking about the Indian dating market, Bhatia shared that the real market is in smaller towns and cities, which is vastly untouched and that is where the real opportunity is.

"It is still a very nascent market where predominantly the penetration is among the urban / semi-urban English speaking audience. The market is driven by a lot of repeat users and installs," he said.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Share personal information like phone numbers etc. only once you are very sure of the person you are chatting with.

  • If you decide to meet someone make sure it's in a cafe or a popular public space and always inform your best friend who you are meeting and where

Facebook

Woo

Founded by Sumesh Menon (CEO) and Ankit Nautiyal (CTO) in 2014, Woo is a matchmaking app that helps singles to connect with each other based on common interests.

When asked to describe the Indian dating market, Sumesh Menon, Co-Founder and CEO of Woo shared that with millions of active users, these dating apps are gaining immense popularity amongst young, urban singles looking out for a meaningful relationship.

"As India is rapidly transitioning from joint to nuclear families, conformist to the brave, collective to the individualistic, finding love is the next big adventure. Demanding careers, long commutes with time being life's most precious currency…in this kind of context, meeting someone special becomes quite challenging and people are acknowledging that by turning to technology to address this problem," said Menon.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Try out dating apps with reputation, read the reviews and information about them

  • Use apps which have verified profiles and a curated community

  • Protect your identity, personal information, and anonymity

  • Read complete profiles of matches and use apps which have features that promote conversations

  • Trust your instincts and don't be in a rush to meet your matches

Facebook

Happn

Founded in 2014, the French dating app Happn allows you to easily find the people you've crossed paths with in real life. According to Claire Certain, Head of Global Trends, Communications and Media at Happn, the Indian dating market is going really fast because you have so many connected people.

At present Happn is addressing singles living in big cities. Certain added that big cities like Delhi and Mumbai have approximately 100 million inhabitants which automatically convert them into their potential users.

"I think there is plenty of room for growth in Indian market and people are adopting the dating trend really fast these days. We launched a year ago and now we have approximately a million users. That's crazy," said Certain.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Just use your common sense and do exactly the same that you would do with anyone you could have known through friends or work.

  • No matter how you meet people when meeting them for the first time go in a public place and let someone know in your surrounding where you are. That's the minimum you can do.

Facebook: Bumble

Bumble

Whitney Wolfe Herd, Co-founder, Tinder, founded Bumble in 2014 shortly after leaving Tinder. Bumble, one of the fastest-growing dating-app in America uses Facebook account details (like your name, age, and occupation) to create a ready-to-go profile. The location-based social and dating app facilitates communication between interested users. In heterosexual matches, only female users can make the first contact with matched male users, while in same-sex matches either person can send a message first.

Regardless of competition in the dating industry, Sarah Jones Simmer, COO Bumble sees the Indian market as incredibly exciting.

"There are more than 300 Mn young adults excited to build romantic relationships. However, we also recognize that we are still learning and that what we've seen work in the US, UK, Australia, etc. will necessarily need to be adapted for the local context. Currently, Bumble is only available to a small test audience in India, but we're excited to learn and better understand the needs of the Indian consumer and how we can be relevant in their lives," said Jones.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Utilize the tools available to you to maximize your safety online and off.

  • When you are connecting on Bumble, rely on the value of verified profiles (so you can trust users are who they say they are), and if you do decide to connect offline, meet in a public place (like a Bumble Hive or Bumble Spot) and do your due diligence in advance.

Facebook: Aisle

Aisle

Matchmaking app Aisle, started by a Bengaluru-based startup Aisle Network Pvt Ltd. is a handpicked community of urban, like-minded Indians from around the world looking to have meaningful and long-lasting relationships.

Founded in July 2014 by Able Joseph, the dating app is targeted towards urban, independent Indians with taste and similar wavelengths. Sharing his views on the Indian market, Joseph said that the public sentiments for the billion-dollar online matrimony market in India are at an all-time low. While online dating seems to be the alternative trend that is catching on.

"Years of exposure of the Indian youth to western media has played an important part in making online dating more appealing. Other programmes on television and tabloid headlines on social media also encourage singles to find their own partner. Similarly, glorification of Indian celebrities in a relationship yet unmarried will push acceptance to online dating even further," he said.

Tips for Safer Online Dating:

  • Don't be catfished or get ghosted! Take your time to understand if the intentions of your potential date match yours. For instance, if you are looking for a meaningful relationship but the other person is in a hurry to meet at his place, disconnect and move on.

  • Have a wingman who knows the 'where, when and who' of your dates. Get friends and family involved as the relationship progresses.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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