LGBTQ Series: Delta App Founder Ishaan Sethi on Why the Need for a Dating App Exclusively for the Community Exists
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Ishaan Sethi, the founder of India’s first LGBTQ dating app, is proud to have launched the first home-grown app for the community.
In a chat, Sethi spoke about why the need for an Indian app for the Indian LGBTQ community exists and why no America-made app can work for India.
“We are an app that is contextualized to the unique challenges faced by the community in India that however may and can extent to the various geographical areas from around the world where the community has been marginalized,” Sethi told Entrepreneur India.
He said the apps from the West are created for the context of the region. Specifically in the US, there is social acceptance for the LGBTQ community and there is no need to hide one’s identity.
“There is no real problem of blackmail and extortion and we have seen time and again that when that app comes to India all these problems have arisen, the problem does not remain confined to the online space where they are operating. There has been tremendous number of horror stories of extortion, rape, bribery, blackmail and sexual harassment,” Sethi said.
Sethi believes the app is creating a safe place for users to meet verified, like-minded people through powerful security and compatibility methods. “Delta community will empower a secure space for users to explore shared interests, access peer networks and engage in discussions and forums. The app has the applicability wherever the community has been marginalized because the features were catering to the safety and security of the users and the privacy of our users and very importantly an app that caters to the entire community rather than a particular segment,” he said.
Sethi started working on the Delta app a year and half ago but it was launched six months ago. Sethi has been able to raise seed fund from seven different LGBTQ members, Indian HNI Sachin Bhatia, former founder of MakeMyTrip, and Rahul Kumar, co-founder of dating app Truly Madly and a Chinese venture capital firm.
It is a social network app with three components: Dating, matchmaking and community aspects in terms of discussion forum. The Delta Network is slated to provide a centralized space for users to find LGBT-inclusive venues, businesses, professionals and other resources in addition to a calendar of events, across India.
Delta Network has a list of forum like events which helps you stay updated to the coolest LGBTQ events around you and add them to your calendar next is places that can know about brands which have taken the Delta Equality pledge to be more LGBTQ inclusive and lastly brands where you can get the list of the restaurants, cafes and bars around you.
Sethi crowd-funded the first 10 lakh rupees needed to launch the app. “90 per cent of the donors were not LGBTQ but allies who believed in equality. Section 377 never made it illegal to be gay or for a gay person to create business catering to the gay community. Now after Section 377 repealed, people are coming out and more brands want to work with us,” explained Sethi.
Sethi believes the app is a great platform for users as its safe and more importantly it connects the people of the community pan-India. He is now looking to set his eyes to the skies but wants to take it one step at a time.
“As a US-return gay man, I have ambitions that are far greater than this one app for the community. One of the first things that Delta has done has been to bring the community which is rather fragmented in India together. We have actually become a glue that started and bringing the community together; here we will take this model with due testing to other geographies with similar context,” said Sethi.