How this adtech professional launched a dating app for Indian users
Dating apps have been around in India for quite some time. However, evolving in a market where dating is traditionally considered taboo, has not been easy for local applications.
But the pandemic has arrived, and with it, a new normal. When everything from shopping to education has gone virtual, disrupting Internet businesses, why not go online to find the perfect date too!
According to Statista, dating apps are expected to be used by 4.3% of India’s population by 2025, up from 3% in 2021.
And on that wave, Bengaluru-based Jitesh Bisht launched, a dating app, in June 2020.
“We thought it was a good time to enter this market as more people beyond the subways are comfortable transacting on the Internet than compared to previous years,” Jitesh said in a statement. conversation with YourStory.
With an MBA from Christ University in Bangalore, Jitesh has always wanted to be an entrepreneur. During his studies he participated in many startup related events and started his career with InMobi, now an advertising unicorn.
Through this entrepreneurial endeavor, he strives to get people to start conversations with a new person. “One of the biggest problems for people on dating apps is starting to talk to a new person. And this behavior is quite common in non-metropolitan cities,” says Jitesh.
How it works
To overcome this inhibition, Meotida Pvt. Ltd. run the dating app provides topic suggestions that people can use to start their conversation. The app also claims to keep a very strict tab on reported accounts.
“We want people, and especially women, to feel safe on our app. And we also want them to be able to break the ice without coming out too hard, ”says Jitesh.
The target audience of the application is those between 18 and 65 years old. He adds that at least 60% of users come from cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, among others. Users from Tier II cities including Lucknow, Bhopal, Kanpur, Patna, and Surat also join the platform.
HiHi currently has more than 100,000 downloads, according to data available on the Google PlayStore. The Android-only app aims to get over 500,000 downloads in the coming months and is also in the process of launching an iOS app.
After giving users free access for the first six months, the makers of Hihi decided to put some functionality behind a paywall. While previous users could scan as many profiles as they wanted, now there is a limit of 15 free profiles per day. The app also has the video call feature, giving users the option to virtually go out.
There are weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual plans starting at Rs 90 and going up to Rs 2799.
“We’re also continuing to play around with a few seasonal discounts here and there to see how people respond. But we don’t want to make it a regular practice, ”Jitesh explains.
The low ticket sizes and monthly packages are for people looking to explore a few relationships, while the larger ticket sizes are designed for people looking for long-term relationships. Through these monetization models, the company claims to have started generating revenue since March 2021. The founder is refraining from revealing revenue figures as the company is still in a growth phase.
From now on, HiHi is acquiring users through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and also participates in some brand building exercises.
The market and the competition
There are between 30,000 and 40,000 active users per month on the application, which Jitesh aims to convert 5 to 10% in paid subscribers, which will help generate more income.
One of the biggest challenges Hihi faces is reducing the abandonment rate on the app. While people can download the app, they don’t always complete the registration process and may not even start trying the app. Sometimes, even after completing the process, people don’t use the app, Jitesh admits.
Hihi may have good prospects in the booming internet market, but it is competing with many local and international players including giants such as Tinder and Bumble, TrulyMadly, Delhi-based Abel Joseph-run Aisle, which is also expanding into regional languages, and BetterHalf, among others.
When asked about HiHi’s USP, Jitesh refers to his diverse background in advertising, influencer marketing, and gaming, all of which came together in the creation of the app. He adds that his understanding of analytics and low ticket size in-app purchase offerings also allows them to model the app based on customer interests.
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