This female entrepreneur’s dating and matchmaking app focuses on South Asian singles and parents

As a single South Asian woman in the United States, Nisha Mohan discovered that dating can become a very exhausting activity if you do it long enough.

“With the way dating apps are set up today, this results in endless, surface-level conversations that often lead to nothing fruitful. At the same time, it is customary in southern culture -Asian that your parents also help you find a partner,” says Nisha. His history.

“However, the search for parents is done separately through their own channels. In my mother’s case, she was manually going through hundreds of Facebook posts and messages on WhatsApp groups trying to find me a match. My brother and co-founder, Sishir, and I reflected on my experiences and realized that singles and parents had the same goal – finding a life partner – but conducted their search in silos, which led to problems. communication and inefficiencies,” she says.

As a UX researcher, Nisha felt it was important for her to really understand the problem. So she interviewed South Asian singles (male and female) and South Asian parents based in the United States and Canada. applications and the siled nature of parent matching – also extended to other members of the South Asian community.

Based on their insights from extensive user research and competitive analysis, they realized they had an opportunity to address key gaps in the dating industry for South Asians in the United States and in Canada. This data was fundamental in informing the design and construction of ISHQa South Asian dating and matchmaking app which allows singles to find love intentionally, on their own or with the help of family and friends.

For South Asian singles and parents

The “entrepreneurial fire” runs in Nisha’s family. His grandfather was the first to take the risk and built a locomotive business in Bangalore. Following in his footsteps, his uncle built a business in the same industry.

Nisha holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and an MS in human-computer interaction and works as a user experience (UX) researcher. She was born and raised in Bengaluru, India until she was 10 years old, and moved with her family to Minnesota in the United States. Since then, she has moved nearly 10 times and lived in several states in the Midwest and West Coast of the United States. Nisha is based in Seattle, Washington.

Explaining the problem behind ISHQ, Nisha says, “ISHQ is unique in many ways. We wanted to focus on creating something that catered to the needs of South Asian singles and parents. Culturally, having parents involved in the dating process is common among South Asians. Since the goal of finding a mate occurs in a very siled way between singles and parents, we designed ISHQ so that both groups can actively cooperate and communicate on one platform, and achieve their common goal of finding a mate. life partner.

She says it was also important not to create another addictive and playful dating app that would lead to what she and many others experience today, a sense of dread when it comes to dating. .

“There is no dating avenue and app that prioritizes the needs of South Asian women, and we wanted to change that. The core setup and features were informed by women’s behavior, needs, and experiences. South Asians when it comes to dating, and were designed to empower women and enhance their dating experience,” she adds.

According to Nisha, some characteristics that make ISHQ unique include:

  • You only receive three profiles per day in your daily selections. You’ll receive them at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST, and these change daily.
  • Once you match with someone, the whole app turns into a chat and you won’t see any other profiles. That way, you can focus on making a meaningful connection with that person. To return to viewing other profiles, you must unlink the person you are chatting with.
  • Singles can invite their friends and family to the app as “matchmakers”. Matchmakers can also view profiles daily and have the option to send them to singles or other matchmakers they know on the platform. Both parties must be on the app in order to view and share profiles.
  • To encourage women to ask what they need before making a decision on a profile, a “maybe” feature can be added. They can choose “maybe” to save and review the profile later or request more information (more photos or answers to prompts) before making a decision.

Its co-founder, Sishir, holds a BS and MS in computer engineering and currently works as a product manager. He designed and built ISHQ from the ground up and brings his product and technical expertise to ISHQ.

For meaningful and lasting relationships

ISHQ the target audience and product is currently focused on the United States and Canada.

“We target single South Asian men and women between the ages of around 22 and 35, based in the United States or Canada. We target those who are looking for meaningful, long-term relationships within the South Asian community and are willing to involve their community members (trusted friends and/or family) to help them through the process,” says Nisha.

The app is currently free.

“We always test our product and features with our users and don’t focus on generating revenue,” she says.

Although there are many dating apps, Nisha considers Hinge, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel like its direct competitors. In the South Asian domain, its competitors are Dil Mil and Mirchi when it comes to dating apps, as well as websites like Shaadi.com and Bharat Matrimony.

“However, none of these apps offer the unique features that we offer, in particular bringing friends/family and singles together on one platform, and prioritizing the needs of South Asian women by indexing intentionality and focusing on dating. We continue to stick to our uniqueness, user needs and creativity to enhance the South Asian dating experience,” she says.

Nisha says ISHQ has received tremendous support from the South Asian community, especially South Asian women.

Its biggest challenge has been repeated rejections from Apple’s App Store. Apple considers dating apps spam, even though ISHQ is a cultural niche, unique from other South Asian dating apps with the matchmaking component. It is currently on Testflight for iOS users.

“We plan to continue listening to our users’ needs and feedback, promoting ISHQ, and innovating with the features we release. We want to explore areas of funding by applying to accelerators to help us grow and expand our offerings,” says Nisha.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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