“The most important decision you’ll ever make is your choice of spouse” – Warren Buffet
Traditionally, in India this most important decision involve parents. From placing ads in newspapers or creating profiles on matrimony sites, shortlisting prospects, arranging meetings to convincing who to marry, parents have for long played the role of a Matchmaker. It is no surprise that online matrimony services, such as Shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony.com, have been targeting parents for their services. It is estimated that annually 10 Million Indians use online matrimony services to find a spouse. But surprisingly, success is on the lower side; only 4% of 23.4 Mn marriages happened via online channels in 2015. Compared to US or China, our success rate is less by an order of 10. It perhaps means that something is broken and this space is ripe for disruption.
With changing times, one would agree that the role of parents in matchmaking is diminishing. The young, educated and independent Indian wants to take matters into their own hands. Already used to taking important decisions of life such as career, investments, etc. they’re increasingly relying less on family and relatives for this decision as well. Here comes Marrily. To help singles find a life partner, Marrily, a mobile app based service (currently for Android users only) with social trust and intelligence as its bedrock, is a “geeky but friendly” matchmaker that connects mutually interested people and helps them take relationship to the next stage.
It was Sourabh’s, Co-founder of Marrily, own experience with online match-finding that convinced him of the need for Marrily. He summarizes his experience on online matrimony sites as “strangers acting strange”. Marrily aims to make partner search easier and better for singles. With all its potential users already active on social media, it uses their social graph for authentication and for knowing a person better beyond the usual details provided by users. The team is currently working on using social graph for personality mapping which will provide a great deal of insight about the person. Singles can sign up on Marrily only using Facebook – which is required for authenticating key profile details. Next, users are required to take and submit a selfie that is matched with their Facebook photographs for additional authentication. Once users complete their profile, Marrily’s proprietary algorithm starts recommending the best possible matches. Users can anonymously “like” or “reject” suggested matches and get connected but only when “like” is mutual. With every “like” or “reject”, Marrily learns about users’ preferences better and serves more relevant matches in future. It offers an experience that is starkly different from that on matrimony sites – no unwanted solicitation by members or their family, no fakes, no bombardment of irrelevant profiles, no unwanted interference and no ignominy of rejection.
Marrily is currently available for free. It plans to introduce both subscription based plans and a host of services for its users. The services will be available to users when they’re matched with someone and would be aimed at enhancing their experience in partner search. Marrily will act as a marketplace for such services. Subscriptions will be benchmarked with existing subscription plans of online matchmakers. With slightly over 10,000 users on Marrily currently, it plans to monetize beginning with subscription services and adding services later on.
With millions of Indians in marriageable age bracket, right targeting and a great product can catapult the market from the current size of Rs 1,000 Cr. It is possible to create a billion dollar business in this space. With currently low share of online matchmaking and sheer difference in size of singles segment, mobile internet users in the age range 25-35 years, and parents segment, online users in 55 years plus age range, this appears possible.
The promising segment of online matrimony matchmaking has had investors interested and quite a few investors are taking bet on disruption. Healthcaremagic founder Kunal Sinha invested in Marrily at the idea stage. He likens the possibility of disruption in this partner search market with the job search market and believes a Linkedin like disruption is possible in this space as well. At the moment Marrily is raising USD 200 K being led some leading investors in the start-up space. Half of the proceeds will go into product development and the remaining on user acquisition. Initially, Marrily will focus on educated, working and independent singles living in the top 4 cities. Its marketing campaigns will largely be over social media and native app channels. Marrily will look to build user base both via organic and paid channels. On the organic side, blogs, PR, social media posts, viral videos, etc. will help drive both awareness and installs. On the inorganic side, Facebook advertisements, re-marketing and native app advertisements will be used for user acquisition.
Marrily’s vision is fairly simple – “Anyone looking to marry, should try Marrily at least once”. It has just made the beginning and the journey is a long one. But the team at Marrily is all raring to run the course. “Our key motivation is to help people find success and we’ll do everything to make that happen”, summarized Sourabh.
Originally published by BWDisrupt.