Interview with Harsh Vardhan from Marrily “Online Matchmaking App”

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YEF – Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Harsh – I have been excited about the Internet since 1997 when I was 9 and used dial up modem for reading India today and checking mail on hyper terminal. I have witnessed the entire revolution right from the days of desktop portals to mobile applications and was always ahead of the curve. The Internet is not just a great leveler but it is also that one medium whose impact transcends geographies, race, creed and culture. I earned my master’s degree in materials science from IIT Kanpur in 2014. Since then, I had worked in a share market investment firm as products manager where I developed competitive strategies, wire framed mobile apps, and wrote deep algorithms for business intelligence and trading.

YEF – Why an entrepreneur, y not a high paying job?

Harsh – Entrepreneur is a very vague term and I believe that most of the time it is used to classify people who are doing something that they believe in. At the end of the day when you start something on your own, you also have a job. And when you are working with an establishment or a firm you are also starting up every day at work. It all boils down to your attitude towards the task at hand.

Personally I have always followed solutions to real problems. Be it entertainment, marketing or lifestyle, it is all about identifying problems which can be solved using technology and my career graph demonstrates that. Is compensation a factor? Of course it is a reality that nobody can run away from. You just need to build your support systems and I have been extremely lucky with that, be it my family, friends or network.

YEF – What inspired you to start your own businesses?

Harsh – Having an urge to create a new value or wide spread implement a created value steers me to working on my idea. Taking forward the startup with pumping in brain and muscles, networking, and a trust in the value that I am creating, opens up a higher taste.

YEF – What is your company into and what problem does it solve?

Harsh – Marrily is an attempt to solve the arranged marriage matrimonial matchmaking in India. There are a bunch of realities that have created a gap between the match seekers. That includes high advertising cost on newspaper classifieds and websites; no photos or preferences in newspapers and many cases on websites, that makes you actually discover a suitable candidate; fake and glorified profiles that are created by dating seekers; overwhelming number of profiles listing which makes it near to impossible that a profile strikes you; a fear of demeaning rejection by the others; and finally, a lack of personalized search space.

We saw that this gap can be filled by using technology. All the major realities that are told above can be targeted as a separate problem and later, all these solutions can be merged into one single application that would provide mobility to the seeker as well as a choice to look for a lifelong partner from a set of seekers who are equally inclined towards getting married.

YEF – Tell us more about your brand name?

Harsh – Marrily derives from the word ‘Happily’. While this startup aims that the user shall be happy while searching for a partner, and happy to find a great partner, Marrily is an apt name.

YEF – How did the idea for your company come about?

Harsh – The identification of a problem and the non-availability of a solution helped with our decision. 2 of our founders are also in the marriage market ironically and the shared frustrating experience on existing platforms made us decide to build a platform where we would like to be on.

YEF – What are key services you are providing which are differentiator from the rest?

Harsh – Differentiator – Our USP is the experience we are bringing to our users. At the end of the day we are solving a very specific problem for the user and we are making the search for a partner a beautiful experience. The process of arranged marriage can be very stressful in an Indian setting and we want to remove that stress from our users’ lives. How will we do it? We are addressing it via product (verified profiles, better matching through AI, learning the taste of individual user, privacy, filters, and feedback mechanisms) and user acquisition by going after the best profiles via brand positioning and specific targeting. On Marrily, the chances of a mismatch is considerably less than any other platforms out there.

YEF – What is the pricing strategy and marketing strategy you have been using?

Harsh – We are not looking at monetization as yet. Marketing strategy is to curve out a niche for the brand and go after a particular set of individuals as users. We plan to use content as the way forward for our marketing strategy. Watch this space.

YEF – How’s the business going on and who are your key clients?

Harsh – We have launched the product a month back and already the response has been very encouraging. We are not just getting the right set of users, but also the engagement inside the app is higher than the category standards. While it is too early to say this for sure, we know that we are right path and we will keep innovating.

YEF – Your current target regions and future plans?

Harsh – We are going aggressively for the urban markets in India and our mid to long term plans are to continue building the platform and make it the best platform for marriages.

YEF – What do you think are the most important factors that will make your company a success?

Harsh – Innovation, culture and people.

YEF – Who are your role models?

Harsh – Anybody who is innovating is a role model for me. I have seen some amazing people like our local street food and beverage vendors who have been constantly innovating without focusing on being glamorous. That is the reason why fancy restaurants may come and go, but your local chaiwaala rarely goes out of business. Right from the chai types (product), stall location & layout (positioning) and pricing, you can see that they know what they are doing, except that nobody told them that they are following a strategy guidebook.

YEF – What words of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs?

Harsh – Be clear of what you are trying to build and objective. Is it a personal project or a problem that you are trying to solve. There is enough space for any product in the world no matter how bizarre or outlandish it might seem initially. Build. Break. Innovate. Repeat.

YEF – What do you think about this initiative of youth entreprennovators forum?

Harsh – Thumbs Up.

Originally published by Youth Entreprennovators Forum.


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