“There was nothing that was relevant to most Indian urban professionals — namely, this idea of dating, but with a view to getting married.” “One of the first things my wife suggested when we were building FLOH was to take the women’s perspective,” says Siddharth Mangharam, who co-founded FLOH with his wife Simran and two other partners.“What they want to make sure is that the person is safe, the person is articulate and that there’s good chemistry [between them].” Both FLOH and Sirf Coffee take the exclusive route — you can’t just join, you have to go through a rigorous screening that includes detailed application forms and face-to-face interviews, either in person or through video-conferencing.“The idea is to bridge the gap between traditional values and modern expectations,” says Hiranandani, who started Sirf Coffee together with his sister Naina in 2008.A banker by profession, he had just returned to Mumbai from London and found many of his peers stressed about the nitty-gritty of dating and finding a life partner.With over 14 million daily swipes, the app has helped legitimise dating culture to some extent in a society that still has a patriarchal stranglehold over young people’s sex lives and marriage choices.
“The thesis of my company is that technology has destroyed courtship, because you can engage in multiple conversations without really having any skin in the game.The online matchmaking industry was centred around matrimonial sites like Shaadi.com, which saw great success by simplifying the complicated calculations of class, caste and community into a few clicks and keystrokes.A few local dating sites did exist, such as India Flirt and Online dating has proved a boon for the queer community in India, which has long suffered a lack of safe social spaces. Photo: G Ramakrishna When I last dipped my toes into the dating pool in 2007, online dating was considered the last resort for the desperate or the socially awkward.
Sure, the internet helped circumvent the many obstacles our conservative society put up to prevent young men and women from intermingling.
“The relationship is on a first-name basis,” says Hiranandani.