Bangalore-based matchmaking startup Aisle has raised about $183K (INR 1.25 Cr) in its Pre-Series A round.
The round was led by Anand Vijay, a Bay Area-based angel investor on TermSheet.io and jointly advised and syndicated with ah! Ventures. The round saw participation of Anand Chandrasekaran, Chief Product Officer of Snapdeal (who has previously invested in Pluss/Gigstart, Audeze, InnerChef, Instalively) and Mekin Maheshwari, former Chief People Officer with Flipkart, Akshay Syal, Richard Kim, Jana Pokkalla and Manish Gautam.
The startup plans to utilise the funds primarily for building a strong team and effective partnerships.
Founded in 2014 by Able Joseph, Aisle.co, is a matchmaking platform for singles that has evolved keeping in mind the new age Indians. The startup does not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach and hence right from the point of registration on the site, it maintains a high levels of screening and filtering of its audience to maintain top notch quality of its offering.
“There is a crucial gap of a lack of a trustworthy matchmaking platform for individuals trying to find a match with a genuine intention of settling down, is something Aisle.co addresses,” said Able.
Filling The Gap
India as a culture, is comparatively quite new to the idea of dating as compared to the west but given the cultural globalization and the lifestyle of financial independence that the Indians are experiencing, this concept in its unique way, is rapidly finding its way in the lives of today’s audience. Although in spite of this change, the idea of dating and courtship via the digital medium still remains naïve. The audience is unfortunately offered extreme options of either platforms encouraging casual dating, which do not interest the ones looking for serious relationships or the other option of matrimonial websites, which again bound the new age audience to marriage without even giving the relationship between the partners, a chance to evolve. This crucial need gap of a lack of a trustworthy matchmaking platform for individuals trying to find a match with a genuine intention of settling down, is something Aisle.co, as a brand aims to address.
The startup positions itself between portals like Tinder and Shaadi.com as it is more like a disrupted version of the traditional Indian matchmaking with the twist that couple spends time before they decide if they are ready to settle down.
Harshad Lahoti, Founder and CEO of ah! Ventures, said,
Online dating has seen very little innovation in the past couple of decades. Rarely do we see a dating app that is monetized from day one. When Aisle reached out to us, we instantly realized the potential in the product, the execution and the traction that it had gained. We’re excited to join Aisle in its journey of helping more of the 37 million single Indians from around the world, in successfully finding their partners.
- It gets over 500-800 registrations per day
- The startup has over 25% of the registered base who are connected with each other along with hundreds of crafted relationships.
- Male-female ratio is 5:3
- It has users from more than 50 countries – India, USA, UK, Singapore, UAE and the top 5 community size is 35K users.
Despite a good traction that the online dating sites are receiving, the idea of dating and courtship via digital medium remains naïve in India as compared to the western countries. There are various other online dating apps like TrulyMadly, OkCupid, Tinder and Woo that are currently active in India.
Tinder recently announced its first international office in the country with the appointment of Taru Kapoor as India Head. Another online dating and match-making startup, TrulyMadly, is aggressive with its establishment. It has witnessed over 1,000,000 installations with the growth at 100% month on month basis, in terms of downloads. TrulyMadly had raised $5 Mn (INR 35 Cr.) in March 2015, from Helion Venture Partners and Kae Capital. Tinder witnesses over 7.5 Mn swipes in India each day and according to Truly Madly, people spend over 40 minutes every day on its app.
Besides, Matrimony.com which runs BharatMatrimony.com, launched Matchify.com in April last year and People Group, which runs Shaadi.com, invested in mobile dating app – Thrill. iCrushiFlush raised Pre-Series A funding from IDG Ventures.
Banihal is another startup which raised funding from Dr. David Cheriton, the billionaire Computer Science Prof. from Stanford University who was also the one who wrote first check for Google. Banihal has developed a neuroscience based algorithm to give users 5 recommendations which are likely to lead to marriage.
Prior to this, Aisle.co had raised $100K in seed round of funding led by several executives from Internet majors in the Bay Area and India.
Sonia Pradhan, TermSheet.io’s COO said
TermSheet.io focusses on identifying interesting startups that attract the attention of product-focused angels and firms looking for outliers. Aisle.co checks on all of these boxes. We love what Aisle is building. And that is why this is the second time we have facilitated a round for Aisle on our platform. We believe in introducing interesting investors to high-calibre founders like Able and both Mekin Maheshwari and Anand Chandrasekaran fit this profile.”
This was also TermSheet.io’s first follow on round.
Bivin Benny – Director, User Relations (ex-Ogilvy, ex-Flipkart.com) and Razee Marikar – CTO (ex-Amazon, ex-Akamai) are also part of startup’s team.