In Indian tradition, the concept of arrange marriage was rooted long ago. But with change in trends, today’s youth looks forward to go on dates, and know their partners well in advance before any sort of commitment. Social media platforms and online dating sites are playing a great role in this. However, sites like Facebook are crowded with random friend requests, dating sites are lacking credibility and trust.
Cogxio, a Bangalore based venture of IIT Kharagpur alumnus, Layak Singh and Kinshuk Bairagi, is one platform trying to sort this out. The basic idea is to enable people to have meaningful interactions, meaningful relationships, and finally a place to share their feelings with each other. “We are trying to make it into a real life interaction platform and not just another profile directory” said Layak.
Going the engineers way, the startup name is being derived from the founders streams in the college. COG -> used in mechanical engineering for connecting gears to each other, XIO -> used in Electronics Engineering for similar group.
How it Began?
During a college fest, Layak and Kinshuk noticed the excitement floating in the air with the arrival of outside students (especially girls!). This paved the way for dateIITians.com, a platform where everyone can connect with each other. The duo also took care of avoiding the chances of getting hooked with fake identities by keeping the id cards as the primary registration key.
30000+ flirts, 10000+ crushes and more than 5000+ proposals on the platform lead to the conceptualisation of Cogxio in May 2013 and the first phase launch in August earlier this year.
Majority of the existing startups such as Onlinedatingindia.org, QuackQuack.in, etc. work on the old concept of matchmaking or are providing a dating platform to a group of niche customers. Than, there are others outside India such as Match, eHarmony or Tinder, still under the debate as to how they are securing the identity of their users.
Cogxio is different from others due to its 3 stage verification process to restrict fake profiles to clog the site, a unique platform for people to interact with members having known their compatibility and a medium that claims to make women feel safe about their identity and safety. More than these free services, it also provide the users with options to plan their travel, eating out with buddies or with a date or share their interests and plan an event.
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Market Opportunity – Domestic vs International
The founders are initially targeting the youth and couples both, in countries such as India, China, UK, USA and Canada. With Indian youth adopting the change in trend as they are looking outside of arranged marriages, the founders find the market quite promising.
“Till now only 10% are captured market in India in this sector that means it has miles to go yet. For COGXIO, this market will be ideally mature in next 3-5 years,” said Layak.
Some notable facts:
- There are more than 200 Mn singles in China (Under age 30) , more than 80 Mn Singles in USA (under age 30), and so on.
- In India, there are more than 80 Mn singles under age 35 and 75% online users under the age of 15-34.
- The Indian dating market is USD 100’s of millions in respect to global dating market of more than USD 4.1 Bn. Whereas markets are growing globally at 3.21X each year, in India it is growing as 8X each year.
- The online gifting market in India is more than USD 5 billion, and advertising spending is more than USD 100 billion.
- The internet penetration is growing by 2.34X each year in India with a target to reach more than 200 million online users by end of 2015.
- Also, there are more than 900 mobile users in India and increasing rapidly.
- In terms of Global market, the business segment is of more than USD 4 billion only in online dating and in gifting it is USD 50 billion in online itself.
Traction so far
The startup continued with its earlier registered user base created at the time of dateIITians.com. Considering this, its difficult to assume how many active profiles it would be having. However, as the founders claim, they see more than 500% growth on a monthly basis, since the 1st phase launch in mid of Aug 2014.
The profile includes of users under age 35, belong to professionals from Google, Microsoft, Entrepreneurs, and elite universities for example IIT, IIM, NIT, Doctors, Harvard, MIT, DCE, BITS and more.
Also, the company has targeted to reach half million ‘REAL’ users by the end of 3rd Phase launch in November and 5 Millions of ‘REAL’ users by 2016.
Funding and Business Model
Currently, it is an open platform, working on pay as you go model. However, it do provide premium services such as expert advice on makeover, relationships, beauty etc., monthly matchbook, and pay as you go gifting services. It also offers facility to buying movie tickets together, plan for dinner, event or place with buddies, plan for weekend out, and more.
The founders have initially invested INR 25 lakhs and the maximum investment went for resource hiring. Also, they are looking to raise more funds soon.
Near Future Plans
Cogxio is focusing on building media platform (www.cogxio.tv) which produces short movies, lifestyle guide and more, and allows sponsorships, advertising. There are plans to launch Android app soon and are also setting up Cogxio Data Research Lab, to predict consumer behavior, attitude, nature, and their activities with help of machine learning, and Big Data.