In today’s chapter of Verzeo’s Startup stories, we will be talking about India’s first online match-making startup Shaadi.com. Founded by Anupam Mittal in 1997 as sagaai.com Anu[am later changed its name to Shaadi.com in 1999 as he considered the later would be a more marketable name.
The company did not show much success in the earlier years of its operations as intern adoption in India was poor in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But over the course of the next 15 years as internet adoption in India increased people became more open to the concept of online matchmaking.
Alright, this was a brief overview of what is Shaadi.com. Now, let us dive deep into this topic and see this idea of online matchmaking came into existence in those time when there was not much internet activity in India.
Anupam Mittal was studying in the U.S during the 1990s and later joined the company MicroStrategy. He used to come back home once every year. During his stay at home in India, he used to do some web development work for other companies. Seeing the internet boom in the U.S he always wanted to do some business related to the internet back in India.
In 1997, during his visit back home, he was sitting in his father’s office when a traditional matchmaker came and tried to match him off with someone for his wedding. Anupam tried to get rid of him and during this process, a brilliant idea struck his mind. He thought that he could put all this on the Internet, take away all the inefficiencies and address the geographical and spatial limitations to start an online matchmaking company.
Moving forward with this new found idea he started his first venture sagaai.com in 1997 which he later changed it into shaadi.com in 1999. He quit his job in the U.S in 2001 and permanently started working on this business.
The revenue model of shaadi.com is straight forward. Anyone can come on the site and make a profile online. Suppose “Person A” finds “Person B” and is interested in. “Person A” can send an [Indication of] interest to “Person B”. “Person B” can accept or decile the request. It’s all free up to this point. If “Person B” accepts the invitation then they would have to pay a nominal fee (ranging from US $60 to US $400) to take the conversation forward.
The entire money earned from the fees goes to the company. Three is no third party involved where they would have to share their earning.
In 2009, Shaadi.com collaborated with Star Plus to launch India’s first marriage-based reality television show.
In 2012, it launched the Facebook game Angry Brides to bring awareness to dowry abuses in India.
In 2014, Shaadi.com launched Shaadi Cares, a social initiative to educate people regarding marital issues, including dowry and domestic violence.
In 2016, Shaadi.com acquired Thrill Group, a startup that included two dating products, FRIVIL and Fropper