This dating app calls itself high intent and claims to be different from either casual dating apps as well as matrimonial sites.
While online dating apps, such as Tumblr and Bumble, provide opportunities for a quick date for those hungry for romance, matrimonial sites, such as Shadi.com and Jeevansathi.com, are for the more marriage minded.
What if there were a service that provided something of both, i.e., a discreet way to find a serious relationship that could turn into a commitment? Aisle, a Bangalore based high intent dating app, is designed for people of Indian-origin from around the world who are looking for serious relationships.
The Tech Panda spoke to Founder and CEO, Able Joseph, who says their app is for those looking for more serious and long-term relationships.
On casual dating apps, the intent is sort of unestablished, but on high intent dating apps, you already know that everybody’s looking for a long-term meaningful relationship
“We call ourselves a high intent dating app. On casual dating apps, the intent is sort of unestablished, but on high intent dating apps, you already know that everybody’s looking for a long-term meaningful relationship,” he explains.
Joseph was inspired to design the platform after moving abroad and finding it difficult to connect with like-minded people. Tired of the casual dating scene and gamified swiping apps as a whole, he created Aisle.
When Joseph started Aisle in July 2014, it was a website for a closed community.
“When we launched, it was an alternative to matrimony websites, for people who were looking for something more than arranged marriages, a courtship to get to know someone and then decide if marriage is the right thing to do or not,” says the 30 year old, who found hos own life partner on Aisle as well.
He adds that everybody in the community was handpicked, so that people had to apply for membership. Applications were then scanned for up to seven days, during which the Aisle team dug up information about the person through social media or talked with them on phone. They followed this process for three years, which gave then the loyal following they have today.
When we launched, it was an alternative to matrimony websites, for people who were looking for something more than arranged marriages, a courtship to get to know someone and then decide if marriage is the right thing to do or not
“Aisle was very discreet. People who were on it were not really talking and ranting about it because, finding a partner during those days online in itself was a secretive sort of an affair,” he says.
Eventually, when the success rate turned out to be quite high and there was more demand than they could meet, they opened Aisle up to everyone.
No Likes or Swipes
Aisle has several unique features, which compared to casual dating apps, indicate a target base that is more serious than a casual romance. For example, Aisle has fields like faith, mother tongue, community, and height, information that are often sought on matrimonial sites.
“I think these things are not important unless you’re like looking for somebody in a very serious sort of way,” says Joseph.
Global dating apps usually seek churn, which means if a user isn’t single for too long, they lose business. Aisle refrains from the feature of likes and swipes and is completely against gamification of dating apps. The site applies much game theory to ensure that the free commodities they offer are limited and scarce so that users use them sparingly.
Scarcity is what gives each of these commodities value, versus a casual dating app with hundreds of likes
For example, they have a feature called Invites, a monthly subscription in which, a paid user gets not more than five daily invites for INR 1,000. If the user sends the invite to someone and they decline it, the user can reuse their invite.
They also have a feature called Roses that users can send to other users to indicate their interest. However, a user is entitled to 22 roses for free in a month.
“Scarcity is what gives each of these commodities value, versus a casual dating app with hundreds of likes. We think if that was the case, people wouldn’t take other members seriously,” he explains.
Aisle Feature: Philosophy
While the app has a paid search feature, where users can seek people with parameters such as age, height, or can also filter by country, their philosophy section provides detailed information about a profile. The idea is to reveal a user´s worldview, which could be diagonally opposite to what one is looking for.
“I think everybody has a certain kind of a lifestyle and a philosophy of how they go about their daily activity. With philosophy, in a click, you can reveal if you are a spontaneous person or if you’re farsighted,” says Joseph.
The feature lets users reveal serious opinions like preference for adoption or conception, belief in evolution or creation, which says Joseph, can prove crucial when looking for long term relationships, where the question of kids or God is eventually going to pop up.
Aisle Feature: Interest Meters
Even a section like Hobbies, which are the basics of every dating or matrimonial site, has something extra on Aisle. Not only can users select the hobbies they have, but through a feature called interest meters, they can rate how much they are into a hobby by rating it on a scale of 1-10.
“If we just went out and asked somebody, Hey, do you read books? I think everybody would say yes, but on Aisle, you can show on a scale of 1-10 how much you’re interested in it. I think that tells you what that person is like. And it just makes it easier for the other person to get to know you a little more before you start to connect and take the next steps,” Joseph says.
Aisle claims to have more success stories per 1,000 users than any other platform in the country. The app has streamed over 10,000 minutes of conversations per day, a figure that they expect to increase 20x by 2021.
Today, the site has acquired over three million users, 9% of whom are NRIs from across 100 countries. . Joseph informs that all of them came through organically.
“We’ve not spent a penny to market outside India,” says Joseph proudly.
Since its founding, Aisle has raised INR 3.7 crores from some of the biggest angel investors in the country, including serial entrepreneur Sanjay Mehta, Facebook Director, Anand Chandrashekaran, and Udhyam founder, Mekin Maheshwari.
The dating app spectrum that includes casual online dating apps and matrimonial sites, Aisle falls in the middle. While that makes sites like Tinder, Bumble, and even Shadi, their competitors, Joseph says, they don´t count anyone as a direct competitor.
Romance is Making a Comeback
COVID-19 brought in lockdowns that spiked the numbers for dating apps in general. Aisle was no exception. Since April 2020, Aisle has seen an increase in matches in tier 2 cities by 22.85%; increase in matches per user by 19.49%; increase in likes sent by 52.72% among men, and by 14.49% among women.
I think romance has made a comeback to the limelight. A lot more people want to have these long-term relationships
Joseph says that while initially, the numbers rose because of both bored and lonely people, later the serious ones continued on Aisle.
“I think towards the second half, after the noise cleared out, people who are really looking to be in a relationship stuck on. And I think that there’s a lot more of those today than before. So compared to last year, I think romance has made a comeback to the limelight. A lot more people want to have these long-term relationships,” he concludes.