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Rediff.com  » Business » Now a matrimonial site that lets you play Cupid

Now a matrimonial site that lets you play Cupid

Last updated on: November 19, 2010 12:39 IST

Now a matrimonial site that lets you play Cupid

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Puja Banta in Mumbai

Here's your chance to play Cupid. If you have single friends who are looking to get married, take advantage of the new concept of social matrimony to get them to meet like-minded people.

A web site called Youpid.in will help you do this.

Traditionally in India, we all have members of family who like to play matchmakers by trying to hook up singles to distant relatives or other people known to them, thereby playing the proverbial Cupid. This is the basic idea behind Youpid -- You be the Cupid!

Started by Ruchika Abbi and Akash Saxena, who are a couple themselves, this web site helps singles find matches through their friends. Rediff.com spoke to Youpid's founders Ruchika and Akash to find out more about this novel concept.

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Image: Ruchika Abbi and Akash Saxena.
Photographs: Courtesy, Youpid.com
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What is Youpid? Could you give us details about how it works?

Youpid is a smarter matrimonial site -- one that uses social networking as its core. As a user looking to get married, you create your social network focussed solely on matrimony.

Youpid finds trusted singles from near and far as your extended network grows in ways that you could never accomplish manually. You are assured of knowing prospective single matches through a series of mutual friends, thus bringing a social context to the matrimonial process.

In this way, Youpid provides an opportunity for friends to help their single friends. As more people join the extended social network, trusted matches increase exponentially.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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How did you think of starting a social matrimony web site?

We have always seen very closely the trouble that our friends and family went through to find a partner through the arranged marriage route. I had been looking to start my own venture and was looking for a suitable idea that excited me.

Just around that time my husband's cousin was looking for an arranged marriage match and it was simply hell!

At that time, social networks were bursting onto the scene and I wondered why nobody had applied social networking to online matrimony! That's how I came up with the idea of Youpid.

Once formulated, it seemed strange that nobody had attempted to build a product like Youpid! The concept instantly hit home and its value proposition was immediately apparent to my husband and me.

To think that culturally, as a society, we had gone from finding a match for matrimony being a social process (parents, relatives and friends reaching out in their contacts and finding a match) to an isolated crapshoot where anonymity was assumed by default seemed unthinkable once we hit upon the concept of Youpid.

We baked the idea some more and ran it past some mentors to get our product right. In this we also had the help of our cousins and family who had just experienced all the pain points of standard online matrimony to help us better formulate Youpid as a solution that worked.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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What were the initial challenges in setting up? How did you cope with them?

We're a small team with a limited budget so we try to make the most of what we have. Our competition is well established and consumers today have been exposed only to the Matrimony 1.0 (newspaper classifieds) or Matrimony 2.0 (online classifieds) and this process is frustrating and often yields no results.

We're introducing consumers to Matrimony 3.0, a fresh way to look at matrimony. However, this requires a change in mindset and some initial groundwork which poses the most significant challenge.

The other challenge we face is marketing. Social media is all right, but offline marketing has to occur to cross the next threshold and that costs a fair amount of money, so it's always ensuring that you balance your rupee!

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What kind of investment was required to start the venture and where did you get the funding from?

Akash and I decided to fund this venture from our own funds. A software start-up doesn't immediately require a huge influx of funds.

Apart from our time and effort, there was a certain cash component that we had computed that would be needed which we funded ourselves.

What is your business model? What kind of fees do you charge for various services?

Youpid is currently in free beta. We are working towards a formal launch at which time we will launch a subscription-based service. We're still working out various details of the plan itself; however, one thing is sure, that the site will always remain free for Cupids (friends & family).

How are you marketing Youpid?

We are using the power of social media to promote Youpid. Youpid has an active presence on Facebook and Twitter and our brand is well recognised on these forums. We are also quite active in the start-up community and that also helps us spread the word about Youpid.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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Tell us something about your backgrounds.

Ruchika: I grew up in Baroda and hold a BE (Computer Science) from MSU Baroda. I completed my Masters (Computer Science) from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

I started my career with Siebel Systems, post which I had a stint with a financial consulting firm Randomwalk Consulting, which has now been acquired by Accenture.

I moved back to India in late 2005 after living in the United States for almost 8 years and since then have been active in the Mumbai start-up community and social media scene.

In addition to my full time venture Youpid, I also teach IT-related subjects at Sinhgad Institute of Business Management (Chandivali).

Akash: I grew up in Pune and hold a BE (Computer Science) from Govt. College of Engineering (COEP), Pune. I completed my Masters (Computer Science) from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

I worked at Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd. prior to leaving for my masters and since then have worked at a series of start-ups in the US.

Currently, along with my co-founder role at Youpid which I work on in my personal time, I work for OpenTable.com.

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What do you have to say about the start-up ecosystem in India?

The start-up ecosystem in India is simply amazing. The buzz and enthusiasm at start-up events and online start-up forums is really something.

Some things are still raw, but the landscape is maturing really quickly with investors flocking to India and various forums starting up for entrepreneurs to get help.

There are now so many networking and showcase events that entrepreneurs can attend that it's easy to connect with other entrepreneurs and help to fuel your own passion and vet your idea.

The Indian youth story is front and center in the start-up eco-system; increasingly we see a lot of younger professionals taking the start-up plunge which is very encouraging!


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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