I was born and brought up in Jaipur. I completed a BE in CS and an MBA in Marketing and HR. I have worked in companies like IBM, Pepsico and ICICI. Currently I am the co-founder of Bondforever. I also teach English to underprivileged children at Udaan India Foundation.
Tell us about the company Bondforever
We started working on Bondforever in the summer of 2014. We are an exclusively urban network, supporting only educated, working professionals in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore (we have plans to expand to Calcutta, Hyderabad and Chennai soon).
Bondforever offers a unique matching proposition to its clients. We do the heavy lifting work of searching for the right partner for our clients. Our members don’t have to do anything. They just sign up and are periodically introduced to other like-minded people. They can directly start chatting or exchange numbers and / or take it to any other medium if they are comfortable.
We connect matches only when we think they can bond well. The mutual introduction is done once or twice a week, depending on the profile and their preferences. We prefer sending matches that have mutual friends. 65% of all matches sent till date have common friends.
All the other apps in the relationship space want the user to spend more time on their system searching, swiping, etc. Our thinking and approach is the opposite of this. We know that most working professionals truly have limited free time. They want to use it efficiently, talking to only the relevant and genuine matches. We think that swiping takes away the integrity of the intent and forces everyone to come across as shallow. Choosing a relationship is a complex decision.
Privacy is another hugely important issue. In our case, we send a mutual match each week. So the profiles are mutually shared. You know exactly the people you are matched with and who saw your profile.
Why did you set up the company?
Working for the corporate for several years, I realised that I was not adding any value to my personal growth nor to the society at large. Hence I decided that I should do something of my own and not just be a brick in the wall. Entrepreneurship holds a lot of promise in terms of professional and mental growth because of the varied experiences that you come across.
Coming to why I chose the matrimonial space, I have a large group of friends and have always played cupid for them anyway. Over multiple conversations with my friends on the issues they were facing, I realised that there is a very big gap in this market where there are lot of eligible single females and males who are looking for a long term relationship, but are lost in the gamut of current platforms that exist in the market, which tend to commoditise people. Also with the glut of dating start-ups in the market, they are just enabling people to have short term flings, which is not what the urbane working educated women are looking for. Eventually nothing works and people end up relying on their parents’ networks or friends for introductions.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
We are in the starting phase so can’t really say that we have achieved success, but the response that we have received from our existing user base is nothing short of amazing. I think the biggest challenge was to create a product that could break the clutter and create something that has some real value and solves real problems. It would have been very easy to fall in the trap of making a product that just builds on the shortcomings of existing matrimonial and dating apps, as compared to creating the product from scratch. Our product is essentially for women. We wanted to build something that women can trust and find safe, and at the same time, solves their problem of finding a partner; all this on their terms.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
We have been very lucky to have a very close knit community for our customers. We have a very close bond with almost all of them. Women feel very safe here, and I can proudly say that we are probably the only product where women take the initiative to start a conversation. 80% of our new customers come from references from existing ones.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mother; she is an entrepreneur herself. She beautifully managed her work and her home, giving equal importance to both. As children of a working mother we never felt neglected. That I think is the biggest achievement for a working woman.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
Frankly speaking, I don’t find it difficult at all. My family is very supportive of whatever I decide to do. I take care of my start-up, volunteer at an NGO and being a married woman, take care of my family as well. At the same time, I believe that if you are very passionate about doing something, it doesn’t really feel like work at all. In fact, that is what makes the entire journey a lot more fun.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
We are fortunate to have been born in a time where women have a lot more exposure, support and opportunities. Now women can do anything they set their mind on. I feel women can be great entrepreneurs, as they are a lot more patient and resilient which can really take them places when they are doing something of their own. The feeling of nurturing and giving our 100% attention comes naturally to us.
Can you recommend any organisation or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
Not an organisation but my brother-in-law Sagar. He is my co-founder and takes care of all the product and technology end of things.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
Getting more and more people to know about our services. To that effect we have just started doing some marketing activities.
What does the future hold for you?
We want Bondforever to change the ecosystem of online matrimony in India. Women who wish to marry should have an efficient and trustworthy platform to find their soul mates. We wish to become that platform.
About Shruti Sharma
I was born and brought up in the beautiful city of Jaipur. For my higher education, I left home at the age of 18 and have been living independently since then. I did my B.E. in CS and MBA in Marketing and HR. I have worked in companies like IBM, Pepsico, Wipro and ICICI Bank. Education and work made me move a lot and I had the wonderful opportunity to live in many cities, and all on my terms. This gave me immense confidence and perspective. After my marriage, with the support and encouragement of my husband and my new family, I became an entrepreneur. I also started teaching at Udaan India Foundation, an NGO that provides free education to those who are less privileged. I believe all this has helped me satisfy the need of becoming a part of the bigger picture.
For further information on Bondforever please contact
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: +91-9167674066
This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Delhi Committee Member Ashish Bhardwaj.