Part 2: A chat with the founders of DateIITians

Sensing opportunity in the supremely female-deprived lives of IIT’s men, 3 KGPians launched, an exclusive online dating site earlier this year. The Scholars’ Avenue finds out how they’ve fared so far:


TSAWhat was your motivation behind starting
DI: The idea came up when the three of us (founders) were having a discussion. After conducting a survey in Kolkata to ascertain the need for a dating service, we decided to go ahead. We hope to connect like minded people through our website.


TSAYou started this service only for IITians initially, but quickly made it accessible to everyone else as well …
DI: Yes, while we’d never planned this for the IIT community only, we do make a distinction for members from elite institutions like the IITs, IIMs and NITs.


TSA: How has the response been so far? How many members have successfully found a date?
DI: On our day of launch itself, we had over 10,000 website hits and went on to record 4000 registrations in the first month. We’re currently logging 7000-8000 page views per day.
Members on the site have the option of going through three levels of dating: “Flirts”, “Crushes” and “Proposals” (see chart below for success figures).


TSA: Has there been a good response from the girls in IIT? How balanced is the sex ratio on your site?
DI: We’ve had a great response from females in IIMs and medical colleges, but not too many registrations from IIT, possibly because girls here have no dearth of options. Currently, 35% of our members are female. Although not as bad as the 10:1 ratio on campus, it remains lopsided with more males.


TSA: Your registration process does not include a choice for “Orientation”. Haven’t you received any requests from the LGBT community in IIT and outside?
DI: No, we weren’t aware of an LGBT community in IIT and haven’t received any queries yet either. We could consider incorporating a new field in future versions.


TSA: Has there been any criticism or negative review? What are the problems you’ve had to deal with?
DI: While there hasn’t been any criticism outright, we do sense a certain skepticism on the guys’ part to use an online dating service. Some find the idea undignified and are wary of reactions from friends. In a relatively conservative society like ours, it’s only now that people are more open to dating and realize not every relationship must end in marriage.
That said, we’ve been featured in several national dailies and news sites. A lot of similar sites have been cropping up lately.

TSA: What is your revenue model? Plans for future growth?
DI: Our service is currently in its alpha stage of development and doesn’t generate any revenue as of now. With further upgrades, we plan to introduce an online ad-based as well as a subscription-based model for premium users. The beta version, to be launched in the summer break, will include a video chat application and a gift service.


TSA: How do you ensure authenticity in registrations?
DI: We have several stages of verification to ensure no spam – each user ID is mapped with a unique email ID and a phone number, which is verified. Moreover, IITians are required to upload some identity proof (ID card, Library card etc) to complete registration. Lastly, we sieve through each entry manually before final approval.


TSA: Have you (founders) been successful in finding dates yourselves?
DI: (laughing) No, we’re already happily committed.


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KGP Sutra: An Introduction
Part 1: Inside the closet
Part 3: Being a girl in IIT KGP
Part 4: Survey Results – Plenty of charts!

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