"Dating is misunderstood in India": Aisle.co CEO Able Joseph


By Papri Das

From word of mouth information exchange amongst family members and classified advertisements in newspapers, to matrimony sites playing matchmaking -- the Indian wedding scene undergone a sea change. And yet, the outlook and approach towards marriage and relationships hardly saw any difference. In spite of matrimonial search going digital, families still looked for ‘fair, beautiful and homely’ brides while girls’ parents were introduced to a new breed of would-be son-in-laws: NRIs. At times when the only thing catering to the dating plans of young single Indians were the other extreme like social media and apps like Tinder, Aisle.co came as a pleasant surprise. Founded by Able Joseph in 2014, Aisle.co gave young successful Indians a contemporary approach to dating, relationship and matchmaking, which they could relate to.

It’s been almost a year since its launch and the start up is not only doing great, but has plans to expand its coverage to other arenas of the wedding industry as well. Indiantelevision.com's Exec Lifestyle caught up with the dynamic co-founder and CEO Able Joseph to find out more.


What made you come up with the idea to launch a matchmaking site?

When I was in Dubai, I had a couple of friends, who were attractive and well settled yet single. They had horrible experiences from the matchmaking sites. As soon as they sign up on these sites, they would be bombarded with invites, calls or messages from random users or fake profiles, which finally took a blow on their self-esteem. It is not uncommon for a beautiful independent woman in her late 20s to be single anymore. The reason being, the existing avenues don’t really comply with her taste or requirement. And that’s how the idea of Aisle came about. We wanted to build a more result oriented application, which focuses on bringing people together for the right reasons.

What makes aisle.co different from other matchmaking sites?

Aisle is a niche product. It is a community of urban Indian singles with the intent of having a long term committed relationship. Not everyone who applies becomes a member. We take the pain of validating every applicant. We don’t work on a monthly subscription revenue model, which promotes spam, in the form of uninvited phone calls or messages.

Moreover ailse.co has many new age elements like interest meters and preferences. This gives members a better understanding of the other’s personality, making it easier to connect with individuals of the same wavelength. We also ensure that Aisle profiles are handled by the users themselves and not by a parent or relative, nor do our own algorithms interfere with the choice people make. The power of choosing is given completely to the members.

What is the revenue model for the website? 

Aisle is completely ad free. Aisle users do not pay membership fees, but they need to purchase invites to initiate communication with other users. Each invite gets used up when the other user accepts the invitation to connect. The price for the invites ranges from Rs 1,999 ($33) for three invites to Rs 3,999 ($66) for seven.

What is your reason for getting well known novelist Nikita Singh on board as the brand ambassador?

Nikita Singh is going to be the most sought after romance novelist from India. She explores deeper issues and relationships in a very mature and organized manner in her books. She boldly dwells into topics that most people shy talking about. Each one of her books has something that the young Indians can easily relate to.  She is a perfect match for Aisle. We were one of the co-promoters of her book launch that happened last month while she was in India.

Are you happy with the progress the platform has made in a year?

We launched Aisle on 14 July, 2014 with two things -- good intentions and a good idea. Today, we have over 20,000 hand-picked members from more than 40 countries and have created thousands of connections. 

We have our apps on Android and iOS. So far it’s been quite a journey. We didn’t expect such a quick response in such a short period. The countless number of hours spent in building and scaling this unique members-only social network for Indian singles, today seems like the best thing we could’ve done for society. We are thrilled to see what lies ahead for us.

What more can we expect from Aisle.co in the future?

Currently, we are perfecting our technology and working on other projects than can serve as extensions to Aisle. One such effort is http://plannerbyaisle.com where we are organizing the massive wedding industry by handpicking some of the best wedding facilitators in the country. We are also working on expanding our team.

What are your thoughts on the current marriage scenario in India and the choices that young single indians are taking?

The situation among the independent youth today has deteriorated, having to give up on and almost go against, the institution of marriage. What I see today is a lot of unnecessary conditioning on social and other media against tying the knot, which is certainly not good for our society if you think about it. We believe that we can change that for some.

We will start by ironing out the flaws introduced by online and offline marriage bureaus. Slowly but surely, through creative methods of marketing, we wish to re-instil faith in marriage among the singles.

Can you share a few trends in dating amongst Indians today?

The term ‘dating’ is surely misunderstood in this part of the world but that is soon changing. Dating in the west is a term that is used to describe a romantic plan with another person or a period of courtship. But in India a date is usually referred to a casual hookup. The corresponding term for a 'date' in India would be 'meet-up' and for 'dating' would be 'relationship'. 

Can you share a few stories of the matches you have made?

We encourage our members to reach out to us no matter what the occasion. Not just with their compliments and words of appreciation, but also simple suggestions has helped us understand the changing needs of our members and let us grow. 

In just a few months, eight of my friends who signed up on Aisle found their soulmates. They are all engaged or married as of today. Thank you emails keeps pouring in from those who met their matches on Aisle. While most users want to keep their personal lives discreet, here’s the story of Riti and Arnab

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