‘We focus on guaranteed connections and safety more than privileges on our app’: Pawan Gupta of Betterhalf

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Image credits: Betterhalf.ai Facebook page

Marriages are like festivals for the families and a milestone for an individual. It not just bonds two individuals but brings together a fusion of two cultures, two ideas, two perspectives. In a marriage, it is essential that the two opinions of the two individuals intertwine and move ahead in the same direction. This is why compatibility is an important factor that strengthens the bond between a couple. Since the Dotcom bubble in 1999, we have seen the rise of several matrimonial sites which have been developed and are still upgrading with the aim of bringing two compatible singles together. After carefully analysing the drawbacks of the traditional online matrimonial platforms, Pawan Gupta and Rahul Namdev, both MIT alumni from San Francisco ventured into the idea of developing an AI-based matchmaking platform. This led to the birth of Betterhalf.ai in 2021.

The USP of Betterhalf is its Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning based matchmaking algorithm. The platform’s AI-based partner prediction engine starts learning about a user’s personality as soon as the user starts the on-boarding process. Betterhalf’s AI engine uses the technology at five different stage -during registration, pre-chat stage, product gamification, post-chat stage and removal of any biased data using ML. Users can sign-up for the service by giving answers to 16 personality questions, which are used to find suitable matches. 

Rahul Namdev, the co-founder, is credited with the patent and the invention of the ‘1-click matchmaking’ AI algorithm. The algorithm is said to have garnered popularity for being a very fast executing process and having an accuracy of about 80-90 percent in matching the community, the interests and other such factors between two individuals. Pawan claims that this is one of the first apps in India that offers compatibility information through questions about an individual’s interests and expectations.

Clicking the right soulmate

Currently, Betterhalf claims to have one of the highest number of connections made per user with over 2 lakh matches happening every month over the app. Unlike the traditional matrimonial apps, where they have to unlock features, Betterhalf is taking an approach where it is more focused towards the benefits for the users. So, Betterhalf has introduced plans where if a user opts for a 6 months plan, they guarantee 4 connections or its is free till it happens. They are extending the match guarantee and at some point in the future, Pawan has revealed plans of introducing a feature where when a user signs up, they are already informed of a date of the first connection.

Betterhalf is also looking to automate the process where even if the user is busy for 3 days, the app would be sending specific requests on the behalf of the users and it would also be auto accepted if it is confirmed by the other party as well. So when you login to the app after 3 days, your automated connections would be ready. This would also make it easy for both the parties to start a conversation as both of them are already a potential match.

Keeping vulnerabilities at bay

Taking cue from certain grim incidences in the matrimony market, Betterhalf has extended its verification process wherein the submission of the government IDs is compulsory for all profiles. Betterhalf also verifies the gender, employment status, the salary status, the community and even the address. It is even extending its verification to the ‘born and brought up’ status, especially for the NRIs who consider the type of Visa as well. Each individual profile verifications are carried out manually by 2-3 experts at Betterhalf. 

Pawan explains, “Each user goes through a rigorous 6-level profile verification process, including their mobile number, work e-mail, personal e-mail, Government ID, Facebook and Linkedin. Only profiles that receive a compatibility score of over 70 per cent are matched. Betterhalf.AI also has a private ratings and feedback option that helps it to “filter out the non-serious and creepy daters off the platform.”

Even after the profile has been created, Pawan has come across certain incidents where the users have detected anomalies or inactivity for the connections suggested. Betterhalf has certain parameters installed which could lead to a profile to go offline if the concerned profile does not reciprocate to the customer service verification team for a long time. Pawan claims that due to their stringent verification process, the quality of the profiles and the connections have improved considerably and hence the retention rate on the platform has also increased.

Capital gains in matters of heart

The Matchmaking market is estimated to grow at a rate of 10 percent year on year with a forecasted size of 26 billion USD by 2026. This factors into the reports that Betterhalf was able to garner 3 million USD as part of its series A funding round from venture capital firms, including S2 Capital and Quiet Capital in the month of May. Prior to this, Betterhalf was also able to raise around 2.3 million USD as part of its seed funding from Y Combinator, Tribe Capital, and Nurture Ventures. Their Group partners are reportedly already invested in different matchmaking apps in several other countries. They have been getting insights from them and it has been boosting their scaling process.

While the online dating app market comes to the size of 10 billion USD and the marriage service provider market comes to the tune of 2 billion USD across the world, in India, the offline and the online matrimony market combined is at around half a million USD. Markets such as the casual dating, serious dating, matrimony, which is further bifurcated into couples controlled or parents controlled, is further seeing a boost with the next-gen proactively taking the calls in the whole decision-making process. Instead of just being a matchmaking process, Betterhalf intends to dive into the entire matchmaking/matrimony/courtship/wedding activity under its aegis in the coming six months.

Pawan revealed to us, “The platform currently is used by more than a thousand users on a daily basis and is growing at 100 percent week on week, with the majority from the age group of 25-35 year. Currently Betterhalf.ai user monthly activity grew from 20K MAU (monthly average user) to 150K MAU, and monthly revenues from 10,000 USD to 75,000 USD at 25% Month-over Month.”

Creating new-gen responsible decision-makers

The team of 40 employees at Betterhalf are working and listening to the users and are making sure that the new-gen singles have complete control of their decisions at all times. Pawan wants Betterhalf to be considered as the next alternative to the traditional matrimonial websites.  

It is very important to understand that there would be lot of apps like Betterhalf that would help someone find his/her soulmate. These platforms only help in reducing the matchmaking process but Pawan explains that the offline experience should not be undermined. It is very essential for the couples to step out, spend time together in the real world and learn more about each other’s preferences and inhibitions. 

Article by Ujal Nair

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