Delhi & Singapore-based Thrill Pte Ltd, a mobile dating startup which runs its apps on Android and iOS under the Thrill banner, has raised an undisclosed amount from People Group, which owns matrimonial portal Shaadi.com, for a significant minority stake, as per a company statement.
In a related deal, People Group's existing dating property Fropper has been brought under Thrill, Josh Israel, co-founder, Thrill told VCCircle.
Thrill will remain a separate entity from Shaadi.com given that both are in different spaces. However, Fropper will be brought under Thrill.
Israel said that web-based dating property Fropper is presently generating 6-8 million page views per month and has annualised revenues of around Rs 1.5 crore.
He said the deal will make Thrill a profitable company and it will further look to optimise revenue with Fropper and redesign it a little bit to give it a modern look.
Israel did not share more details of this parallel deal and it is not clear how much of the equity stake People Group has picked in Thrill is part of this transaction.
“While online match-making is already a well-established practice in India; dating is also gaining a lot of popularity with the Indian youth. The Thrill app packs in loads of innovation that’s ‘Made for India’, and already has built a strong appeal with young India,” said Anupam Mittal, founder and CEO, People Group.
Singapore-incorporated startup Thrill was founded by Israel and Devin Serago in November 2012. Israel holds a degree in Labor and Employment Relations from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and prior to Thrill, he worked at A.M. Best Company. Serago earlier worked at the Reinvestment Fund and Sebak and Monner Associates, LLC. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Monmouth University in the US.
Earlier, Israel and Serago also co-founded Plan A Drink, Inc., a dating platform developed at Start Engine, a Los Angeles-based startup accelerator. While the founders decided that the product/market fit wasn’t right in the US, they found an opportunity in the emerging markets and Thrill was born. Although the company was set up in Singapore, they have an office in Delhi.
In May 2013, the app had raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Samir Bangara, a former managing director (digital) at the Walt Disney Company in India and currently CEO of Qyuki.com, and Rajesh Kamat, CA Media’s Indian operations head, as well as from a couple of unnamed Singapore-based investors.
What Thrill app does?
Thrill is essentially a dating app but unlike the regular peer group this one puts the women in control and hence the tagline – He applies. She decides.
Females can join Thrill whenever they want, but males have to apply to join, after which the female users vote them (up or down) and the ones with the most positive votes make the cut. Note that the app requires Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (females only) accounts to login, in order to ensure safety and quality of users.
Once a male user is approved, the app lets them find someone. If he finds someone ‘Thrilling’, and she feels the same, the app makes the introductions and the couple can take it forward from there.
The app also defines what it means by Thrilling and what’s Not Thrilling. Thrilling can be anyone with a decent number of friends and interests; a profile picture that is genuine; someone who invites and gets ‘voted up’ by female friends and one who is young, considering the company is targeting the age group of 18-25 years. Not Thrilling can be – being married or having a girlfriend; having only a few or no friends on Facebook; having a snapshot of a celebrity or a cartoon character as the profile picture or, as it says, just being a creep!
The other players in the space include MakeMyTrip and LetsBuy founders’ TrulyMadly.com, besides Tinder and Krush.
In 2013 another India related dating startup StepOut (formerly Ignighter) that had raised funding from several angel investors, was acquired by Twoo. Another player in the same space is TwoMangoes.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)