Introdice: Emma Popat and Heena Kotecha
The female co-founders tell us how they built an online dating site with no I.T experience and why the personal touch makes a big difference
Name: Emma Popat and Heena Kotecha
Company name: Introdice Limited
Date launched: 07/09/2015
Location: Greater London
Tell us what your business does:
We are a personal matchmaking service for Indians in the UK. We offer two services, online dating and a personal matchmaking service. Our members can register for free and create a profile and message other single users they like the sound of.
The personal matchmaking service is for people with a busy lifestyle or for people that may feel online dating is not for them. We get to know exactly what our members are looking for in a partner and provide them with introductions each month. We carefully match two people based on the information they have given to us and then we play matchmaker! We also offer dating tips and support for people that may not be confident or comfortable with the process.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
We are both Indian and previously tried various Asian dating websites to find love. We also received ‘introductions' from family members who were attempting to play cupid for us. We found it was tough to meet someone of the same culture and felt that we didn't have time to go online searching through profiles online after work.
We realised it was really difficult to meet someone, and so we formed a small database of single people we had met on our journey and started to play matchmaker!
How did you know there was a market for it?
We tested the waters in early 2013; we had built a database of over 100 single Indians who wanted us to provide them with introductions. We set up a beta website and started pairing people together and emailing people their matches, asking if they would like to be introduced. People loved the personal touch! This is not something that is available online.
The world of dating has drastically changed. Nowadays, people have an APP on their phone and swipe left or right if they are interested in someone. While this might be fun, there's no personal element to it. We are more than just a swipe! It is a niche market for Indians only, and we are offering a modern twist on the conventional Indian marriage introduction.
What were you doing before starting up?
Popat was practising as a Solicitor and Kotecha was an Accountant. Who says lawyers and accountants are boring?
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
YES!! We are both so independent and only want to work for ourselves. We want to see results, and that will be so rewarding for us both.
How did you raise the money?
We have not had to raise a significant amount of money. We just needed an office space and a good website. We raised the money through our savings.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Our ethos is that people buy from people. We are selling ourselves as matchmakers, and if people trust us, they will be confident in our service and us. The online dating aspect is free for now while our database grows. Our personal matchmaking service is charged by monthly subscriptions and membership renewals.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
None of us comes from an I.T background, so we did face a real challenge in the development of our website. We were working on our site with our website team for over five months. We had to ensure that our site had strict security as well as the ability for members to create a profile and upload a photograph.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Our website went live and in just four days, we received 50 new members. The member list is growing every day.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, make it come to life! Have confidence in your idea and don't let the opinions of others make you lose focus.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We would like to change the way dating works and have an office full of matchmakers that are personally working with individuals to help them find love. The personal touch goes a long way.
Emma Popat and Heena Kotecha