Banihal: Fast Become an Elite Matchmaking Service that Ensures Matrimonial Success.
Banihal is an elite matchmaking service that uses a precise algorithm to ensure matrimonial success. It targets working professionals in the age group of roughly 25-30 years who have their own unique definition of an ideal marriage and are looking for someone who is on the same page as them.
A Software Engineer by profession, Ishdeep came up with the idea for Banihal when he himself was on the lookout for the perfect life partner. This is when he realised that traditional matrimonial websites and dating platforms don’t work for the career-minded, educated and modern Indian who holds very specific views on what makes wedded life blissful. To plug this gap in the Indian matchmaking market, Ishdeep developed the neuroscience-backed algorithm that helps people find that special someone who intuitively understands their needs and aspirations in a marriage.
The Man behind It
Ishdeep Sawhney is the founder and CEO at Banihal, an elite matchmaking service that uses a precise algorithm to ensure matrimonial success. Besides spearheading the business roadmap for the company, Ishdeep specifically helms the vital functions of product, strategy and marketing.
With an MS in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University, Ishdeep pursued a programme in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Stanford University. He began his career with Cisco Systems and then joined Microsoft where he patented an idea called Fone+ which was presented to Bill Gates through ThinkWeek. After Microsoft, Ishdeep worked at Apple on the first iPad. This was his first entrepreneurial experience which made him realise that he had the requisite dedication to see a great idea through.
Genesis of the startup
Incorporated in 2014, Banihal Inc is based out of Cupertino, CA. The founders of the company are Ishdeep Sawhney and Upender Sandadi. It was while Ishdeep was trying to find his own perfect partner that he felt the need to conceive the idea for a service like Banihal. This was when he realised the need for a platform that allows you to assess yourself and your needs in an objective way and helps you decide who the right person for you really is. Imbued by this realization, he developed the algorithm that enables young, independent and self-willed Indians to make the most important decision of their lives.
This experience also made him envision a future where computers would augment decision making and spurred him to build Banihal in order to assist people as they made their most critical life choices. His focus was to build an algorithm that would analyse users’ answers and the results of behavioral tests to define individuals so precisely that an initial introduction would feel like a perfect match.
Today, Ishdeep’s driving motivation is to establish Banihal as the undisputed top matchmaking service that caters to the needs of the top 10% of the Indian population. He is also focussing on developing technology that assists people who are already married in improving their relationship and their conjugal life.
Ishdeep firmly believes that creating a product like Banihal has been his most vital social contribution. Facilitating the urban, modern Indian in finding the right person to lead their lives with is truly a remarkable service. When he’s not working on the product roadmap, however, Ishdeep loves to unwind by hiking, cycling and reading.
How does it work?
Banihal is an elite matchmaking service that uses a precise algorithm to ensure matrimonial success. It targets working professionals in the age group of roughly 25-30 years who have their own unique definition of an ideal marriage and are looking for someone who is on the same page as them. The service caters to the aspirations of those for whom traditional ways of finding a life partner simply doesn’t work. It has made neuroscience research and advanced search technology the centre piece of its matchmaking service to deliver objective and accurate results.
Those looking to get married can come closer to their dream of finding a like-minded individual through the Banihal website or the mobile app that works on both iOS and Android devices. Users need to fill up a comprehensive profile based on which Banihal makes the best-possible recommendations to them. The service also encompasses a secure communication medium wherein users don't have to share their email or phone number. In order to offer maximum value to its users, Banihal suggests five best matches for each profile. In the initial phase, the service is free of cost.
Banihal aims at bolstering the liberated Indian’s endeavour to override traditional methods of finding a life partner and helps them define exactly whom they’d like to spend their lives with. It’s primarily an aspirational brand that seeks to offer fulfilment to the top 10% of the population in metros, specifically aiming at people who are well-educated and are successful in their careers. These individuals are not on dating sites or matrimonial sites but are looking for something like Google to answer the question of how they can build a fulfilling family life.
Going forward, Banihal aims to be the undisputed choice for its target group in India whenever the thought of finding a life partner comes to the fore. It will also expand the ambit of its services to help make the lives of married couples easier with technology tools and fulfil their commitment to forming a loving and nurturing home for themselves, their partners and their children.
The Traction Details
We are seeing good traction for new users signing up on the mobile site. Users then transition over to the iPhone/Android app. We are giving the perfect match recommendation to 90% of new users the moment they complete their profile and this is the most important metric for us. Rae is the artificial intelligence based engine that can find the perfect match in real time.
Marketing Plans in Mind
We have had tremendous success through our association with Ki & Ka and we have connected with our users and their needs. We are continuing on our successful marketing campaign and sharpening the brand message to carve a different niche from dating and family matchmaking.
Major Challenges Faced in Setting up Banihal
Our biggest challenge is to communicate the differentiation of Banihal. Banihal has developed Rae, an artificial intelligence based engine that finds that one person that you would like to get married to. We use technology to make introduction to the one person that everyone looking to get married is looking for to make a lifelong commitment with confidence. We are not into casual dating and not a solution for parents looking for a match. Our marketing and branding has been very successful in bringing this unique message to the wider audience and we have to continue building on this momentum.
Market Opportunities in the Sector
It takes anywhere from 2 to 5 years for individuals looking for a life partner and we are on the path to make this process completed in 6 months. The opportunity is to transform how people find a match and make happier couples so that kids born in those families have a great start in a nurturing family.
Future plans of Banihal
We are focused on the metros at present and are planning to be in more cities in the near future.
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