Match making sites area dime a dozen, but Karan Dhanju and company are using some old-fashioned skills to get a step on the competition
How DatingFound.com co-founder Karan Dhanju kick started his service when the industry was in turmoil.
Jus tab out anyone can start a dating service. Put up a website, do a little marketing and away you go. Single people who want to date are willing to try just about anything to do so. But it’ s much harder to sustain such a business. Unsuccessful dalliances lead to customer disillusionment, which leads to them leaving one site for another, or getting out of the scene altogether. And, perversely, a fully satisfied customer is also likely to leave, so dating businesses are always on the hunt for a few good men and women to take their place.
Karan Dhanju was in the former group. “I went on a lot of online dating sites like PlentyOfFish and Match.com, but it turns out that what I was really looking for wasn’ t what I was getting .” The algorithms designed to pick out that special someone were simply not getting it right, which isn’t surprising given that human beings are complex at the simplest of times, never mind when it comes to matters of love. But instead of trying yet another service, Toronto-based Dhanju and Mani Gill in 2015 decided to start their own, DatingFound.com, which combines technology with a little old- fashioned human matchmakings kill.
“There are a lot of variables that come into play and we believe these matching algorithms are good at matching numbers, but there’s no possible way that they can take into account all the moving variables and accurately give you matches,” Dhanju says. “A little human assist can make the whole process of finding matches so much better, so that’ s what we did .”
The company’s prospects, generally busy Caucasian professionals, fill out questionnaires just as they would for other sites, and then a proprietary algorithm sorts them out. But company employees — Dhanju calls them dating experts — validate the profile and choose a match that takes into account a person’s values, beliefs, physicality and likes/dislikes. Customers get one match every four days and can chat within the site’ s website if they want to see if a date is in the offing. Whether it’s a good match or not, customer feedback is used to help refine the profiles for future matches.
But a bigger selling point might be that Dating Found. com profiles are private. They cannot be searched and users aren’t trolled by other people, real or otherwise. That’s important given that the site was just starting out when the Ashley Madison cheating site was hacked, revealing the names of thousands of users. Launching a business when the industry is embroiled in scandal may seem like a bad idea, but Dhanju says it can be turned into an advantage if new entrants address and solve the problem .“We actually benefited from the scandal because our whole value proposition also depends on privacy ,” he says, adding that there were and still area lot of concerns about privacy.
DatingFound.com was up to 6,500 clients as of December after officially launching four months earlier, but Dhanju says the company is also getting ready to scale up in anticipation of a huge video marketing push in February. So far, Dhanju and his partner have invested $40,000 of their own money into the venture and have plans to seek outside investors, including one to raise money through Ma RS Discovery District, a nonprofit organization designed to bring entrepreneurs, researchers and educators toget her—kind of a match making service for businesses. A dating service may not seem particularly innovative, but Ma RS supports a wide variety of industries and, to be fair, getting dates for people is tricky work, one that today requires technology as well as a human touch .“A lot of people mis match what they say they want and what is realistic, and that is one of the hardest jobs for our dating experts to figure out,” Dhanju says .“We’ re in the business of matching people; we’re not in the business of manufacturing people .”
Karan Dhanju and Mani Gill, co-founders of Dating Found.com