Woo has over 3 million downloads and is currently a leading dating-matchmaking app. Its competitors include all the dating, matchmaking apps and matrimonial sites.
Woo was founded by U2opia Mobile in 2010 and was launched in July, 2014 by Sumesh Menon and Ankit Nautiyal. Woo is the destination for young people to meet, connect & exchange ideas in multiple markets. Woo matches people based on things that matter, like interests and ambitions, as a basis for lifelong relationships.
TagSearch, one of the key features of the app, allows users to view profiles based on attributes – whether that is the city they belong to, the profession they’re in, the author they follow or their favourite music. The feature turns the entire user base into the Internet of People, which can be browsed as simply as how we use hyperlinks to browse the Internet. It puts the power in the hands of the user to determine what kind of profiles they see.
Woo takes a design thinking approach to the current problems users face on matchmaking apps, such as users being forced to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ every profile or the problem of conversations fizzling out. Its feature Reconsider allows users to revisit profiles they’ve passed over and another key feature QuestionCast, allows users to cut to the heart of the matter and ask important questions that can set the basis for substantial conversations.
In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Sumesh Menon, Co-Founder and CEO, Woo, shares details about his venture.
How did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?
Backed by strong experience and insight in telecom as well the emerging markets landscape, it was at Bubble Motion that I met Ankit Nautiyal, (co-founder, U2opia Mobile and Woo) and the idea of repurposing a text-based technology like USSD for ubiquitous social media access took shape.
In 2010, Ankit and I co-founded U2opia Mobile and launched its flagship product, Facebook for USSD, in partnership with Facebook. The product enables basic, feature as well as smartphone users to access Facebook on mobile, without an active data connection.
While leading the helm of U2opia Mobile’s exponential growth, we also conceptualised and incubated its smartphone offering, Woo, which gives users a platform to connect with interesting, like-minded, urban singles in their city. With its USPs of a highly curated community, circle of trust and hyper-local nature of connections, Woo is the leading matchmaking app in India with a user base of 3 million users that is growing fast.
What were the challenges you faced while setting up the startup?
The major challenge we faced was hiring the right resource as there are no domain expert in India. Also at Woo, the challenges were linked to how the market perceived dating apps.
Who are your competitors?
Woo has over 3 million downloads and is currently a leading dating-matchmaking app. Our competitors include all the dating, matchmaking apps and matrimonial sites.
How is your business model different from the existing ones?
Woo stand out of the clutter of other casual dating apps and matrimonial solutions that have no barrier to entry and thus become a legitimate playground for thrill-seekers, leading to a disappointing experience for people actually looking to find someone special.
Some key and distinctive features of Woo which makes it different are:
TagSearch– TagSearch gives the users on the app an opportunity to search according to the interest that matters more. Woo not only listens to you but also suggests profiles with relevant interests in common with you.
Reconsider– TBecause Love hardly ever happens ‘at first sight’- It helps the user to revisit a profile even if they may have passed over it earlier. A quick profile view is not sufficient for a yes or a no; therefore give yourself the time you need to ponder about it. Love is not a snap decision.
QuestionCast– A conversation starter. QuestionCast helps users break away from banal small talk to questions that are really on their mind. So whether you want to know about someone’s life priorities of vacation style, try QuestionCast and start a rich meaningful conversation.
Voice Intro– When we spoke to our female users, they say that what a guy says and how he says it go a long way in helping them assess if he sounds decent and educated, and extra points if he does it with a witty opening line. A well thought out Voice Intro even superseded looks in the overall attractiveness score.
Who are your clients? How do you look at expansion?
Woo targets single, urban professionals in the age group 25-35, seeking a life partner.
After over a year of explosive growth in India, we launched Woo in South East Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. We are hopeful of continuing in the upward trajectory and launch in other markets soon.
What are the traction details?
We have a base of over 3 million users and we are seeing 100% year over year growth in monthly active users (MAU).
What is the funding status and how do you monetize?
Woo has received Series A funding from Matrix Partners and Omidyar Network. We have launched a lot of features which are revenue based model, like Crush and Boost which is already showing a lot traction.
The best and worst memories while setting up…
A startup life is just like a roller coaster ride. Things move so fast that it’s difficult to count your blessings or dwell on your failings, you just keep walking. It is the belief in success, the confidence in a happy ending that keeps me working on my mission,
Your Marketing Plans so that world know you…
At Woo, our communication to users has been digital-led. It’s essential for us to have a touchpoint with our consumers on their phone, the home of the app. Our focus has been on creating interest-based customised content that appeals to a niche audience. With our unique TagSearch feature, we know the kind of content our users want to consume, and that’s what we give them. This results in higher engagement and attention spans, which is powerful in an age where we’ve tuned ourselves to turn a blind eye to advertisements. We make our brand proposition come alive through stories rather than promises and that is what works for us.
Your Marketing Plans so that world know you…
Some of the interesting, engaging marketing campaigns we did this year that got us great results and a lot of love from our TG were #WooLetsTalk-The Dating Masterclass, Let’s Talk Web Series, Mockumentary titled “Not Fit”, A social media campaign called “Love Actually Is” to name a few.
What is the market size and market opportunity?
In relation to the Western markets or China, India is still small. But it has massive potential. For our target group of 24 and above, we estimate the market to be around 20 Mn users today growing to 50 Mn in 3 years. Contrary to popular belief, our business is less dependent on social acceptance, it is dependent on how many young independent professionals enter the workforce in big cities.