Over the past few years, India has experienced significant cultural shifts and is considered one of the fastest growing markets for online dating applications. QuackQuack is one such home-grown dating app disrupting Indian culture since 2010 and was founded by Ravi Mittal.

Team ELEVATE got a chance to catch up with him and here’s what he has to say:

1. How different is QuackQuack from other dating apps?

QuackQuack is tailored for Indian needs. We understand what Indian men and women want. India being a vast country, people want to befriend and chat with people before they match. Hence, QuackQuack lets users initiate chats / introduce themselves before they actually match. We also enable users to search and connect with individuals from other cities and states as well, not restricting them to a particular area.

Since matchmaking/liking profiles can be time-consuming, we have a very Indianized feature called ‘Interest Booster’ which lets users set up their match preferences and let the system send likes on their behalf, without taking the effort to log in every day, something which no other dating apps offer.

Also, while most dating apps do not have moderation, which can lead to all sorts of bad experience, QuackQuack is fully moderated and strives to keep its platform free of creeps and spammers. In fact, we ban almost 5-8% of any new signups on any given day.

2. You’ve been bootstrapped from the beginning. Why didn’t you raise funds?

We’ve seen our peers raise funds and fail. The process with fundraising is you’re expected to grow very fast, else you burn out. And the challenge with dating space is – monetization. We’ve seen most dating apps being able to scale up in terms of user base but failed to monetize. We figured that we wanted to grow at our pace and not get into the game of fast growth. We wanted to understand the market and how we can monetize without losing the money at the same time. Hence, the conscious decision to not raise funds and that did work out well for us.

3. What inspired you to start a dating app as early as 2010?

In 2010, there were no dating websites/apps dedicated to Indians. I tried a couple of websites back then to no avail and thus came the idea of QuackQuack.

4. You’re based out of Hyderabad. What kind of support did you receive from the local ecosystem?

To be honest, we never took support from the local ecosystem. However, in the early days, we had issues with getting a payment gateway since the dating space was in nascent stages and banks believed it to be a high-risk business. Then came Mr. Prabhu (back then, part of EBS) to our support and let us use their gateway.

5. Congratulations on acquiring 5 million users! What’s next in the pipeline?

We’re going at a good pace and aim to add a million users every 6 months. We’re planning to launch new products and reach out to audiences in other countries as well. That’s our target for the near future.

6. What kind of complications does your business face being in the dating space?

A lot! Since dating is pretty new and users are not matured, they are gullible to spams and traps. We have seen people fall for such traps despite constant checks and moderation both ways (male and female). This is a problem across dating apps. We have also been trying to educate users and really upped our game on moderation to keep users safe.

7. What growth hacking techniques does your business adopt to acquire users?

The key to growth hack is

  • Reaching the right audience

We have done a lot of data analysis on who our target users are and we only focus on them. Since our audience is mobile friendly, our first approach remains to reach out to them on social media with our quirky campaigns. Lest to say, we don’t do offline ads or branding at all. This saves up the money to reach our users online.

  • Knowing what they want

We observe our user behavior and try to understand what they really want while using QuackQuack. How can we reduce the funnel and make things easier for them? How can we get them more matches? What can be done to keep them engaged? These basic questions have helped us tweak our app, funnels, and UI experience to an extent that users would find it easy to signup, browse and explore matches on QuackQuack.

All this is a rinse and repeat process and we keep evolving with every experiment. We strongly believe in A/B testing and constantly work on all elements on the app to see which helps in increasing KPIs right from changing button colors to increasing/decreasing form fields on signups, to reducing clicks to login/open emails, to showing the right information where a user might be confused, to sending timely push notifications.

8. Tell us more about yourself. Your likes and dislikes.

I’m a big-time foodie and an adventure enthusiast! I prefer spending quality time traveling or searching for new cafes in town. I love exploring consumer apps, public speaking (have been a former Toastmaster), growth hacking.

If there’s something I dislike are naysayers, pessimists and people who procrastinate when it comes to professional commitments.

9. Suggest 4 books every entrepreneur must read.

I was never much into reading books. However, I compensate by reading a lot of articles on growth hacking, success & failure stories of startups, watching TED videos, and examining different apps I come across.

10. What according to you are the three most important drivers for a startup’s success?

  1. Founder’s vision
  2. A great team
  3. Resilience to not give up