From Aisle to Anbe: A vernacular dating story

Besides prioritising the fun quotient, the app ensures its female members feel comfortable and safe on the platform.
Anbe can be downloaded for free on Google Play Store
Anbe can be downloaded for free on Google Play Store

CHENNAI: We live in times where the entire business of matchmaking has boiled down to the conventional matrimonial apps or casual dating apps. But, what if there was a middle ground that had features incorporated from both to make it a collaborative experience?

Here’s where Aisle, an Indian matchmaking app, has been making a mark among its desi subscribers, with its custom-made features since 2014. Among its many firsts, Aisle achieved a milestone on March 21, 2021, with the launch of its vernacular dating app Arike, exclusively for Malayalam-speaking users. Following its success, Aisle recently rolled out its second vernacular offering Anbe, catering to Tamil-speaking subscribers, residing in and out of India. 

A local touch

To ease the initial conversations, the app has special features designed specifically for the community, with reference to Tamil pop culture. So from Thalapakatti biryani to Thalapathy, users have an array of topics to break the ice. The app has also incorporated an ‘Audio Invites’ feature, in addition to the regular text invites, allowing personalised invitations to be sent to potential partners.

Walking us through some of their other features customised to the region’s culture and habits, Able Joseph, founder, Aisle, explains, “We’re old-school at heart and hence the name Anbe. The word translates to ‘dear’ in Tamil. Our core philosophy is to bring a native feel to the whole dating experience so that it would be easier to strike meaningful conversations with like-minded individuals. We recently integrated an interact before matching feature called Rooms, where the host can choose to match with the guest or not after a quick call.Another key feature is Concierge, priority-based matchmaking which allows users to browse through handpicked profiles on the app instead of going through the profiles one-by-one.”

Besides prioritising the fun quotient, the app ensures its female members feel comfortable and safe on the platform. “We do a verification process to avoid fake profiles. The privacy policy is very much in place. Arike has proven to be trustworthy among women and we’re optimistic that Anbe too will match that standard. In a space dominated by swipe culture, we want our users to have a smooth vetting process before they find their compatible partners. You will have only a limited number of likes/swipes to ensure you’re serious about the decision,” assures Able.

Beyond boundaries

The feedback from the users has been positive. Able and team are happy that even the tier-2 and 3 cities have been warming up to the idea of dating apps. While a majority of users continue to be from metropolitan cities, the app has been witnessing an increased activity in rural areas.

“There’s no geographical limitations. If you check Arike’s user base, 25 per cent of them are Malayalis from the Middle East. In fact, people living abroad are finding it more difficult to meet people who share similar sentiments. From Assam to Andaman, our team of 20 has people from different cities, bringing in their diversity to the desk. This helps us design the app better. To an extent where you should be able to take things forward with your parents when you find a suitable person. People here look for faith, values, culture and more. A lot of factors go into the decision-making process,” shares Able.

The team is working on making the app as inclusive as possible. It would be too soon to give numbers based on the performance, but Able and his team are confident that Anbe will acquire one million users in its first year of operations. “We will be launching more versions personalised to a region. We are constantly monitoring the behavioural patterns and expectations of users. I strongly believe that dating apps are the future of matchmaking. And, as content creators, we hope to keep the process smooth so the couples end up walking down the ‘aisle’,” sums up Able.

The premium packages are available at Rs 800 for a month, Rs 1,500 for three months and Rs 2,500 for six months.

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The New Indian Express