With misogyny and sexual assault against women in India dominating headlines lately, a new mobile dating app called Thrill is making a statement by giving Indian women control over who they date.
It’s similar to many of the location-based dating apps that have popped up all over Asia, with a twist: While women are free to join anytime, they decide which men make the cut.
Here’s how it works: Female users can run through an application list with profiles of male applicants, who join using a social networking profile from Facebook or Linkedin. While women can join using their Twitter account, men can’t.
Visible on each profile are photos, age range, the number of friends they have, and interests. Women can then vote on each profile by indicating whether he is “thrilling” or “not thrilling”.
The top-rated profiles get pushed to the top of the pile and are evaluated by the Thrill team, which ensures that the profile isn’t fake, the relationship status is single and contains an ‘appropriate’ profile picture.
“We do our best to make sure there are no creeps,” said Devin Serago, one of the co-founders alongside Josh Israel.
It’s a trade-off between scalability and quality user experience: While women may enjoy browsing a curated collection of men’s profiles with some measure of built-in protection from rape situations, it takes some effort to make it happen. Perhaps a case may be made for making this a premium feature instead, but that may not be the company’s vision.
Beyond that, Thrill is pretty similar to dating app Tinder. Unlike traditional matchmaking sites where users can message others incessantly, Thrill users can scan and rate profiles anonymously.
A match is made only when users give each other a “thrilling” rating, after which a chat session will be set up.
The founders plan to incorporate in-app monetization, contextual advertising, and paid-promotion of profiles as revenue streams. A few of the matches will come free of charge on a daily basis, but users can pay to access more.
Thrill was started in November 2012. Both co-founders hail from the United States but have been living in India. Although serving the Indian market, the company was incorporated in Singapore due to the ease of company formation and investment intake.
The parent company will continue to be in Singapore, but they are looking at setting up a subsidiary in India.
The startup has secured funding in May this year from several angel investors, including Samir Bangara, a former digital managing director at the Walt Disney Company in India and current CEO of Qyuki.com; Rajesh Kamat, CA Media’s Indian operations head, and Singapore-based Taurus Value Creation.
Launched on Android in early August, Thrill currently has between 1,000 to 5,000 active app installs. The company is working on an iOS version.