Matches Made… In Virtual Heaven
A chance meeting at a party where a couple bonded over a plate of blue cheese led to the germination of an idea so unique that it finally saw fruition in Floh.in, one of the country’s most reliable singles sites, offering urban and urbane single men and women a common platform to meet and allow the proverbial rainbow to lead you to that elusive pot of gold. RITZ meets founders Siddharth and Simran Mangharam over a cup of coffee and quirky tales that have led to matches being made – not in heaven, but at meetings set up though their singles site.
There is no algorithm that computes your compatibility with Mr or Miss X. Nor is there any shady questionnaire with a hundred queries on your habits, likes and dislikes, underwear size and preference of sleeping position. Floh.in, a singles site that has presence in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi works on the strict principles of screening, most of which are done by Founder and CEO Siddharth Mangharam himself, else through referrals from existing members who have been priorly screened.
“That’s why we maintain a 50 percent ratio of men and women on our site. We want women to feel safe in this environment that we have created with the sole intention of giving single people a chance at nurturing relationships and meeting likeminded people,” explains Simran Mangharam, head of Memberships and Operations, and also Siddharth’s wife. “The idea to start Floh stemmed when Sid and I met by chance at a friend’s party and got talking over a plate of blue cheese,” she tells. Apparently the couple got so engrossed in their conversation that it took them over an hour to reach the formal introduction stage.
“I’m older to Sid by two years,” tells Simran, “and after that initial meeting I was the one to pick up the phone and call him the next day. I openly expressed my interest in him, he invited himself over to dinner, one thing led to the next and before we knew it we were dating,” she adds, deliberately mentioning the difference in their ages to drive home the point that its not always mandatory to wait for a man to make the first move to take a relationship forward. “There’s no harm in a woman expressing her interest in a man. There’s never a particular ‘type’ of man you should wait for. It’s better to keep an open mind and take that first step when you feel a connection with someone,” she stresses.
The couple have now been married seven years and have a five-year old daughter. Apparently a friend of theirs, who was single and looking for a partner, used to scrounge matrimonial sites and have their representatives on her doorstep demanding astronomical payments to make connections and build matches. She relocated to Paris and was forced to undergo the same torture searching for a partner through matrimonial sites there as well. “I asked her if she would register and go through a site where singles were rigorously screened before being made members, thereby reducing one’s chances of meeting sleazy guys looking for an easy pick-up or bogus matches. Her instant reply in the affirmative made me realise the lack of one such reliable service in the market and I ran the idea by Siddharth and another friend and now partner Sid Mishra. That’s how we planned and began Floh,” tells Simran.
Her background in Human Resources was perfect for it helped her come up with the necessary questions to pose for the screening process. “We need people to be able to prove to us that they are legally single; if they’re divorced then we need a copy of the divorce decree before we can approve his or her membership. We verify people’s social profiles, check the information they have shared with us for authenticity and only then approve their applications,” explains Siddharth. Presently Floh.in has 3500 members across 3 major cities and memberships cost Rs 7500 for 3 months, Rs 12,000 for six months and Rs 15,000 for a year.
The membership allows people to meet on a common online platform and explore their compatibility from there on. Floh.in also hosts weekly events, which members can participate in at an additional cost. “Sometimes it takes a certain situation for people to find that right spark between each other,” tells Simran. “We’ve had couples bonding over sailing days, winery tours, cookout afternoons, learning how to make Sangria and even beer and whiskey tasting nights. We host at least four events each weekend in each city, and in the last two years Floh.in has been seeing at least one couple tying the knot every single week!”
That’s a lot of marriages happening, all thanks to Siddharth and Simran and their brainchild.
“It’s mandatory for a member to exit from Floh once he or she finds their match. And many of our members had gotten so used to meeting new people each weekend at our curated events that they began to feel at a loss for new things to do and new people to meet. Hence we’ve come up with Beyond Work, a new site that caters to people looking to make new friends and build relationships that are not of romantic nature,” explains Siddharth. Beyond Work is just a few weeks old, but already the Mangharams are seeing a flurry of activity on the site and have hosted three weekend events that have been great meeting platforms to network and mingle.
“Though our businesses are highly technology driven we feel it is imperative that we work towards keeping personal relationships alive and going strong. We hope to speed happiness and love, the same way we found ours – by chance – so that more people can take time away from their work and gadgets and connect with others on a real level,” says Simran, signing off.