An inventor, code developer, researcher, consulting engineer, activist, entrepreneur, and angel investor, all rolled into one, Anil Kumar dons many hats. Over the years he has meticulously crafted his skill set and has mastered the various field of his interest. From following his childhood dreams to achieving his serious passions, Anil Kumar is known for what he is today. As a founder and CEO of Jodi365, he aims to provide a preferred matchmaking platform for educated quality singles worldwide. Anil Kumar talks to RITZ in an exclusive interview as he unveils his childhood, passion, and his love for sports and fitness.
Text: Ancy Donal Madonna
The key idea is when you set your mind on something whether its fitness or any profession you can lead towards it and whatever I do was a joyful project for me!
How was your upbringing?
I was born in Hyderabad and brought up in Chennai. So I classify my upbringing as urban Indian with a typical middle-class upbringing. There is a lot to be grateful for and one of them being my education and good schooling. For better or worse I was good at academics and was fortunate enough to achieve my dream of getting into IIT Madras and pursued my Engineering and later moved to the US for higher studies. I was fortunate to have a good education which allowed me to pursue my professional interest which took me to the US and while finishing up my studies over there I saw an opportunity to do something professionally in India which brought me back.
Your cricket updates on social media tell us how passionate you are about the sport. So tell us about your aspiration of being a cricketer.
I had different aspirations during my childhood and cricket was one of them. My neighbors and I used to play cricket in a club nearby and I underwent training after school thinking that I can improve my skills. At that time I wanted to represent India as a cricketer but later realized my talents are not going to take me into professional sports.
Where do all these inspirations come from?
Apart from sports I am interested in general fitness and one of my cousins was into Judo and he used to show me how tough his abs were and taught me a few abs exercises. So right from the age of 12, I started my workout routine. Another inspiration was my cricket coach L S Panjabikesan, at the age of 62, he would play and do the running drill with us and I remember thinking that maybe when I get old I would like to be as fit as him. So it’s simple you start early, keep it up, it’s not so difficult!
From an inventor to being the founder of Jodi365 over the years you have been the jack of all trades, how did all these happen and what was your experience from it?
After my IIT entrance exam, I was so bored and decided to do something to keep me busy. So I got the idea for a board game and crafted it joyfully. Later I wanted to preserve my invention and got a patent for it. So it all just happened and I would say my boredom paved way for my innovation. Now I run an online matchmaking platform that required a matching system we developed and have a patent too. So other things are different interests at different stages of life and I followed them. For all this, I’m thankful to my parents who gave freedom and allowed us to pursue our interests.
How did you come up with your venture Jodi365?
It all started in 2009 when I was with the Angel Network, I was into entrepreneurship and was in my mid-30s and was single for a long time during which I’ve tried many dating sites which didn’t work for me so I thought I could do a better job with all those experience and knowledge I’ve gained so far. So I began exploring and had an insight on how my site should be and came up with Jodi365 which is something in between the traditional matrimonial site and the frivolous social networking apps that which is a sensible common ground that appeals to the young generation. So it’s been 10 years since Jodi365 we are excited and scaling up too.
My parents may feel proud for the things that I’ve done but they always say, ‘Keep your head in the sky, aim high but stay grounded’ and I’ve been following that ever since and that’s the reason what I am today and I don’t think I’ve made it in life, I still have the hunger and there are still mountains to climb!
What is your USP for Jodi365?
Jodi365 is mainly for quality singles which allow finding a potential partner at their own pace. We are not the typical matrimonial site, we are not a casual dating app, either, and we are different in that we believe. Our thoughtful, in-depth profile questionnaire shows that a prospect is earnest, and helps people truly get to know someone. So we believe people marry when they are ready and they are not 2- minute noodles. By raising the bar, we strive to ensure that they see only genuine profiles of people who are serious about finding a match.
Your brother, Ajith Kumar is an established actor in India. Why didn’t you use his influence on the marketing and promotion of your business?
Even if I would have used my brother’s influence that is not going to define the success of my business. So the intent was never there that the reflected glory might make a business, whatever I had to do would have to live or die on its own merits. He has worked hard to get to where he is and the least I can do is follow my heart and on the merit of my hard work get to wherever I get.
You are back from the US after a long gap so how do you think Chennai has changed over the years?
Some people told me that NRI’s can’t survive in Chennai but I grew up here and I didn’t have that mindset, that’s maybe because of the family influence and upbringing. But it used to be hard when I visit India after a long gap later I visited regularly and saw the changes over the years. I feel proud to say that I’m very comfortable in India just as I feel comfortable in the US.
Tell us about your bond with your siblings?
The longest bond you have with anybody is with your sibling. We are a close-knit family and we grew up together so the love and affection will always be there after all blood is thicker than water!
What are your future plans in terms of your business?
When I did my Ph.D. I wanted to be a teacher and I still have that interest but right now my main focus is to run a profitable business. Apart from that, I have an interest in writing and I blog occasionally but my schedule doesn’t permit me to take it full time. In the near future, I might be a teacher, investor, author or philosopher but I hope it is a part of my growth and as long as it is there I’ll be content.