hi INDiA
South Asian Views On Global News - Update 24X7

Chicago entrepreneur Anip Patel’s South Asian dating app ‘Mirchi’ is getting hot

Co-founded by three ambitious youngsters it is attracting covetous multi-million dollar acquisition offers

Among the young South Asian population these days not every hookup is about prospective marriage, long-term relationship or even one-night stand. It is often equally about grabbing a beer and shooting the breeze among like-minded youngsters.

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

By Mayank Chhaya, Special to Hi India

Chicago entrepreneur Anip Patel’s South Asian dating app ‘Mirchi’ is getting hot

Among the young South Asian population these days not every hookup is about prospective marriage, long-term relationship or even a one-night stand. It is often equally about grabbing a beer and shooting the breeze among like-minded youngsters.

With that simple logic in mind, Anip Patel of Chicago along with two others decided to create an app barely seven months ago which lets its users make “meaningful connections.” “Especially in the South Asian community moving on from the biodata to the traditional arranged marriage to getting a reference to somebody, in today’s day and age we are all about dating apps. Not everyone is always ready to get married. So we have made sure that we have put friendships and relationships,” Patel, who is 30 and CEO and a co-founder of the app makers Mirchi, says.

“If you are a 25-year-old guy in Chicago who does not want to get married right now but wants to make a connection, we allow him to make friends. You can make somebody of the same gender your friend or date somebody of the opposite gender or if you are LGBTQ+ community you could date or make friends with the same gender,” Patel says.

Mirchi, which Anip says has a “sexy, spicy” ring about it, has been developed keeping in mind South Asian sensibilities even though it can be used by anyone. In less than seven months it has notched up 250,000 users in five geographies, including here in America, and is growing at a rapid pace.

“We let our users tell a story about themselves, put video features rather than just photographs. That helps facilitate connection,” he says.

The app uses complex algorithms to create specific user profiles that make establishing friendship/relationship easier. The data collected by the app, says Anip, is “completely secure” and the company makes sure that none of that is leveraged unfairly. “We do not sell that data. We do not do anything with that data. We use that data for internal reference such as what does an 18-year-old male like as opposed to a 30-year-old female. We use that to drive our ads and analytics,” Patel told Hi India in an interview.

Anip says the name Mirchi is aimed at telling the world that “We are loud, proud and unapologetic.” At the same time, he insists, that inclusiveness is an essential part of Mirchi. To that end, it decided to endorse the LGBTQ+ community. “Once we started endorsing LGBTQ+ community we started receiving a tremendous amount of love throughout the nation.

Asked how the company would resist the temptation of data mining as part of its revenue generation, Patel says, “It is not like we are seeking to sell the data or use it to anybody’s disadvantage. But we do use our data to know who our customer is. Our app is absolutely free. We do not run any ads but if you want to match with more than seven people per day, we charge a fee.”

“So if you can be patient our app is free. If you cannot be patient, you pay us,” he says.

Anip has a background in IT consulting. He owns a South Asian management company. He says he is also a comedian.

Apart from IT, talent management and comedy Anip has also managed to create an app that he claims is the “highest grossing and fastest growing dating app in the world.” Mirchi’s predominant user base is in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. The gender breakup of the user base, he says, is 65 percent men and 35 percent women, numbers, he says, “are very normal for dating apps.”

Asked about the genesis of the app, Anip cites his own example. “The app basically users make friends taking into consideration that not everyone is ready to get married or even get into a relationship. It is open to making meaningful connections.  I was in New York a couple of months ago and I wanted to hangout. I could go on a date. I know a lot of girls there but I just want to hangout with someone, grab a beer, go to a bar and have fun. There was no way I could have done that without knowing somebody in that city. So how do I meet someone of my culture, South Asian, maybe go out watch a Bollywood movie? Before we came there was no app for that,” he says.

Signing into the app it gives the user the choice of dating, friendship and friendship/dating.

He points out that there are apps like Bumble for all genders and nationalities and he wanted to do something for the South Asian community, “especially those young adolescents whom we want to mentor and network with people.” “Our app allows you to show what you do, where you work. I have people who are 18 reaching out to me saying they want to be a CEO one day, do I have five minutes to talk? To inspire and encourage these kids is a great gift,” Anip says.

Anip says the name Mirchi is aimed at telling the world that “We are loud, proud and unapologetic.” At the same time, he insists, that inclusiveness is an essential part of Mirchi. To that end, it decided to endorse the LGBTQ+ community. “Once we started endorsing LGBTQ+ community we started receiving a tremendous amount of love throughout the nation.

“But with the love and inclusion that we offer, it was a big step within the South Asian community. It also came with a lot of consequences. Mirchi is the first South Asian dating app to support and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, marking a big step for the otherwise conservative Asian community. Mirchi’s level of inclusiveness offers the LGBTQ+ community a new precedent and a big step forward in the South Asian dating game. Recently, Mirchi app was not approved to advertise with one of South Asia’s largest media companies. The media company said, “We do not support or promote this, nor do we believe in it or are prepared to put this forward to the public.”

“Losing an ad space in one of the largest media outlets in South Asian is definitely not something we saw coming. It’s only a minor setback but not enough to stop us in our tracks. We believe in what we are doing and trying to accomplish, and will not let obstacles like this deter us,” Anip says.

“We have people around the world cry and send us love messages for being inclusive saying they are finally being heard,” Anip says.

“We have an option where someone can choose the word Hijra. We have 500 different words for who you identify as. No South Asian dating app in the world allows that,” he says pointing out their inclusive advocacy.

Equally significantly no South Asian app other than Mirchi has removed the caste system. “We are the only app in the world that does not have the caste system. If you go to Shadi.com you could pick that you are only looking for someone who is Brahmin. On our app you cannot do that. We are in a world where this should be out. Why are we still doing this? That’s why we are loud, proud and unapologetic. We don’t care what anybody tells us. We do our best to see that everybody finds a connection,” he says.

As its popularity grows, Mirchi is already attracting covetous gaze for acquisition by investors and companies. “We have been offered crazy amounts of money. We have already been offered high seven to eight figures. We are very tempted but we are not going to just give that up to anybody anytime soon. It is intriguing because we have only out in a couple of thousand dollars but we are getting multi-million deals,” he says.

 According to Anip, “Mirchi hopes to be one of the leading South Asian dating and friendship apps and have a worldwide presence. The company also aims to donate over $100,000 every year to various South Asian creatives to further advance the diversity of South Asian culture, spirit, creativity, and ingenuity. Mirchi both encompasses and promotes within other South Asians who truly bring light to our culture in multidimensional and modernized ways.”

The company’s website says, “Beyond dating, Mirchi aims to bridge artists and like-minded individuals and create a community that would be open to various collaborations. To echo the co-founder’s words, the app presents no limitations for its users, whether they are looking for a relationship or trying to find new friends as they move to a new city.”

gtag('set', {'user_id': 'USER_ID'}); // Set the user ID using signed-in user_id.