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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Lonesome in Delhi? Floh floats hope

Anjali Dawar, Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, October 12, 2012
First Published: 15:56 IST(12/10/2012) | Last Updated: 20:02 IST(12/10/2012)

Have all your friends been taken and are you wondering if you'll ever find someone to grow old with? Shove despair out of that office window. Come October 14 and Delhi will discover a unique way of finding a soul mate. But Floh has been around since over a year in India.  

We were quite intrigued by the concept of Floh so we’d caught up with Siddharth Mangharam, CEO, Floh in March. Read full interview here. A quick insight - Floh is a platform for singles looking to meet likeminded people in a safe environment. More importantly it's an "invitation only network" and not a dating or matrimonial site. Launched in May 2011, Siddharth along with his wife Simran launched Floh in Bangalore. Now the plan is to go national, slowly. And the team decided to stop at Delhi first.

The October 14 event is sold out. What's in store for the group of 20-25 people who are zeroed in on to meet up this Sunday? Floh's blog declares: "We have a totally unique line up of experiences for Delhi starting with a spectacular Vintage and Classic Car event exclusively for Floh members, right in front of the Qutab Minar. This has been organised in arrangement with the Heritage Motoring Society of India and the line-up features Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Cadillac, Buick and many more classic cars in addition to a collection of pre-WW II motorcycles. Members will not only get to see these beauties but will be offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to actually ride in them!"

ALL EARS AND EYES - Left: Floh members at the Vintage car event in Bangalore; Top Right: Siddharth Mangharam at an event; Bottom Right: A Floh member at the vintage car ralley in Bangalore

 

The good news is that more events will follow in the coming weeks in Delhi. I met the helmsman again before their startup jives into the second phase. It had to be asked, why Delhi? "We are most excited about Delhi, even more than Mumbai because the problem is more acute in Delhi. Bangalore is laid back and Mumbai is more chilled out but if you don't have a clique in Delhi one doesn't know how to go about it."

I ask Siddharth how Floh will help Delhiites find likeminded people. He tells me the three ways in which his idea can help people who are single but don't quite know how to go about exploring options. He avers that Floh saves times (no sifting through data), is more real (you meet people in person) and he says that his research shows that parents are loving the concept.

So can anyone and everyone in Delhi play? Not quite and Siddharth is unequivocally insistent about this. "Education background is very important, we are speaking to a very specific educated urban audience. Most of our folks will have Masters degree and they'll be well-travelled."

IT'S BLACK, IT'S WHITE: Floh members at a winery

 

I insinuate if Floh is elitist but he dispels the cloud. "That's just a business call, it's a market that we understand well and it's a need that's not being served. It's not as if we don't acknowledge other segments but we're not going there. Frankly we don't have the wherewithal to handle that and there are other players who are addressing that. If you look at a matrimonial site, they would go to a tier 3 city and cater to everyone."  

Still keen to undersatnd if lack of class or money can diminish right of admission for a Delhiite. "It isn't elitist in the sense that one needs to be super wealthy but I would say that it is selective based on your taste and exposure and where your mind is oriented towards. Some of our events are even Rs. 500 - for example a Heritage Walk event- would include a full breakfast." 

How do group dynamics work? Siddharth said that contrary to our presumption men are lone rangers joining the group alone and women on the other hand come in groups, finding strength in number. 

AMOR VINCIT OMNIA: Floh members at the 2012 Vintage Car event
 

Since last I met him, out of curiosity I ask him, if Floh is now a money-making venture. He answers in the affirmative. It's now a team of 8 in all with 3 founders. Is there a prototype anywhere for Floh? He says there isn't any anology in the West for what they are doing at Floh. But is Delhi, is India truly ready for the concept? Take the poll and tell us.


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