Murugavel Janakiraman is one of those ‘accidental entrepreneurs’—who didn’t grow up with an ambition to start his own business. From his humble beginning in Chennai as an MCA graduate, Janakiraman later moved to the US as a software consultant. He saw his Indian colleagues struggling to find the right match and thus the idea of an online matrimonial site took shape in his mind.
What was the best thing about becoming a leader?
When I look back, I feel the best thing about becoming a leader was realizing my self-worth. It has been fourteen years since I started BharatMatrimony. Today we have about 4,000 associates. We were able to bring a huge number of people into the BharatMatrimony family. A lot of them moved to leadership roles. We diversified into multiple businesses. A small venture grew into a large organization and multiple successful business units. Above all, I was able to help millions find their partners. These are the factors that give me immense satisfaction.
Whether it’s analytics tools or the mobile revolution, we have been one of the early adopters who used tech for the benefit of our users as well as business growth.
The Indian online matrimony business is predicted to triple and acquire a size of Rs 1,500 crore in next three years. What is the biggest change that is awaiting this industry?
I think it’s the proliferation of mobile devices and mobile internet that is going to bring about a major change. Close to 40 percent of our users are already accessing our website through mobile phones. In the next couple of years, the number of people who access BharatMatrimony through mobile phones will surpass those accessing it through PCs. It is a challenge as well as an opportunity.
The new set of users who are coming to our website through mobile phones have experienced internet only through such devices. Their behavior may be completely different. But I think this mobile revolution will help us grow significantly. It will also help us to increase our reach in the rural areas.
Are you an early adopter of technology?
I would say yes, because I come from a technology background. Technology has been one of the basic pillars on which BharatMatrimony was built. Technology has been given a strong priority as we believe it has the power to radically change things for internet companies like ours. Whether it’s analytics tools or the mobile revolution, we have been one of the early adopters who used tech for the benefit of our users as well as business growth.
Does you tech background mean that you take more interest in what goes on in the IT department?
Certainly. Technology has been one of my key interest areas. I work closely with the product team and review products before they go live.
Customer trust is a very important factor in the matrimony business. How do you leverage tech to ensure this?
We do a few interesting things. Apart from manually validating every profile that goes on the site, we do make use of technology to enhance that trust factor. We do mobile verification of all the profiles through SMS and missed calls. We can claim with confidence that we are the only online matrimony site on which each and every profile is mobile verified.
We, at BharatMatrimony, are also leveraging social media in a big way to improve the credibility of the profiles. For instance, a user can choose to reveal his Facebook ID, through which a person viewing that profile can figure out if they have mutual friends. We also integrate the user profiles with LinkedIn, so that people can view how the person’s career has progressed. Social media, therefore, is used to enhance the quality and credibility of the profiles.