Info-tech

App store ecosystem needs to be regulated by government: Janakiraman of Matrimony.com

Debangana Ghosh | | Updated on: Mar 05, 2022
Murugavel Janakiraman, Chairman and Managing Director, Matrimony.com

Murugavel Janakiraman, Chairman and Managing Director, Matrimony.com

‘India needs to have a TRAI-like regulator for the app ecosystem’

Over the last two years, Matrimony.com has registered double digit growth across five consecutive quarters as of December 2021. The match-making company expanded to Bangladesh and plans to enter Sri Lanka in the current quarter, before expanding to other Southeast Asian markets.

The company even launched video calling feature and a patent-pending tech feature for enhanced filtering of relevant matches.

Last year, Matrimony.com started Jodii.com, a match-making service for non-degree holders in vernacular language for better penetration in remote markets.

It started with Tamil and is currently available only in Tamil Nadu. The service is getting maximum traction from diploma holders, and those who studied up to class 10 or 12.

In an interview with BusinessLine, Chairman and Managing Director, Murugavel Janakiraman, discusses the growth road map for his company and why the app ecosystem needs to be regulated under a common policy framework.

Were there new features and innovations to make business run smoothly during the pandemic?

We did a couple of things. One of them was the video calling feature to let people connect and meet virtually. We also rolled out video profile and secured connect features. Secured connect helped prospects matches call in-app without revealing phone numbers. We have been innovating on privacy and match features.

On a quarterly basis, our current revenue is in the ₹100-crore range, which we want to take it up to ₹500 crore soon and then reach ₹1,000 crore in a couple of years.

To what extent was the offline consultancy services hit during the pandemic?

We have more than 120 retail outlets which are accessed mostly by the parents. However, this segment forms a very small part of our business.

Our wedding services business was impacted during the pandemic, but we expect that to recover quickly. Through our acquisition of ShaadiSaga, we now have about 80,000 vendors on our platform.

Currently, we are working on the integration of Matrimony.com and ShaadiSaga which helps in having 1.5-2.5 lakh vendors across our platforms including Mandap.com and Weddingbazaar.com. We’ll be adding more features to enable vendors to get more business on our platforms.

As a member of start-up industry bodies like ADIF and IAMAI, how do you see high commissions on in-app purchase on app stores impacting digital businesses in India?

The government has informed CCI and we have been spreading awareness on how Google and Apple have been controlling the entire app store ecosystem and trying to charge high commissions to the tune of 15-30 per cent, which is not good for the country and the start-ups.

In our case, close to 90 per cent of interactions are happening on mobile apps. So instead of getting the option to pay 1.5-5 per cent commissions through other payment gateways, why should we pay 15-30 per cent?

South Korea has passed a law to ensure that start-ups are not forced to use their payment gateways. I think slowly governments across the world are taking a note of this issue. Companies like Google already make tons of money through advertisements. We spend a lot of money on promoting our apps on Google Play Store.

What will be the top developments you are expecting to happen in 2022 which shape up the Indian digital economy in the long run?

Google and Apple payment issue has been noticed by governments across the world and that will happen in India as well.

In the long-term, the app ecosystem needs to be managed by a regulator similar to how TRAI manages telecom companies.

At present, most of the digital business is happening through the app ecosystem and its not open or free, it is controlled by Google and Apple. They can delist any app randomly just like what happened with Paytm.

I think such scenarios needs to be managed by some common policy and regulations.

Published on March 05, 2022
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