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Perfecting the art of match-making

Ki and ka

In Conversation

Perfecting the art of match-making

Matchmaking is one of the most sought after responsibility in India, which is generally shouldered by parents and relatives. However, that involvement is quickly fading with more and more young minds moving and adapting to the fast paced metros of India, where life is more self-centric.

“The scenario is changing. Just a formal introduction between two people does not work anymore. Marriage is about two people making decisions for the rest of their life. For that, one needs to understand certain nuances about the other person. Hence, we have come up with,” said Ishdeep Sawhney, ex- Apple employee, founder, and CEO at Banihal. is a matchmaking service that uses a precise algorithm to ensure matrimonial success. It has made neuroscience research and advanced search technology the centerpiece of its matchmaking service to deliver objective and accurate results. It’ seeks to offer fulfillment to the top 10% of the population in metros, who are well-educated and are successful in their careers.

Incorporated in 2014, Banihal Inc is based out of Cupertino, California and was founded by Ishdeep Sawhney and Upender Sandadi. has received its seed funding from Dr. David Cheriton, the billionaire Computer Science Prof. from Stanford University, last year.

It all started when Sawhney was finding his perfect partner. He realized the need for a platform that will allow one to assess oneself and one’s needs in an objective way and help to decide who the right person is.

The service also encompasses a secure communication medium wherein users don’t have to share their email or phone number. To offer maximum value to its users, Banihal suggests five best matches for each profile. In the initial phase, the service is free of cost.

Unlike most other matrimonial websites, Banihal focuses on a particular group leading a certain lifestyle.

Sawhney said, “We concentrate on working professionals in the age group of roughly 25-30 years who have their unique definition of an ideal marriage and are looking for someone who is on the same page as them. The service caters to the aspirations of those for whom traditional ways of finding a life partner simply does not work.”

“When we meet someone in person, the brain uses thousands of rules and observation to form a quick opinion which is usually correct. Banihal does this for each user and then matches to all other existing profiles to find the 5 most likely matches as recommendations,” he added.
People registering in have to fill up a different comprehensive questionnaire as opposed to other similar sites, where the search engine tries to get their intuitions and then incorporate it into their algorithm.

Sawhney said, “We take two tests- empathy based and risk-based. We ask the people registering about their role model, who are married. It has to be from someone they know, not celebrities. We try to get their psychology, because that hardly changes with age, whether one is 20 or 80. We have artificial intelligence (AI) based questions too.”

“We have also been observing a good percentage women entering into this in the last few years,” he added.

Matchmaking in online is currently growing at 30 per cent. It is said to be $100 million market presently, of which eight metro cities are said to account for 50% of the users.

Ki and ka

Banihal’s latest TV ad campaign that featured Bollywood stars, Kareena Kapoor, and Arjun Kapoor, was a big success that has increased the number of people visiting the site by ten times, said Sawhney.

The TV ad, which has been created by Hope Productions and has been scripted by the film’s director R Balki, portrays how the cosmopolitan has altered the dynamics of marriage.

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