Bareilley. An IIM Bareilley student got a $100 million funding from SharonStone Capital for his venture into the matrimonial sector through his website “VapasVows.com”.
Speaking about his dream venture, Chaman said, “I was never happy with my old job and in just 6 months, I realized that selling soaps in remote villages of UP was not really my passion. Meanwhile, while on the job, many of my B-School friends got married. After a few months of ‘check-ins’ in fancy places, they invariably started to fight a lot. Over time, they understood that marriage is not really something that they enjoy – it was mostly the fancy places really. That’s when the $100 million idea struck me!”
Speaking about the company and what it plans to do, Chaman said that he is very aware of the tough competition. “Websites like BharatMatrimony.com, Shaadi.com and Jeevansathi.com have achieved superior market penetration in this space already. We plan to compete with them through an innovative offering which has been tailored to the needs of this generation. You will see it when we officially launch this venture.” he said.
When our reporter prodded him further for some spoilers, Chaman revealed that he will have a “90 Day Returns” policy which will allow customers to ‘return’ their spouses if they do not make each other happy.
He said that this feature would allow the consumer the flexibility of a ‘try-out’ before committing to the product. When asked how he came up with this ingenious idea, he attributed it to his B-School.
In his own words, he said, “In the 2 years at IIM Bareilley, we had a very hectic schedule with many assignment submissions due at the same time. I always used to take the contents of one assignment and change a few key words to force-fit it into a suitable assignment of a different subject. The principle is the same when it comes to innovating a business model as well. I took the idea of a ‘Friendly Returns’ policy in the E-commerce industry and force-fitted it in the Matrimonial Sector. After this, it is only a matter of selling the idea to the masses through creative marketing techniques.”
Not entirely convinced with the narrative, our reporter spoke to Balika Vadhu, a Senior Partner at BCG (Bridal Consulting Group) heading the Matrimonial Practice for Asia-Pacific, for an expert opinion. She commented, “A return policy is essentially a divorce facilitated through VapasVows.com. They have only packaged it differently to make it look attractive to consumers.” She walked away angrily by saying, “Consulting companies were the first to come up with the concept of ‘force-fitting’ and now every Chaman on the street is doing it.”
It will be interesting to see how other stakeholders will respond to this development.