The Aisle story: How Able Joseph is enabling people to fall in love and walk down the aisle

The dating app has recently launched three variants in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. Here's their story
Pic: EdexLive/ Bidushi Das
Pic: EdexLive/ Bidushi Das

The prying journalist had no room to play cupid with Able Joseph. He was no Justin McLeod. This Modern Love story had a rather interesting twist. Able met his wife through Aisle, the dating app that he founded, half a decade back. Now, after enabling a good few Indians to find love, Able and his team have recently launched the app in three regional languages — Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu — to bring people across strata to the platform.

Able says that he started Aisle out of his own exasperation of the interfaces that a lot of matrimonial apps (where his parents forced him to be a member) had back in 2013. "What if you didn't want to get on those apps, but wanted to meet someone outside your circle?  That's when I wanted to develop a singles community that is vetted by real people. The trust factor was missing from a lot of dating apps and this prevented a lot of women from trying them out," he says, reminiscing the time when the team called every user over the phone to verify their credentials.

The Aisle app was launched in 2016 and Able calls it the right mix of a casual dating app and a matrimonial app. "If you're looking for a hookup or a chat buddy, Aisle is not for you. Here, we are looking to find a balance between the dating factor, where you find your significant other independently and on the other hand, meet someone who would be approved by the family," says Able. "It is customised keeping the Indian users in mind. If you're signing up for Aisle, you know exactly what you're looking for. You may end up walking the 'aisle' with them," he says, reiterating that their target group is mostly people over 24 and that Aisle is not exactly for college students.

How did the idea of launching vernacular editions of the app come up? He says that it was around the same time when he noticed apps like TikTok blowing up and a lot of content getting uploaded from tier-II cities or non-urban places. "Then, the pandemic hit, TikTok was banned and everyone was online all the time. We saw more downloads and we thought if youngsters from non-metro cities were open to the idea of using all these apps, it may be time for them to meet someone on their own," says Able. A few months later, they ended up launching Anbe (translates to life or dear one), an app exclusively for people who speak Tamil and Neetho (beloved) for Telugu speakers. They also launched a Malayalam app called Arike (Close). A few thousand users sign up every week, says Able.

All that being said, people still shy away from talking about meeting their significant others through a dating app. Able is quite aware of that and he doesn't think that this hesitation going to go away anytime soon. He says, "I don't think that people's immediate families may have a problem. But once it comes to presenting the case to the relatives, they hesitate to say it out loud." He even quotes an incident, straight out of his own life. "I met my wife on Aisle and we never spoke about it for the longest to our families. That hesitation is not going to go away anytime soon. Movies have to be made where people meet online and those movies have to be accepted," he says.

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