New York based group-dating site Ignighter.com has raised $3 million in Series A funding from a group of investors, 40 percent of whom are from India, led by Point Judith Capital with GSA Venture Partners, Founder Collective, GTI Capital Group, Hugo Enterprises, Rajan Anandan (Google India Head), David Cohen, Dave Tisch, Kal Vepuri, Peter Lehrman, Nihal Mehta, Sasha Mirchandani(managing partner of Mumbai based Kae Capital) and other angels participating, report TechCrunch and The New York Times.

What’s interesting here is that the site has managed to raise funding on an India plank: after failing to ignite in the US, the dating site noticed that it was getting an increasing number of registrations from India. So, Ignighter launched an India specific site in January 2010 (it has a site Ignighter.in), and since then claims to have acquired 2 million users with 7,000 registrations  daily in the country. Ignighter plans to open its India office next month and will hire around a dozen people.

Ignighter allows users to form groups online and search for prospective groups to date offline in a group setting. Registration is free of charge, but in order to send messages to other users, one has to pay a monthly subscription fee of $44.95, after a three day trial period. Users have to key in their credit card details even to register for the trial, after which the monthly fee is deducted if one does not cancel the subscription. There is also a Gifts section where users can buy virtual gifts using their virtual points and send them to fellow members . These virtual points also need to be purchased with a credit card and start at $2.49 for 250 points.

A few things:

– It would be interesting to see how many of the registered users actually use their credit card on a dating site, with credit card penetration in India being very low. Ignighter hasn’t given any information on the total number of paying users in India.
– Registrations are not an indication of either the total number of active users, or a paying user base. Social networking sites operating in India are awash with those looking for “fraandship”.
– Ignighter will have to face competition from social networking sites like Facebook, which are free and are being increasingly used as a dating platform.
– A high membership fee and the absence of an easy payment mode in India would also be restrictive.

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