How AsYouAre(AYA) Is Powering LGBTQ+ Dating in India with CometChat
About As You Are (AYA)
As You Are (AYA) is a dating app built exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community in India, where homosexuality was only decriminalized in 2018 when India’s Supreme Court finally struck down a 150+ year colonial era law in a landmark victory for gay rights.
Recognizing the unique challenges queer people in India face around accessibility, vulnerability, and social stigma, and the fact that most dating apps weren’t designed to adequately handle these issues, AYA founder Sunali Aggarawal set out to build a product specifically designed to protect its users. Their mission is to ensure its users date the real people, and their dating experiences remain free from insecurities, stress, and deceit.
The result is a highly rated, and thoughtfully designed product with the most enhanced security measures, including a stringent verification process, a user confidentiality promise, dual safety mechanisms, and a dedicated support system for every user. AYA now uses a host of CometChat-powered features, including its fast, reliable, and secure in-app chat, to help deliver secure communication and an unrivaled dating experience.
When As You Are was founded in 2019, they started with a very basic website that offered limited functionality for users, like submitting user dating profiles. As the team became more familiar with their customer journey, they decided the next critical step would be building an Android app that would allow users to communicate with each other.
For example, one of the enhanced safety measures AYA has implemented is a zero-tolerance policy over any adverse comments or actions taken against any AYA users. They needed an in-app messaging product that would allow them to do a lot of customization on top of it, like implementing their own business rules inside the chat environment.
“One big factor was cost. Because we’re a startup, we’re very cognizant of what our monthly expenses are going to be, and we can’t have erratic billing. With Firebase, we didn’t know how much we’d get charged if there was a surge in traffic. CometChat’s pricing was much more transparent,” Sunali said.
She adds that CometChat offers a high-quality look and feel, smooth user experience, low latency, and all the advanced chat features that dating app users have come to expect nowadays, like sending emojis and images.
And on top of that, another key selling point was the high level of support that CometChat provides. “Whenever we’ve reached out for help, we’ve gotten an immediate response from the CometChat team. The support has been great so far.”
The AYA team launched in-app messaging with CometChat in August 2020. The launch has been “seamless” for the AYA development team, which consists of two coders, and its users, Sunali said.
After the successful launch of in-app messaging with CometChat, the AYA team is not slowing down. At this phase of their still early journey, the AYA team is now focused on leveraging chat experience to give users almost lifelike communication experiences, and being able to support 3k concurrent chats at any given point, which they can do with confidence, given CometChat’s ability to support 1 million concurrent users.
“The biggest win,” Sunali adds, “ is that we are one of the few homegrown LGBTQ+ dating apps in India. And I’m happy CometChat is part of that, because it comes from Indian founders. There’s a lot of pride in that collaboration.”
The CometChat team is equally as thrilled to partner with such a promising startup on such an important mission. “We are proud to partner with AYA - at our core, we strive to provide our customers with a communication platform that is private and secure,” CEO and co-founder Anuj Garg said. “CometChat is powering meaningful interactions for AYA and those looking for connections in an increasingly digital world.”
AYA’s roadmap includes launching an iOS version of their app, and introducing a premium model that allows them to monetize through offering features like voice & video calling, allowing users to upload multiple images once they have a team that can regulate moderation. They are also looking to create custom environments within the CometChat platform that will enable them to offer fun extras, like introducing their own set of emoticons and GIFs, custom backgrounds, and more.
“We set out on a long road and we’ve only just begun,” Sunali says. “We are not just building a dating app, we are on a mission for cultural change for the LGBTQ community in India, and it’s so important for the community to have access to a product like this.”
Check out the website to learn more about As You Are.