It was after being single for several years that Varsha Agnihotri, aged 35 at the time and working as an ad filmmaker in Mumbai, founded FNM in 2010 in partnership with her brother Abhishek.
“We were both single, had a large circle of friends, but rarely saw someone outside of it,” Agnihotri told me over a salad-and-sandwich lunch at an upscale restaurant in Vasant Kunj.
Over the past five years, a dozen gated singles’ networks have sprung up in the big cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune—to serve the social group they refer to as “cultured professionals.” You could be a lawyer, a banker, an entrepreneur, a consultant, an architect, a pilot, a news anchor, a graphic designer, a TED fellow.
It could be any job that broadly came under the purview of cool—engineers are mostly missing from the professions outlined—as long as you could pay anywhere between Rs10,000 and Rs50,000 as annual membership, excluding the considerable cost of attending mixers, and wouldn’t be out of place at a BBQ lunch or wine tasting.
Shruti Sharma, a 31-year-old digital media consultant with an international non-profit, joined Floh in 2013 because she didn’t seem to meet the kind of the men she likes in Delhi.
She told me over an email that she found the men at Floh to be “more on the shy side” than women.
The feedback you give us will help us fine-tune the matchmaking process and streamline our choices for you. Membership is extended to like-minded individuals that are carefully vetted by our team.
“For some of the men, no one’s ever taught them how to woo a woman, to ask someone out.
One of the things we tell the girls who join the network is to be kind to the men,” said Agnihotri.
The more you observe their rise, the more they seem to have everything going for them. The reasons: They have too much work, too little time, saturated social circles, few outlets to meet new people like themselves, cultural baggage, and too many expectations.
Given their social prominence, it was only a matter of time before new-age entrepreneurs realised the market potential of helping India’s professional elite pair off.