Sunali is a UX designer and ex-co-founder of Mobikwik.com. After the landmark 2018 judgment overturning Section 377, she overheard a few friends talking about the lack of a safe online dating space for Indian LGBTQ+ people.
As You Are, a local social networking and matchmaking app exclusively for Indian gay people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, founded by Chandigarh-based entrepreneur Sunali Aggarwal in June 2020, raised $250,000 in funding USD in Compulsory Convertible Debentures (CCD; a form of capital that must be converted into equity after maturity) from same-sex couples who are angel investors and also entrepreneurs of Indian origin from the marketing space.
Sunali is a UX designer and ex-co-founder of Mobikwik.com. After the landmark 2018 judgment overturning Section 377, she overheard a few friends talking about the lack of a safe online dating space for Indian LGBTQ+ people. These conversations inspired her to embark on a new venture – As You Are, a matchmaking app exclusively designed for the Queer Indian community.
Sunali Aggarwal says, “After facing some hesitation among Indian investors, ‘As You Are’ sought overseas investors. We found our very first partner to raise investments through Owain Morgan. Coming from the private equity industry, Morgan partnered with us and helped raise angel funds via mandatory convertible debentures, which largely come from same-sex couples and entrepreneurs of Indian descent in the United States. “
The app’s first investor, Shivan Durbal, a US-based Indian entrepreneur, shares, “I love what As You Are does to help the community, helping to build meaningful relationships in a safe and lasting way. I believe the team will achieve and exceed the goals they have set for themselves and their consumers, which is why I have invested hard-earned capital to help them grow, which the community has need, and I hope it will permeate more markets over time. While I hope for the profit, I also hope for the impact it has.
Owain Morgan, Partner, As You Are, says, “India is at the beginning of the process of accepting LGBTQ+ relationships. We have seen these transformations in other countries and once they start what was unthinkable ten years ago becomes the new Until now India did not have a social platform in important line serving all LGBTQ+ people, as As You Are understands India’s unique challenges in bringing community together, from the diversity of culture and language across such a vast country to the hesitation to go out and the social risk that this entails. LGBTQ+ people are whole people and have a multitude of needs and wants, and bringing them together as whole people was important to us. Morgan is a gay man based in the United States, married and living with his partner and two adopted children.
Although the platform started out as a dating app, with “Matchbox” being its main feature, Sunali soon realized that the community needed a medium for safe conversations and more than just a space. to scan the profiles.
“As You Are” already has over 25,000 downloads using this platform without judgment to date, making friends, networking and interacting with others who share the same interests and values.
A key differentiator that sets ‘As You Are’ apart is its manual profile verification, to ensure that all profiles in the app are genuine. Besides matchmaking, users can try new features such as “Group Chat” and “WE, As You Are Community” to connect with other gay users.
In ‘WE, As You Are Community’, members can take part in discussions with like-minded people who encourage them to be their true queer selves, whether it’s a current legal discussion or of a discussion of queer misrepresentation in film. The second feature, “Group Chat,” is a place where members can chat in invite-only groups created around similar interests or hobbies, whether it’s gaming or baking.