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Issue Date: May 2009, Posted On: 5/7/2009
The Business of Love
Calif. attorney leaves law to play cupid with company for South Asian professionals
By Jen Richman
PALO ALTO, Calif. – For Jasbina
Ahluwalia, founder of Intersections
Matchmaking, affirming her long-held
longstanding entrepreneurial hunger
all comes in a day’s work – a day she
used to fill with practicing law.
After 10 years as a lawyer, Ahluwalia,
who was transfixed about the idea of
entering the matchmaking business
for several years, decided to take the
plunge in 2007 by starting the Palo
“In the back of my mind I wanted to
have an entrepreneurial experience,”
Ahluwalia said. The company, which
targets South Asians, typically has
fewer than a hundred clients at a
given time, making it manageable for
her to become personally involved with each client’s matchmaking process.
Intersections operates in a two-step process.
First, Ahulwalia meets face-to-face for a private consultation with clients within proximity to
Palo Alto, and alternatively, over the phone with those who are not – the aim of which is to help
set clients’ priorities in line with respect to desirable companionship traits in others.
“It can be very different when you’re parsing through [the traits with another person],” Ahulwalia
Clients are able to use Ahulwalia as a sounding board during this phase since she believes it is
easier for someone else to define and pinpoint what is most important to an individual client,
than for an individual to sort through the process alone. It is a means of allowing clients an
active participation in their own dating process, said Ahulwalia.
Ahulwalia also attempts to ensure that everyone who seeks her services is able to articulate
the kind of person they would like to meet, as opposed to having friends’ or familial
expectations muddy the process, which she admits can happen more frequently within the
South Asian culture than American culture. Dating can at times become depersonalized when
friends and family start weighing in with their own criteria for their loved ones’ potential mates,
Clients are encouraged to open up about previous dating experiences, allowing Ahulwalia to
provide them with an outsider’s perspective. People are often amazed by how much insight
can come about through sharing their experiences, Ahulwalia said. Roadblocks and negative
patterns from past relationships are discussed during the private consultation with Ahulwalia to
avoid having the client repeat dating follies.
The first phase of action has the accumulative effect of “opening up the universe for our
clients,” said Ahulwalia.
Oftentimes, clients are so immersed in their careers that they do not have the time or
inclination to meet people, said Ahulwalia. She believes the consultation is a way for clients to
distill important character traits into a workable goal toward which they can then set about
finding the right person.
The second prong involves a built-in criminal background check to ensure customer safety.
Misrepresentation is the biggest hazard of online dating, says Ahulwalia.
After 10 years as a lawyer Jasbina Ahluwalia left her career
to found Intersections Matchmaking in Palo Alto, Calif.
Intersections Matchmaking is a dating servic that focuses
on South Asian professionals. The company combines
online services with face-to-face consultation to help its
clients connect with others looking for love. Photo courtesy
Franchise Law Firm