The events and entertainment industry in India is vast, unorganized and growing. While the multiplicity is advantageous from a customers point of view, it has also led to confusion of never knowing exactly who to get in touch with, for comprehensive event needs. If the right people are come across, the right budget might not be or vice versa. Severing this gap through a much simplified digital platform is MeraEvent.com, a unique systematic marketplace to connect the stakeholders of event and entertainment industry.Learning from his own experience while still working with IDEA cellular, Vishal Sethi, an alumnus of the Institute of Management Technology realized the dilemma of the cumbersome process of getting it all at one place. Working on the idea several times over in his head till it was finally refined to its current form, Vishal gave it the name MeraEvent, something that is simple, easy to remember and communicates the objective of the business well.
MeraEvent allows a visitor to post their event requirements by asking them to fill a basic form in which details like the type of event, number of people, budget and few other questions are asked. The team then gets to work to find the best vendors to suit your needs and even gets them to connect with you. All of this at no cost or fees charged to you.
On the other hand, however, the vendor network is a thoroughly researched and verified one says Vishal adding that the network expands to event experts/consultants/producers and others who provide end to end solutions.
“The idea was to start off with a basic offering through the website first and test the potential through response and reach. Once we had that established, we moved on to creating an unparalleled network of vendors that covers the several verticals in the events industry from catering to performances to venue booking to car rentals” shares Vishal. The scope is evident given that MeraEvent can currently stand to undertake work on events that include weddings, corporate affairs, fashion shows, sport events and almost any others.
The business model is built around commission on event deals even as Vishal adds that other revenue models are soon going to be put in place. With a year’s effort behind them, the four member team is gearing up to add other milestones to their achievements including spreading presence to five more cities before the end of 2010 from the current two in 2009.
Taking us to the beginning, Vishal recalls that it was his selection into the iAccelerator program, an initiative of IIM Ahmedabad that has been a huge support in the build-up of events. “That and the seed capital investment from a silicon valley based investor. Reaching out by way or marketing is proving to be a challenge in the limited resources we work with, yet we have our eyes set steady on the target and will go city by city”
Given Vishal’s track record of successes; he was awarded the ‘IDEA excellence award for being the best employee at IDEA; it is easy to believe in his confidence. Besides the early stage start-up company is also looking to secure angel funding to scale up operations and if all goes as per plans, the journey should be a smooth one from here.
At that, Vishal is quick to add that he has had his own share of challenges. Primarily that of convincing his family and assuring them a higher level of success than at the well paying stable job he held. He also shares his goof up in the management and financial planning in early stage. ‘Trusting work in the hands of people too soon can be disastrous as I learnt, for not everyone is rightly suited for every responsibility. I ended up sending a lot of money on the website development alone which in retrospect could have been better planned and utilized.’ Says Vishal.
On the whole however, there is nothing that Vishal is bitter about. On the contrary, he looks at all the challenges as a great way to learn new things and enjoys the sense of ownership that entrepreneurship brings. “The satisfaction in starting up as an entrepreneur is in the journey itself” says Vishal, ‘My advice to those who want to start up is - have a holistic plan and talk to someone who can give blatant opinions before you start implementing it. Be open and flexible and take a look at market demands while running the business.’