Take a Master in Science from MIT who took to investment banking and a software engineer from silicon valley, and make them co-founder’s of a startup. This very potent mix is what has culminated into India’s ticketing portal KyaZoonga. With their recent foray into the E-commerce market as well, KyaZoonga is making the right noises in the startup ecosystem.
YourStory.in caught up with Neetu Bhatia, Co-Founder of KyaZoonga in an exclusive interview on the origins of KyaZoonga, current affairs and future. Here’s Neetu Bhatia, Ex Wall Street Banker and Co-Founder of KyaZoonga.
What is the purpose behind KyaZoonga? Is there any moment of reckoning that you would like to share with us?
You know they say necessity is the mother of all invention. While in the US, we had discovered TicketMaster, which is a great online portal to buy tickets and find out what’s happening in the vicinity. This was a holiday time where I was with my brother and we used it extensively.
After the holiday, we went back to our respective places of work and a few days later my brother called me back asking if I wanted to build a TicketMaster for India and I said, why not? After a few trips to India and some business meetings, KyaZoonga was up and running.
What is the current composition of KyaZoonga? How big is your team?
We are three co-founders. I come from an investment banking background. My brother, Akash Bhatia, was a techie in silicon valley and our third co-founder, Arpitha Majumdar comes from an operations background.
Apart from this, we are a team of about 50 people totally.
What lead to KyaZoonga’s E-Commerce vertical? Was there relation between ticketing and E-Commerce that you were looking to capitalize on?
So during the 2011 ICC cricket world cup, we partnered with ICC on ticketing. Along with this, we were also authorized to sell cricketing merchandize. It so happened that we ended up selling more than the ICC official site, and that lead us to explore that area.
Say you’re going to a Guns and Roses concert, you’d like to buy their merchandize as well right? So that’s where we’re seeing a lot of potential. There is a sort of event and merchandize synergy which is there to be capitalized.
Who are the kind of people who transact at KyaZoonga? How extensively is it used?
Thats a difficult one to answer as our customer base cuts across demographics. But I think it is safe to say that most of people who use the site are up and aspirational people who want to spend money on concerts and related merchandize. Of this, KyaZoonga enjoys a large percentage of return customers as well.
In terms of extent of use, we are sitting on a 3 million plus customer database. This is every marketer's dream right? But this also shows that since 2007, a lot of people have used our service.
KyaZoonga is currently backed by a $15 billion US based hedge fund. Is there any particular reason why you chose to work with them over an Indian alternative?
Honestly speaking, the business model that we had originally made was to bootstrap to a large extent. We never really looked for funding. I’m from an investment banking background right? So I already knew the people who approached us with an investment. A couple of meetings later, we had already raised our series A funding.
But I would like to mention that our investors are very internet media savvy. These are the same guys who invested in companies like Pandora etc., so its really good to work with them.
So, have you raised money after that? Would you be raising money anytime soon?
We stopped after series A. I would like to believe that we are efficient utilizers of capital, and we have been profitable for a while now. Having said that, if a growth opportunity presents itself to us, we might consider raising money.
So I’m not going to give you a definite answer for that; we’ll raise if we need, as you really never know where the growth opportunity is coming from.
What has made your journey with KyaZoonga worthwhile?
See there was this belief in India that most concerts are 80% sponsorship funded, and 20% through ticket sales. Over the past few years, we have been able to change that notion on its head, wherein 80% of the concert costs can be recovered through tickets and sponsorships can top it off.
Seeing this trend, there have firstly been a lot more concerts in India, and secondly a lot more entrepreneurs are venturing into working on such events. This is a source of immense pride for me.
What are some of the term goals for KyaZoonga?
We want every ticketed event to be listed on KyaZoonga and as far as the E-Commerce area is concerned, we will be looking to increase event related merchandize inventory.
At the end of the interview, Neetu asked me how much I would spend for a concert ticket, and with my answer, she remarked again on how something like music which is so universal can bring people across various demographics together. Obviously, an entrepreneur who’s loving what she’s doing.