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This IIT-IIM duo looks to take a bite off the $1B events industry pie

Sharika Nair
1st Sep 2015
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The events industry is a rapidly growing sector in India. Along with big awards functions, concerts, and shows, involving thousands of spectators, smaller events like college cultural fests or even weddings and birthday parties are also being outsourced to professionals. Most companies have started having their corporate events organized by events firms to ensure that the arrangements are taken care of in a professional manner. Many talented young people also work in the event industry, where they are able to enjoy creative satisfaction along with a successful career.

Delhi based InviteMyGuest.in (IMG) aims to be a one-of-a-kind online marketplace that enables one to explore and hire (invite) artists, performers, photographers, academicians, emcees, speakers, entrepreneurs and trainers (referred to as ‘guests’ by IMG) for any and all kinds of events, all from the comfort of one’s home or office. They aim to offer their users the luxury to browse, choose and finally 'invite' only the best ‘guests’ for those special and important occasions, be it a wedding, corporate party, training, birthday celebration, sports day at school, cultural fest or even a guest lecture in college from within or even outside the city.


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The genesis

“The idea emerged from my personal experience during my stay at IIM-Calcutta. As an active member of various clubs on campus, I spent a lot of time trying to get speakers –preferably well known personalities or celebrities - on campus for events. Usually, obtaining quick and transparent access to such people, and, even before that, gathering enough information to identify the best prospective ‘guests’ for a particular event, was a daunting task. On the other hand, there were lesser-known people equally or more eligible for such invites. Clearly, there was a gap which needed to be addressed,” says Vivek Pateshwari (Co-founder of InviteMyGuest.in), also an IIT Kharagpur alumnus.

founder
Akshay Agarwal

Vivek used to head the marketing portfolio, comprising five countries, for a large business conglomerate based out of Doha, Qatar. He even organized one of the biggest events in Qatar, including a human smiley that set a new Guinness World Record for its immense size, followed by a concert. Armed with the knowhow and the desire to solve a real life problem, Vivek approached his friend Akshay Agarwal, an IIT Guwahati and IIM Raipur alumnus. He was immediately taken by the concept, and it didn’t take long for the duo to quit their respective cushy jobs and relocate to Delhi to work full time on IMG.

By this time, the decision to expand their portfolio from just events in educational institutes to the broader events sector was already taken.

The opportunity

Despite the widespread fragmentation in the $1billion events industry and the e-commerce boom in the country, there seems to be no established platform to bring together guests and hosts in a speedy and transparent manner. Besides, this sector is marred by many non-value-adding middlemen, which adds inefficiency and complexity to the system. The scenario can be compared to the pre-IRCTC days, when railway tickets used to be purchased through agents.

Vivek Pateshwari
Vivek Pateshwari

Going forward, InviteMyGuest.in will also have event organizers listed on the portal, in order to provide either turnkey or peripheral services (e.g. venue arrangements, decoration, stage setup etc.). They will be catering to the end-to-end needs of any event through our marketplace model.

The business model

IMG helps eligible guests enhance their PR value and subsequently, their business, through their participation in several events across the country. They charge a nominal service fee from their guests if the same derives any business from an engagement through the portal. The service fee is far less than the current standard norms in the market. In addition, both the guest and the host get a receipt/invoice for any transaction carried out through IMG. Thus, this initiative also helps channelize more taxes to the government from the sector, where a significant portion of business is currently carried out off the books.

Going forward, they plan to have multiple revenue sources, like subscription charges, and revenues from ads and featured profiles.

Campus ambassador program

Currently, they have a web-portal, where guest sign-up has already begun.They will subsequently launch Android & iOS apps in the next couple of months. Along with the beta launch of the website, IMG is also launching a campaign titled #DoTheIMG in 17 premier institutes (mostly IITs and IIMs) across the country, in association with Ola Cabs, Safexpress and Yourstory.com.

One campus ambassador has been selected from each of the 17 campuses. They are responsible for conducting some social media and campus-specific events on IMG and YourStory’s behalf, as well as for connecting with prospective guests IMG could enroll. Moreover, the campaign is also aimed at connecting with the institutes, and identifying their requirements and expectations for the events that are organized on the respective campuses, including conferences, cultural fests, tech fests, summits, and conclaves etc. and engage with relevant guests to fulfill some of those.

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

 

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