There cannot be a more exhilarating and, at the same time, nerve-racking experience than planning one's own wedding. Getting the invites, making the lists, finding the right caterers, decorators, gifts and ceremonies, the list is endless. Apart from dealing with all the emotional upheaval, there are also several last-minute changes and hustling needed. It was to help people by smoothing out this harrowing day, which should ideally be enjoyed and not lost sleep over, that Rakesh Gupta and Sumit Handa started AppilyEver.
Present on mobile, web and physical channels, the team works closely with the bride, groom and their families to create the perfect wedding. The offerings include curated content with fulfillment support, e-commerce store, and even expert advice. The platform has close to 2,000 products spread across 10 categories, and it also allows users to create events, send out invites and share updates.
Finding that crack in the space
On how they started up, 35-year-old Rakesh says, “Both Sumit and I noticed some very obvious challenges and opportunities in the weddings that we attended. Every work stream, right from sending invites, managing guest lists, and finding the right services providers, seemed to have obvious inefficiencies and challenges. We then got to talking about it and given that our independent observations were so much in sync, it turned out to be the Eureka moment for us.” With the idea of AppilyEver in place, their friend Madhan LP joined the core team.
Rakesh Gupta has nearly 12 years of experience in a variety of domains, from finance, strategy, and consulting, to product management and technology development. Rakesh had earlier co-founded OrderMonger.com in 2006– an online marketplace for food, grocery, flowers, and car rentals. He has an MBA from the Indian School of Business Hyderabad and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Sumit Handa has nearly 15 years of experience in marketing, sales and operations management in ITC, Tata Global Beverages, Saint Gobain and People Combine. He is also a founding investor in vantagecircle.com, a B2B platform for deals and discounts targeted at corprorates. Sumit has an MBA from Symbosis and Bachelor’s degree in engineering from NIT Kurukshetra.
In his 12 years of experience, Madhan has worked with companies like TCS, CSC and British Telecom. Madhan completed his engineering from NIT Trichy in 2003.
Where it hurts the most
One of the issues in the segment, according to Rajesh, is the lack of information on pricing for different wedding services and service qualities.
Solutions revolving around listing details of service providers, while they are useful, do not meet consumers’ expectations. Hence, AppilyEver decided to create packages around the services, with clear details on pricing, what is included in the package along with ratings and reviews of the service provider. “This level of information on the site reduces the information asymmetry and enables consumers to transact on the site itself,” adds Rakesh.
Funding and numbers
The team has recently upgraded their app to be a 'social inspiration discovery and execution app'. The bride and groom can browse through a collection of products, ideas and inspirations across 12 categories curated from across the world and also crowd-sourced from consumers and service providers. AppilyEver has also tied up with vendors across cities and categories for the execution.
The team raised a funding of $400,000 in February from angel investors and entrepreneurs. The round was led by Varun Aggarwal, Co-founder and COO of Univariety.
The team claims to see a growth of 50 to 70 percent month on month across all the metrics, including site visits, app installs, business leads and transactions. It intends on expanding its service base across the country, launching a set of exciting tools and getting more number of service providers on the platform.
Hemant Kanakia, an angel investor of Indian Angel Network (IAN), told YourStory that in urban India alone there are close to 10 million weddings that take place every year, and each of these average at around Rs 20 lakh or more. Reports suggest that the Indian wedding market is around $40 billion.
The space already has several players in the space. Weddingz.in raised an undisclosed funding amount from Sixth Sense ventures, while ShaadiSaga raised funding from Outbox Ventures. There is also Indear, an aggregator of wedding content and products directly from wedding vendors and designers. WedMeGood too raised funding of Rs 2.7 crore in seed funding led by Hemant Kanakia and Alok Mittal of IAN.