On closing its pre-series A round of funding from a set of HNIs, Fullonwedding reveals how it ensures weddings, just like couples, look like they're made in heaven.
At a glance
Founders: Khushbu Jagwani, Shalabh Jhalawad and Himanshu Jagwani
Year it was founded: 2016
Where it is based: Bengaluru
Problem it solves: Curates all vendors required for a quintessential Indian wedding and acts as a digital liaison between them and people planning weddings
Funding: Undisclosed Pre-series A round from HNIs
While marriages and couples may be made in heaven – weddings and ceremonies are made right here, on God’s imperfect earth, in an especially imperfect industry.
In spite of the massive digitisation and technological advancements in all other sectors, the Indian wedding industry is still unorganised. There is no dearth of supply or demand, but neither is there a single seamless platform for couples and families planning weddings as well as vendors, nor is there standardisation of any wedding services. Enter childhood buddies Khushbu Jagwani, Shalabh Jhalawad and Himanshu Jagwani – who decided to help a couple plan a “fullonwedding” in a stress-free manner – and what they built has helped 15,000 couples plan hitch-free weddings – pun intended.
The story of the three founders coming together is as fun and beautiful as weddings are - while Shalabh and Khushbu are high school friends who stayed together 12 years before getting married recently, Himanshu is Khushbu's brother. For the trio that goes way back, when the gap presented itself, they were obvious choices for each other as partners. Therefore, 31-year-old Khushbu, an MBA from IIFT Delhi, assumed the role of CEO and leads product and strategy at Fullonwedding. Shalabh, a mechanical engineer, assumed the role of COO, and leads the sales and marketing functions there. Finally, Himanshu, a computer engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur, who holds an MS from Columbia University, is the CTO at Fullonwedding.
The idea struck when a wedding in the family threw open massive chasms – and potential opportunities to organise the space. The trio wasted no time in talking to various industry stakeholders - who granted them market validation, and potential vendors - and were enthusiastic about coming on board. This encouraged them to move forward in turning this idea into a business.
Fullonwedding, which is part of Fowks Infomedia Pvt. Ltd, is an online platform that aims to bridge the gap between the wedding vendors and families or professionals planning weddings.
Their key differentiator is this – they partner with a ‘curated’ set of wedding vendors – some that they identify, and, others through referrals and applications and a very cut-throat selection process. For customers, they offer services like venue search, which are complimentary, and ‘packages’ like design and décor, vendors including caterers, photographers, hair and make-up artist etc. Once a customer signs up for any of these and fills out a contact form, Fullonwedding then leverages Artificial Intelligence and image processing to develop personalised and contextual solutions for the customers, and sends them a list of prospective vendors offline.
It works on a subscription model with its partner vendors. In turn, it helps vendors increase their brand presence, sales and customer reach using digital media. “We offer a huge price advantage over available market prices, and guaranteed lowest prices for high quality services to the couples,” Khushbu claims.
In order to engage their potential clientele, they create fun content surrounding the latest wedding trends, and couple it with innovative social media strategies to create buzz. “With so many cultures and communities coming together in India, it is challenging to build a product that caters to this largely diverse industry,” says Khushbu.
“Most other players in the space have built discovery platforms for wedding vendors, leading to high operational costs and costly customer acquisitions. Unlike them, Fullonwedding focuses on partnering with a curated set of wedding vendors and acts as an extended sales and marketing platform for them. This has made Fullonwedding a preferred partner for the wedding vendors and in turn grown its profit margins much faster than other existing players,” explains Khushbu.
The company operates in the Rs 260,000-crore Indian wedding segment, which is growing 25-30 percent year on year. In the last one year, the company’s revenues have grown by 250 percent and it has served over 15,000 couples till date. On a monthly basis, an average of 1,200 couples actively plan their wedding on the platform.
They launched a beta version in Indore, their hometown, and started getting customers from the very first week of their launch. Once the initial momentum was built, this fledgeling started to face all the challenges typical to startups - finding the right resources, reaching out to the right mentors and scaling up. That was when they moved to Bengaluru with NUMA Accelerator, as part of their 2016 batch.
“The strong support from NUMA Bangalore and NASSCOM 10000 Startups team in connecting us to the right networks has been vital to our growth and helped us in our journey. We quickly launched our operations in Bengaluru and Mumbai, and recently entered the Delhi market as well,” she informs us.
The company is also backed by NASSCOM 10000 Startups and is ranked by them among the top three most innovative startups in India. Consequently, the Bengaluru-based wed-tech startup raised a pre-Series A round (that they cannot reveal as they are bound by contract) from a set of marquee investors as well. They plan to deploy this newly raised capital to scale up its operations to 15 cities, grow the business verticals and strengthen its partner network, which they are hoping would translate to a 5x boost in revenues over the next 18 months.
The team is also now gearing up to offer destination weddings – like the quintessential royal-wedding at Udaipur and the exotic beach-wedding at Goa.