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BW Businessworld

Enough Elbowroom For Event Startups

A big gap in the entertainment industry today is the transparency of financial information, reliability in terms of delivery and some sort of public feedback mechanism

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As per a study conducted by Everything Experiential the size of the experiential marketing industry in India is pegged at a whopping Rs 6,250 crore. The report also indicates that spend in 2016 towards on-ground engagement is an estimated 13.6 per cent of the total ad spend, compared to 11.9 per cent towards digital. Besides being a testimony that marketers are increasingly turning their attention to delivering experiences from an erstwhile mass media approach, the numbers also urge one to stop and take notice of the overall thriving environment of the event and experiential marketing industry at the moment.

However, planning and execution of an event, especially one of scale, is no easy task. There are too many variables involved. In this situation several startups have mushroomed to provide efficient solutions to an industry that’s cash rich and booming.


Delhi-based Gigstart was launched in 2013 by Atit Jain and Madhulika Pandey as a marketplace to facilitate quick and transparent connections between entertainers and event planners. One year into the launch they received funding in excess of $200,000 from various investors including Indian Dream Capital (Mauritius), Rajesh Sawhney (GSF), Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl (Snapdeal), Narendra Singh Rawat (FG Wilson), TA Venture Holding, Roshan Abbas and Anand Chandrasekaran. In September, entertainment conglomerate Kwan acquired 85 per cent stake in Gigstart which had aggressively expanded its artist portfolio and built its technology. Kwan with its wide portfolio of creative talent saw Gigstart as a natural fit to digitally reach out to consumers.

A big gap in the entertainment industry today is the transparency of financial information, reliability in terms of delivery and some sort of public feedback mechanism. All three combined, it implies that there is no marketplace for talent today. Gigstart is the first marketplace for such a sector in India. “Every single Kwan artist as well as talent from other agencies will be featured on Gigstart to do justice to the expanse of talent the agency hosts,” says Anirban Blah, founder and managing director, Kwan.

As a software developer, Sandilya Venkatesh saw an opportunity in managing attendance, registrations and modifications for events. The beginnings of his company, Eventjini, were attempts to enable seamless registration at conferences. He used the software at a friend’s event and it worked very well. Soon people started approaching him and he began averaging 60 event partnerships per month. “Being part of Chennai Runners, a running group in my city, I offered to do their ticketing and registration for an upcoming race. The response was great,” says Sandilya. “Shortly after, I approached Procam and after a six-month pursuit they finally decided to give it a try. The association turned out to be a hit and Procam signed us for a three-year contract,” he adds.

Procam International, India’s leading sports management company, hs recently acquired 26 per cent in Eventjini.

Successful startups are those that identify an existing problem and deliver efficient solutions to the same, better and quicker than anyone else. Both Gigstart and Eventjini qualified on these two counts. In the case of Gigstart, it was a gradual realisation that came with handling queries about venue and artist booking for their pet project Weekend Consultant. “We realised that the market was highly unorganised and majorly dominated by event planners. Also the money event planners were charging as middlemen didn’t seem to justify the work they were doing, so Gigstart came into being to fill this gap by directly connecting artists with clients,” says founder Atit Jain.

Eventjini founder Venkatesh adds, “When we started working with Procam we were expected to do bulk offline registration too along with online. This meant us taking the details of each participant and then manually feeding it into our system. We knew that a standardised process and consistent quality would be difficult to achieve. Moreover, the job was time consuming and not our strength as software developers. This posed a serious challenge.” Venkatesh set out to find an effective solution to this problem and soon came up with a plan. He explains, “We devised a scratch card system which produced a unique identification for participants registering offline. As a result participants could use the unique code and register themselves, taking a lengthy, expensive and inconsistent offline process online.”

Venkatesh leaves us to chew on his concluding remark stating, “Before we came into the picture offline registrations were not seen as a problem, it was the only way to register groups and companies for the races. It was only when we identified the problem that people began seeing it as one.”

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The author is editor of BW Applause and Everything Experiential