Finding a desired venue for an event – be it a meeting for 100, a get-together, birthday party or a wedding for thousand, is no less than a worrisome task. One has to visit several hotels, individual halls, locations to zero in on a final venue that fits the budget.
And in case you flunk in finding one, or until you compromise owing to cumbersome process, the search goes on.
But not anymore. Thanks to a Chennai-based startup Bigfday, co-founded by Sabin Rodriguez and Utkarsh Singhania, which is simplifying the cumbersome process of choosing party halls or event venues.
It was in October 2013, when a cousin of Sabin Rodriguez, wanted to book a party hall for her father’s birthday. When they started calling restaurants and venues for booking, they were called at venues and had to go through unnecessary processes and non-transparent pricing offers.
Sabin and Utkarsh realized that problems they experienced were same for others, who wanted to organize event or party for their family member or relatives. “That time, we thought of starting online venue booking platform,” says Sabin.
The first version of Bigfday, a listing platform, was launched in 2014. Later, in December 2015, they came up with advanced version, which is online venue booking on its platform.
Bigfday, has more than 500 venues listed in Chennai. At present, the company has a team of fourteen people working on technology and meeting venue operators on the ground.
Core problem: One-stop place for event booking
Planning an event today is still an issue and not as simple as it should be for the people. A person has to do all planning including talking to vendors, going to venue selecting all the requirements to organize an event. This takes a lot of time of a customer.
Bigfday allows people to customise their own events. “Our motive is to provide one stop place for event booking,” adds Sabin.
The company collects all the important hi-level details from venues such as space and the seating capacity of hall or venue and menu choices. It also has photographers, who go to the venue to shoot high-quality photographs of the venue, so consumers can make a decision with more clarity and fewer hassles.
It also offers dynamic pricing for its customers. Prices at venues change based on date of the event, number of guests, type of food and due to constant change in supply and demand. The firm also takes care of the logistics involved, like visiting the venue to check everything is in order.
Advantages of Bigfday over competitors
To understand what Bigfday does uniquely, you got to first see the traditional way of hiring event services, where the core problem lies. The traditional process booking an event hardly addresses the problem as they rely heavily on networks and references. This without no transparency in pricing.
“One thing that is unique to Bigfday is the way in which the same supply can be tweaked for different types of customers,” says Sabin. There is an offering at our platform that fulfils all the requirements of the consumer, he emphasizes.
Bigfday builds a network of professionals with details, such as portfolio, reputation, indicative pricing on every project of every vendor. “We show this to consumers to plan their event faster,” Sabin quips.
Currently, the event services market is addressed majorly by online classifieds, directories. In servicing event space, Bigfday has competitors in Justdial, Sulekha and UrbanClap, who hold the largest market share of the segment.
Achieving break-even within six months
Since 2015, the company claims to have been growing over 100 per cent year-on-year basis. The company reached break-even after six months of launching its new product.
It did over 800 venue bookings on its platform in the 2016-17 financial year. The revenue of the firm has witnessed the growth of around 400% in booking on its platform.
“We are on track to do over Rs 18 Crore worth of bookings on the platform this FY in the home market Chennai. With a take rate going up from 4% to 10% now, “ Sabin explains.
He further stresses that these businesses would continue to evolve as they try and piece together clear unit economics. The company major earnings come through Commission from venues (60%), Ads for venues (20%) and commission from vendor services (20%).
Repeated customers for venue booking on the platform is around 16% whereas repetition of overall referrals goes upto 25 %.
Bootstrapped since inception, Bigfday team is now in process of closing its first round from two angel investors in Chennai to raise the technology for the services it is offering offline and step into another new market, which is Hyderabad.
This market is completely unorganized and almost all the transactions happen offline. This is what Bigfday wants to change in coming days.
“The immediate step is to move the vendor services online, just like what we did with venues,” concludes Sabin.