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“With the IndianStage Acquisition, We Are Aiming To Serve 20,000+ Tickets Every Month,” Santosh Panda, Explara

“With the IndianStage Acquisition, We Are Aiming To Serve 20,000+ Tickets Every Month,” Santosh Panda, Explara

Formerly known as Ayojak, Explara was launched in 2009 by Santosh Panda and Ashok Kumar. Based out in Bangalore, the startup since its launch has shown a remarkable growth. Back in 2013, Explara had raised a funding from Harvard Business School (HBS) Alumni Angels, Srijan Capital, Blume Ventures and angel investors including Google India MD Rajan Anandan and Kishore Warrier.

Despite of a strong competition in the event ticketing space, with number of startups being present and number funding + Acquisition activities taking place, Explara has grown out strong and have been expanding rapidly. To engage more and more users on its platform, the startup have been seen innovating in the existence features and even launching new features.

The startup, earlier this year had launched a new solution to solve the event discovery in social way by launching a “Event Discovery Solution” to bring all events at one platform pertaining to users’ interest. Prior to this, Explara had also launched Community Solution platform.

Today, Explara had announced to acquire IndianStage in a bid to tap the event ticketing in the entertainment sector. Still a 18 member team and Explara is aiming to hit break-even this quarter. We caught up with Santosh Panda, founder of Explara to know more on the acquisition, how Explara is doing and how does they see growing competition in this space.

Here is a quick chat:

Inc42: India has started to see a lot of acquisitions and mergers these days, what’s your take on this?

Santosh: I think M&A makes huge sense in Indian context as this builds confidence in startup eco-system, and enables larger player to emerge. As India is at early stage of tech-driven startups, joining hands to build larger impact to serve wider set of customers makes more sense via M&A.

Inc42: What was the vision of Explara when you launched it, and how is it shaping up now?

Santosh: When we had launched Explara, we did see this as a very unorganized marketplace and fortunately we started via supplier marketplace route i.e. offering a platform and set of event ticketing/registration & management solution to make event organizers & promoters succeed. We have done a fair service to this industry by enabling 10,000+ such suppliers (event organizers). With this acquisition of IndianStage, we intend to enable more smaller formats of event to success.

santoshInc42: How was the competition when you launched Explara in comparison to now. How has market for event ticketing evolved in the past few years?

Santosh: There has been competition from the day we launched in 2009 till date. Our focus has been to remain focussed on customer needs and build to solve their pain point. We as an organization believe in the culture of heads down work-in-progress model. Hence we didn’t give much attention how competitors doing. As we have gone through 4+ years of working with suppliers, we are in better position to understand their need vs. new competitors.

Inc42: How are you planning to expand Explara to other countries?  

Santosh: Our current focus is India, though we are digitally growing in other countries. We intend to serve India fully before we look for our physical business presence in other countries.

Inc42: With the number of players entering into this space, how much is the share of Explara in total event ticketing market in India? And how do you differentiate Explara from them?

Santosh: Explara is a full suite event platform vs. me-too ticketing site, what I mean by this is Explara offers a suite of solution for event organizers for pre-event,event-day & post-event needs. This means we cover the end-to-end needs of an event thereby being the go to place for events. Explara has also got growth in other countries which shows our solutions are truly unique and able to fulfil need.

Inc42: What are the type of events listed on the platform and which category of events leads on Explara? And how many events are listed on the platform every month?

Santosh: Explara has events primarily in

  1. a) Biz & tech
  2. b) Learning & classes
  3. c) Entertainment & shows
  4. d) Sports & outdoor segments.

We get to serve ~2000 events every month.

Inc42: Share about the number of tickets sold everyday?

Santosh: With the acquisition, we are aiming to serve 20,000+ tickets every month.

Inc42: What are the key learning from your this journey that you would like to share with other startups?

Santosh: I believe certain industries take time to adapt new technologies or models, for instance it has taken 5 years of Explara to attain a leading position. Therefore my suggestion to fellow Startuppers to stay focussed on what customer needs and what could you offer to make them succeed. You will continue to thrive.

Inc42: What all new can we expect from Explara in the coming time?

Santosh: With a strong growth & network of suppliers (event organisers), and recent launch of discovery solution, Explara now aims to offer personalized discovery of events/activities in your city & buy tickets.

Though Explara is doing good and their numbers prove that, the growing competition cannot be avoided. Meraevents, which is yet another portal dedicated to Online Events promotion,  is said to be raising $10 Mn for expansion. It’ll be interesting to see how the two companies along with other players battle out in the future, especially with more startups in the same domain on the rise. With such a close competition in the domain, everyone needs to be inventing more rather than simply innovating.