Launched back in 2009, MeraEvents is an event listing, promotion and ticketing platform, that connects the organizers, delegates, and service providers from across the country. It offers event organisers with numerous options like listing, promotions, online ticketing, etc. The platform adds over 1000-1500 events per month across various categories including Professional, Entertainment, Sports, Training, Spiritual, Campus, Trade Shows, etc.
Selling over 100-150 tickets, that garners ticket sales of around 3-4 lakhs a day, MeraEvents is targeting to reach a 300% increase and thereby garner a ticket sales of around 200 crores in 2017.
We caught up with Naidu Darapaneni, Founder and CEO MeraEvents.com to know about the latest happening in MeraEvents, how are they differetiating the platform from the other existing players and the future prospects of the company.
Inc42: What made you launch MeraEvents? What was the inspiration behind its launch?
Naidu: When I came back to India in 2007, I saw that there is a huge potential in the Indian market. As I was doing a B2B business all these years in US, I wanted to start a B2C business. To feel the Indian market, I started attending various Conferences, trade shows and startup events across the country and while I was doing so, I realized that many times it was difficult to find information about any event beforehand and that is where the idea to start MeraEvents.com sprung up to provide complete information about events.
Inc42: Since there are other players already in the event ticketing space, what differentiates you from them?
Naidu: MeraEvents provides value addition to the events of the organizers as we offer numerous options like listing, promotions, online ticketing, etc. to our event organizers. Our USP is that we the organizers can list their events for free, choose from the varying paid promotional packages, and benefit from the lowest payment gateway solution for selling tickets, etc., that we offer. We offer end to end event Technology solutions to our customers.
Inc42: What are the various strategies being picked up by the company to manage the competition from other players?
Naidu: Competition is good for business, and over the years there have been several new players in the industry, who have failed to sustain the competition. We are currently offering a 360 degree event technology solutions, which is not being offered by any other organization across the world in general and India in specific.
We have a versatile array of event solutions in offer ranging from venue search for events (Venues.MeraEvents.com), event listing, promoting, ticketing, viral sales of tickets (MeraEvents.com), networking platform before, during, and after the event (Moozup), Smart Mobile Web Application for event agenda (Moozuplite), badge printing and easy check in process at the events(EasyTag), digital brochures for exhibitors and organizations, etc. (DigiBroc), which sets us apart from the rest, enabling us to sustain competition of all sorts in the market.
Inc42: Being bootstrapped since last four years, when are you planning to raise funds?
Naidu: We are determined to be in the industry in the long run, which is why we have been immensely involved in researching, testing and verifying the market and are now looking for an expansion on a bigger scale. This would require an increased marketing budget, which we are planning to raise from the VC community.
The past month has been a really productive one in this terms as we have had numerous meetings that turned out to be productive. However, we are also planning to approach Asian market investors if things do not turn out well with the Indian investors and we look forward to finishing this in the next three to six months.
Inc42: Heard that MeraEvents is in plans to go to the global market, how are you planning to go about it?
Naidu: India has a huge market of over 5,000 crores in terms of the event industry and there is so much of market that needs to be tapped yet, which is what we are aiming to do in the coming months. There are around 1,00,000 events happening the country every year, of which we have covered around just, 10,000 events, so we look forward to expanding our operations in such a way that all the events are listed on our platform.
Global expansion is always on the agenda, probably by the end of this year. However, our other products like Moozup, Moozuplite, DigiBroc, etc., have already got users in the global market.
Inc42: Recently, you launched DigiBroc Tool, tell us about the reason behind its launch and how will help exhibitors?
Naidu: DigiBroc is a smart substitute for the traditional collateral distribution method and would revolutionize this process by mobilising sales collaterals by sending personalized catalogues,manuals,brochures based on user preferences. Thereby allowing the exhibitors and organizations know exactly, which product caught their leads’ interests.
The idea of DigiBroc was stemmed from the fact that the physical copies of collaterals not only cost more in printing and shipping, but also eventually end up in the trash rather than reviewed for the importance of their content.
Inc42: What new features can we expect on the website in the coming times?
Naidu: There are numerous updates that are happening and we have been coming up with a series of new features on the website, some of which include the Viral Ticketing, Affiliate Marketing, Multiple Templates, Multiple Currencies, etc., to name a few.
Inc42: Can you please share about the type of events listed on the platform and which category of events leads on the platform? And how many events are listed on the platform every month?
Naidu: We are a one stop platform for events of all kinds and we have events listed across various categories and we are trying to include all the events happening across the country on our platform. Professional, Entertainment, Sports, Training, Spiritual, Campus, Trade Shows, etc., are some of the categories we have on our portal,which would help people fine tune their search and narrow down their results.
Of all these categories events from the Professional, Entertainment, Sports, Training categories tend to be the most popular of its kind and we add around 1000-1500 events per month across the various categories.
Inc42: What is the cost being charged from organizers for listing events on the website? How much commission you get per transaction?
Naidu: We offer the event organizers the opportunity to list their events on our platform for free, where they can post their event, promote and sell tickets online. On the other hand, the organizers can also opt from our numerous promotional packages, which would help them promote the event on numerous platforms like our Facebook page, which has over 839K followers.
This apart we would also promote the events via weekly and monthly newsletters to our 8 lakh + email database. We charge the lowest amount in terms of the payment gateway charges (1.99%), and a small percentage of the tickets value as our revenue share, which can at times go as high at 6-10% based on the amount of promotions we give to the events.
Inc42: On an average how many tickets are sold on the platform everyday and how much revenues are generated?
Naidu: On an average day we sell around 100-150 tickets, that garners ticket sales of around 3-4 lakhs a day. We are closely selling 1Cr worth tickets per month for now and expected to grow in the coming years.
Inc42: How did year 2013 went for MeraEvents in terms of tickets being sold, event listed and revenues generated? What are your targets for this year?
Naidu: 2013 has been an immensely productive year for MeraEvents, with a two fold growth in every aspect of the business like the revenue, events listed, tickets sold, transactions, etc. We experienced a huge increase of around 190% across all verticals compared to the past years. This year we aim to keep up the graph and reach a 300% increase and thereby garner a ticket sales of around 200 crores in 2017.
Inc42: What are the major challenges in forefront in running the platform?
Naidu: There is so much that it yet to be done in terms of seeping the technology into the event industry, which is what we are striving to achieve currently. As mentioned earlier, we would like to see all the event organizers utilising our platform and its services.
Naidu’s journey as an entrepreneurship was started in 2000 when he started Versant Technologies (P) Ltd that emerged into a global software technology company. In 2009, after returning to India from the US led him to start MeraEvents.com. An engineering graduated from JNTU-Anantapur, he had worked for 9 years in the United States before turning entrepreneur.
A few other dealing in the space include Explara and Instamojo.