Interview with Sathish Aravind founder of CelebratON.in

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Introduction

CelebratON.in is an online discovery platform for all event essentials. The user can share requirements, evaluate the interested partners, connect and book partners for any event.

Any event can be made memorable only if you have amazing vendor partners. A typical event comprises of multiple components like arranging the venue, cake, decoration, food, return gifts, photography, etc. Hence finding the right vendor for each category with quality assurance and value for money is cumbersome. CelebratON.in makes the user’s life easy, exciting and most convenient when it comes to managing an event.

CelebratON.in has unique features like broadcast – which ensures customer experience with utmost convenience and transparency. With just a few clicks, the customers will be connected with best-matching event partners/Experts (Just click and get connected- as simple as that)

Founders

Sathish Aravind R and Shri Raghu Raaman T are the founders of CelebratON.in.

  • Sathish – Cofounder & Director; He is BE, MBA graduate with 4 years of experience in Branding, Marketing, Market Development, Sales and Business Analytics (Last Job Designation: Consultant)
  • Raghu – Cofounder & CEO; He is also BE, MBA graduate with 3 years of experience in Investment Banking, and IT (Last Job Designation: Financial Analyst)

We had a discussion with one of the co-founder, Sathish and here is the summary of the discussion,

  • How did this idea strike you?

In Jan 2017, I was excited about my daughter’s 1st birthday, and then IT HAPPENED!! I realized it was very cumbersome to organize a simple birthday party. There are many components like cakes, photo, venue, food, etc. which needs to be searched on different platforms with different opinions. Then each and everything needs to be negotiated on quality, price, value for money, etc.

After the huge effort of organizing the party, I was not happy at the end. That’s when the seed for the idea of CelebratON.in stuck.

Saathvika

 

  • The journey so far (When you launched, how far is the traction so far?)

After working on the idea for around 7 months, we launched our website www.celebraton.in on 20th August 2017 in Chennai. So far, we have got over 20000 unique visitors, on-boarded 400+ Event Experts (Partners) across 12 categories including Event Managers, Photographers, etc. We have generated leads worth Rs.50 Lakhs with 200+ enquiries for our partners. We have just launched in Bangalore and expecting the same kind of response there as well.

 

  • What is your total addressable market?

In this domain, the organized sector in India is worth INR 5,598 Cr (2016-2017) with 16-17% CAGR. The market size is estimated to be INR 10,500 Cr by 2020, and the organized sector contributes only less than 5 %.

The number of marriages in India per year is around 1 Cr. Number of Birth in India is around 18 Cr. With Other events like anniversary, housewarming, etc. (excluding corporate events), the number of events celebrated per year is estimated to be around 100 Cr and with Rs.500 as an average cost per lead per event, we estimate the addressable market size to be Rs. 50,000 Cr.

 

  • What’s your revenue model?

We wanted our revenue model to reflect what we believe. It has to add value to all the stakeholders of the company including the customers, vendor partners, and the shareholders. We devised our revenue model to be primarily Pay Per Lead keeping the transparency between the customers and the vendor partners in mind.

We share our verified customer’s requirement to Partners based on location and service category. If the Partner is interested in the lead, they will pay a lead price to get the customer’s contact and take the request forward. We have also capped lead buy to maximum 5 partners meaning – more than 5 partners cannot take one lead.

 

  • Have you raised funding?

No. We are a bootstrapped startup. We wanted to show some initial traction and find the right market fit so we can approach investors for expansion.

 

  • Are you looking for raising more funds? If yes, how much?

Having been in the market for about 5 months now, we feel it is the time to scale up and expand to other Tier 1 cities in India. After a tremendous response from our customers and vendor partners, we launched in Bangalore on 18th of January. We are already equipped with about 50+ vendor partners who can cater to other cities all over the country.

To boost this expansion, we are looking to raise a sum of Rs.5 Crores soon. The raised amount will be used for Technology, Marketing, Team, and Scaling to 8 cities.

 

  • Who are your competitors?

Horizontal players – Just Dial, Urban Clap. We are Niche player with highly specialized Event Experts (partners) and also, we provide high quality verified requirements to our Partners.

Niche players – Evibe, Flatpebble, Weddings.com.  We work on Sharing requirement model thus provide immediate direct and seamless connection between customer and partner.

Local offline Event managers (They will become a part of our business ecosystem as vendor partners)

 

  • What are your future plans for your startup?

We are planning to Expand to metros, Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in next 12 months. We aspire to go beyond boundaries of India and become a Global Player by the end of 3 years. Our Revenue Model has also been devised keeping scalability in mind and hence expansion after streamlining our operations should be comparatively easy. Apart from geographical Expansion, the Vertical expansion will also take place in its due course of time.

 

  • What is the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur while establishing your startup?

The biggest challenge was on creating visibility for CelebratON as a brand to both customers and partners with a very limited budget. And to convincing Partners to appreciate our platform and perceive the value it adds to their business so that they continuously engage after registration.

 

  • How did you overcome it?

We created Continuous Engagement for visibility to customers using various social media and other channels (We are still working on it, and it’s a continuous improvement process).

We also provided ‘Verified leads’ to our partners to reinforce trust and confidence in our brand and the leads they get from us.

 

  • What is the biggest learning so far in your entrepreneurial journey?

There is no perfect plan or strategy. A strategy should be very agile, and the team should be swift to make quick decisions to redirect the course to stay intact.

 

  • Who is your mentor/role model? What’s the best lesson you learned from them?

Though there are a lot of leaders from whom I get inspiration, the person I would consider my role model is Zoho’s Sridhar Vembu. I learned an important lesson from him, that it requires very high levels of dedication and determination to achieve your dreams in life.

 

  • What’s your tip for newbie entrepreneur?

There is no right time to start. There is no Perfect Business plan to design. There is no Perfect way to Execute. Just Start Up!! If you have the passion and persistence with futuristic thinking, other factors like Timing, Business plan, Funding etc. will fall in place, and it always comes up with a learning experience.

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