Explara gears up for its 'big' event, aims at $6 m funding

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Explara gears up for its 'big' event, aims at $6 m funding

Explara, which brands itself as India’s first DIY (do-it-yourself) ticketing platform for events, successfully powered 50,000 events last year. The young firm now aspires to grow even bigger, catering to more events and conferences in the months to come.

Pegged as a one-stop-shop for powering (small to mid-scale) events across seven segments namely entertainment; outdoor activities; interest activities; sports and marathons; technology, corporate and startup conferences; food & beverage; and campus alumni, the Bengaluru-based firm garnered transaction revenues to the tune of Rs 50 crore, growing at a hefty 177% for the fiscal-ended March 2016, “An event is a mechanism of getting people together. We are involved in an industry where we run 50,000 events a year, and have offered our services across 72 towns and cities in India. It’s a fact that 90% of India still doesn’t even know Explara, but we have reached our potential,” Explara Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Santosh Panda told Deccan Herald.

Panda, who returned to India from the UK in 2011, rechristened his event (venue) startup initiative ‘Ayojak’ as ‘Explara’ in 2013, and built the latter with co-founder Ashok Kumar. “This is my third startup effort, and came to me accidently as I have had experience in the events’ space, working on venue services as part of Ayojak. We got repeated calls from event managers, and decided to reposition ourselves as an event solutions company,” he said.

Today, the company offers quick solutions for event organisers to set up events on its online platform, from where tickets can be sold, and also feedback and queries sought from visitors, participants and customers.

Decoding ‘DIY’

Unlike the regular, larger event ticketing platforms that have a large back-end force to manage the day-to-day tasks of event listing, ticket delivery, and so on, Explara’s DIY platform allows the event organiser to set up an event listing, and run all the related tasks automatically on his own.

“It all begins with opening an account. Then, one must log into the ticketing management dashboard, and hit the ‘create event’ command. Then one must provide the event name, date, venue, and payment details. In about three minutes, the event listing can be published, and promoted using social media tools, and so on,” Panda said, referring to the pre-event routine.

On event day, the company helps arrange for logistical support as well, partnering with over 50,000 event management companies, and ultimately bridging customers with events.

“There were several challenges that we had to contend with such as a small event market in India, and finding the right investments,” he said.

Fund-finding

Explara (then Ayojak) received seed funding of Rs 15 lakh in 2011. It received additional funding of Rs 72.5 lakh in 2013 from a team of angels, and a further Rs 96 lakh in 2014. In 2015, a whopping Rs 3.2 crore in funding was received.

“All the funds received as yet have been directed towards product development and salaries of our employees. Now we want to grow bigger, power larger events, and build our brand. We are in talks to raise $6 million from venture capitalists, which may be closed by the end of this year,” Panda added.

It must be noted that while a mid-scale event is defined by a participation of 1,500-2,000 people, a big event may see over 4,000 participants. Currently, the company’s platform also transacts in 23 global currencies, and even has an app to support events.

In terms of its revenue model, Panda explained, “Each time, we get an event, we charge fees to the organiser, apart from additional revenues from ticketing and logistics.”


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