Interview with Deepti Prasad, Director and Founder of Eventila
Eventila is a young age online Event Planning platform that thrives to solve vendor discovery around event celebrations (Small team outings to big Indian weddings). She had started her career with the Economic Research Foundation as an Economist, soon after completing her Masters (Economics) from the Delhi School of Economics in 2007, and has gone on to work with prestigious companies like Cerg Advisory (Analyst), and GENPACT LLC (Assistant Manager and Business Consultant, Re-engineering Knowledge Centre).
Tell us about Eventila?
Eventila is an online platform which is focused on making vendor discovery and event planning super easy for customers. Unlike most in this space, we are just not focused on weddings. We also cater to corporate as well as all types of personal and social events with our network of 3000+ registered vendors (venues, photographers, caterers, decorators, planners, makeup, mehendi etc) across Delhi NCR and major tier I cities.
Since technology is in our DNA, we are also working on addressing vendor challenges that they face on a daily basis.
How did you get this idea of opening an event management company, in midst of a strong competition?
This entire process of organizing an event is quite exhaustive for someone like me who had little context and time. The Internet is full of help, vendor suggestions, articles but none actually help you to zero down on the right set of recommended vendors for an event. Organizing few events for friends and family introduced me to the challenges of doing it in an efficient manner. So, we started experimenting with the idea of building a curated set of service providers offering best of services and price.
As far as the competition goes, I understand there are many similar portal based companies working in wedding domain but none focuses on catering to all event requirements in an individual’s life cycle. If we compare ourselves to traditional event management companies, then we are far better placed both in terms of scale and operations. We are working extensively on building a scalable model to standardize the event industry and be the one-stop event solutions that anyone would think of for anything related to events!!
How do people respond? Do you think now it has become a trend to hire an event management company for any occasion?
Thanks to Social media (especially Instagram and Pinterest) that have raised the aspirational level of the modern day brides/groom/new parents. People are searching for new trends, ideas and the right vendor who can help make their events outstanding. So, there is a definite change in attitudes. Still online event planning industry has a long way to go. It’s in a very nascent stage in India as people are little reluctant to entrust their big budget events to vendors that are not known to them or their close relatives and friends. Add to the fact that the industry is still majorly cash driven. Online payments would only add to tax payments which will add to cost of the event, hence the reluctance.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Most online portals have instilled a wrong attitude among customers by offering discounts to acquire new customers in India. So acquiring real customers without offering a discount is a challenge.
We have tried to overcome this issue by giving our 100 per cent to every customer inquiry we get. We showcase the value we bring to our customers and vendors and that’s the reason why we have been able to create some happy repeat customers for ourselves.
Second, the biggest challenge is payment collection as this industry is largely cash driven. Post demonetization and the recent policy action by government to encourage online payment, attitudes are slowly changing. I am hoping for the best in the coming years!
What is your mantra to achieve success?
Always be willing to listen and learn good things from others. Accept your shortcomings and failures but never ever give up.
What advice would you like to give to the youngsters who want to start a new venture?
Be persistent. When you do something do with your full conviction. Be razor focused to bring real value to the customers by iterating and improving continuously. As long as you enjoy the journey and have a vision for long-term, things would fall in place. Startups are hard but fun!