What kind of growth is taking place in Indian wedding market?
Bharat Kanodia: Indian wedding market is USD 30 billion industry. If we account for all the capital expenditure (investment in cars, jewelry etc.) that surrounds it this amount is USD 120 billion. And yes, now we are talking big numbers. For comparison the IT industry in India is around USD 90 billion. The wedding industry in India is growing at 25-30 percent annually with no end in sight. In fact, we have had discussions with government regulators and they have been contemplating intervening for the last 2-3 years.
How many SMEs are there in this sector and what kind of competition you are facing from them?
Bharat Kanodia: Shaadi-e-Khas is the first online wedding planning system of its kind in Asia. So there is practically no competition, except from fly-by-night operators who work out of their garages. In terms of providing service to the wedding industry, as mentioned it is a USD 120 billion market, so almost everyone is connected with this industry somehow or the other.
Could you highlight about your entrepreneurial journey as a start up?
Bharat Kanodia: We started Veristrat Inc. in 2010. Since then we have built 2 internal products, and 30 products as an outsourced entity for clients. Since then the company has grown to 22 people with offices in New Delhi and San Francisco.
What kind of challenges did you face during your entrepreneurial journey?
Bharat Kanodia: The biggest challenge was to hire and retain good talent. Everyone has different motivations and expectations. Trying to find that good balance between talent, motivation, shareholders, customers, and finances is difficult. An entrepreneur who can find that balance, and find it fast, does well and can build a company with a strong foundation.
What is your view about Indian wedding planner and International wedding planner? Are international planners presenting their ideas in a more unique way?
Bharat Kanodia: International wedding planners give Indian wedding planners no threat. The kind of productions Indian planners have been pulling off is outstanding and in no way anything less than Hollywood sets and stunts. Plus, Indian wedding market is so one-on-one type of business that it maybe difficult for international competition to creep in.
Whenever a wedding is organized it is always an expensive affair. How much affordable is your services?
Bharat Kanodia: Not all weddings are expensive. The cheapest wedding that has been organized using Shaadi-e-Khas was for Rs. 3 lacs, and the most expensive one was Rs. 110 crore.
What kind of demand do you see in the market for wedding planners?
Bharat Kanodia: Wedding planners will stay in demand for wedding with spending in excess of Rs. 50 lacs. Below the level people will realize they do not need wedding planners and start using efficient tools, like Shaadi-e-Khas, to execute the entire event.