Worried about who will be the chief guest for your next corporate talent event? Clueless about how to connect to artists performing at your next college fest?
Having an event? Scouting for guests, artists…ha?
Questions like these and industry exposure led Vivek Pateshwari (an alumnus of IIM Calcutta) to approach Akshay Agarwal with a solution to which Akshay (an IIT Guwahati and IIM Raipur alumus) readily agreed and the duo came up with InviteMyGuest or IMG (as is fondly called by the founders).
OMG IMG saves the day
InviteMyGuest (IMG) is an online marketplace that enables one to explore and hire (invite) artists, performers, celebrities, emcees, speakers, entrepreneurs, inspirational figures, trainers etc. (referred to as ‘Guests’ by IMG) for any and all kinds of events, all from the comfort of one’s home or office. The event may be a wedding, corporate party, training, birthday celebration, endorsement, sports day at school, cultural fest or even a guest lecture in college.
According to the company, the aim is to bridge the gap between ‘guests’ (performers/artists/personalities) and organisers by eliminating the role of middlemen, thereby solving the problem of accessibility for organisers and visibility for ‘guests’.
‘Guests’ on the platform comprise of a very interesting mix of personalities – Celebrities, CXOs, Speakers, Emcees, Reality TV Talents, Record Holders, Social Entrepreneurs, DJs and Bands etc.
The process of fulfilling your service request is as simple as getting an order placed for your favourite pair of jeans on Myntra. An event organizer needs to sign up as a host and create an invite for his/her event. The invite can then be extended to the multiple relevant ‘guests’ by the host. Basis the event type, a guest may respond by quoting his/her fees (if he/she charges fees) along with T&C, which consists of the travelling and accommodation preferences, cancellation policies and payment terms.
All the offline procedures have been integrated into a user-friendly system. IMG also provides a chat feature in the events page for any event queries, discussions, clarifications and negotiations.
Tapping the untapped
Events industry is very lucrative (over $1 billion industry with CAGR@~15%) but is extremely unorganized and fragmented. There also seems to be a lack of an established, well-known and user-friendly platform to bring together guests and hosts in a speedy and transparent manner. The sector is marred by many non-value-adding middlemen, adding inefficiency and complexity to the system.
Vivek recalls, “While at IIM Calcutta, I used to face lots of troubles in getting speakers, preferably well-known personalities, CXOs or celebrities, on the campus for events or lectures. Usually, obtaining quick and transparent access to such people, and, even before that, gathering enough information to identify the best prospective ‘guests’ for a particular event, was a daunting and time consuming task. On the other hand, there were lesser-known people equally or more eligible for such invites or opportunities. Clearly, there was a gap which needed to be addressed.”
Vivek who handled the marketing portfolio of a large business conglomerate based out of Doha before founding IMG has a deep interest in events industry. While in Doha, he also organized one of the biggest events in Qatar, including a human smiley that set a new Guinness World Record for its immense size, followed by a live concert. He clearly understood what was required.
Journey so far
IMG started its offline operations in August last year through a campus ambassador program in 17 premier institutes (mostly IITs and IIMs).
Besides college events, they ventured into corporate conferences. The difference being that this time, it was something much bigger- it was for Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. With the guidance from Mr. Srijan Pal Singh (former advisor to Dr. Kalam and co-author of his last book – ‘Advantage India’), and in partnership with Dr. Kalam Center and HarperCollins India, IMG along with IIMnetWORK organized Advantage India Conclave series in six cities. Five of them (Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi & Mumbai) have been successfully completed while the last one is scheduled to take place in Lucknow sometime in mid-2016.
IMG also thought of spreading the merry to personal events and ventured into weddings in April this year facilitating connection with artists, performers, DJs, photographers and more.
So far they have garnered a great response from over 90 events with over 1000 guest inquiries.
IMG has over 2000 offline ‘guest’ profiles which the team plans to bring online within next couple of months.
They are engaging with the local event management firms to generate demand and are getting a great response.