Based in London, eBay employee Santosh Panda was listening to a radio channel when someone from the audience came on air with a request to help organise an event in the city. This stroke of fate led him to tap the huge potential of the online event management solutions.
Launched as a venue and event listing portal in 2008, pivoted to event ticketing and solution platform in 2009 and rebranded in 2013, Explara offers a self-service event ticketing and event solutions to small and medium event organisers. The company claims to serve over 10,000 events in India. In 2013, Explara powered events from 21 countries and in May 2014, it formally launched Explara worldwide with a strong focus on Southeast Asia.
How does Explara work?
Customers can sign-up or publish an event and start selling tickets and registration. Its target audience is small to medium event organisers, promoters, community and organisations organising events or activities.
It offers products such as event ticketing and registration, event community and event apps. The event ticketing product helps an event organiser in hosting an event, event promotion, payment processing, sales management and event logistics. The event community product helps users to organise recurring events and activities and also offers membership (free/paid) to be part of the community. The event apps are loose coupled applications designed to serve needs on the event-day, post-event and pre-event such as bulk emailing, event feedback, travel to venue and event survey. These apps are available over web and mobile on need basis.
“Event marketplace solution is an innovative step to organise this vast industry with different service providers, solutions that will increase efficiency and RoI from events. Marketplace is in early beta; it is designed keeping global needs in mind,” explained Panda, Founder and CEO at Explara.
For event ticketing and registration solution, Explara charges a fee of 1.99 per cent with US$0.49 for every successful sale. For event community registration solution, it charges a one-time fee for creating the account. In case of event apps, it does not charge any fee as of now.
Explara has a “donation/fundraising” module integrated in the “ticketing/registration” solution. Any NGO can use Explara to raise fund from anywhere, manage end-to-end process of registration and donor management.
The company raised angel funding in Jan 2013. Prior to that, it was bootstrapped for three years.
The online ticketing industry is around US$50 billion worldwide, hence it offers a huge opportunity to various players in the segment. There are a lot of companies such as Eventbrite and MeraEvents that stand as the biggest competitors for Explara. However, Panda feels that Explara has some features which makes it different from others.
“Explara offers both one-off event organising and community event-organising solutions. Explara’s event ticketing product offers invitation-only event organising, feedback collection, event check-ins, multi-currency ticket types for an event, integrated support ticketing tools, and team collaboration to manage an event,” he said.
“We have customisable payment processing for each country and continent. For example in India, we provide ten types of payment processing for online, offline ticket sale/registration. The offline payment processing will be expanded as we expand to Southeast Asia and similar markets,” Panda added.
Lack of digital tools to organise an event
The small and medium event industry has been there for ages but it is unorganised and inefficiently served. The consumer behaviour has also changed with online commerce in different segments.
According to Panda, there are several challenges faced by this industry such as lack of digital tools and technology to organise events, manage it and sell efficiently. “There is a huge lack of marketplace kind of collaboration among event service providers (artists, venues, performers, speakers) and event organisers,” he added.
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Expansion to the Southeast Asia
Explara formally launched the platform worldwide in May 2014. Now, an event organiser from anywhere can use Explara in local currency and organise paid events too. It is operational in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US, and is shortly opening in South Africa.
“We will be focussing on the Southeast Asian market as it has similar dynamics and demographics and is also under-served,” Panda concluded.