Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea of Onspon? What was the process behind the creation of this company
Mr. Hitesh Gossain: It all started when I was managing sponsors ships for the events at IIM Ahmedabad and realized that despite me being from one of the most premier institutes of India - it was a challenge. When I took a job and was on other side - realized sourcing of sponsorships is a equally big challenge. Hence a perfect opportunity to create a responsive marketplace based on information arbitrage and knowledge enhancement.
My last salaried role was as the CEO of India's biggest EMC company owning one of the biggest Music Festivals - and it was facing challenges in streamlining the best way to sell it - and was willing to pay for these services. At the same time, when I had a chat with brands - they said 'Hitesh - why don't you give us the right events at the right time for my brand instead of just recommending that one event that you own ?' - and I thought the famous 'Eureka' - its a simple marketplace based aggregation problem which can be sorted by a information arbitrage management.
Interviewer: What steps did you take to make your company stand out in this vastly competitive field?
Mr. Hitesh Gossain: As we are trying to disrupt a very archaic media sales setup, there was a lot of resistance by the agencies who are brand custodians on media procurement decisions. Event sponsorship's happen to be non-traditional media. Here my experience of working with one of the biggest EMC organisations came handy and we created a structure where agencies benefit tremendously from our algorithms and use it to recommend their clients the best partnership opportunities - which as almost impossible earlier.
To overcome it, We do not charge the brands or their representatives to view and evaluate events. The idea is for them to develop a comfort around the service being agnostic and the economics being based on scale rather than transaction fees. No one has never attempted to do it this way – hence a lot of engagement through emailers and posts are getting generated. We are also invited to a lot of brands forums where we engage with brand stakeholders to help them understand our model.
Interviewer: What are your core values? What measures do you take to stick to your core values?
Mr. Hitesh Gossain: Core Value : No push sales on the platform
As I have been on both sides of table - as a brand and as an event IP owner - I understand the problems and concerns first hand. Entry barrier for supply (events) and/or demand (brands) can prove fatal unless the value proposition is clearly established. Every event expects that they would get a sponsor as soon as they list the event and brands expect the wildest fitting events for their needs - that obviously will take time as conversions in this un-organized market takes time..
Till the time we achieve that scale, we have been extremely careful about that and have tried to create a seamless , no obligation entry process for both brands and events - and the monetisation is around advanced features which is optional. Success stories of multiple events have helped fuel the growth significantly.
Interviewer: What are your future plans in order to expand your company further? What new things do you plan to do?
Mr. Hitesh Gossain:
· We are launching exclusive B2B sponsorship marketplace for effective event services for conferences and exhibitions too
· Launching a 24X7 call center for events
· Technology backbone creation for events to better coordinate on their technology needs – engagement with all event stakeholders in backend
This will be a rapid scale-up backed by tremendous traction on paying clients – we would definitely look for a second round once the gap starts coming between the cash outflow and projected revenues – we don’t see that happening for next 12 months at least as our revenue pipeline growth is also very promising..
Interviewer: What advice would you give to the up and coming entrepreneurs and small business corporations in order to help them grow?
Mr. Hitesh Gossain: This applies to startups in media and experiential marketing space : Think scale before monetization. There is a temptation to work like an agency and create immediate monetization but hang on to the model - the size and sheer scale shall more than make up for it.
Doing everything yourself. Won't work. Delegate
Customer thinks different from investors. Took me quite sometime to understand