Weddings, just like in most parts of the world, make a big industry in India. Of course, India has its own flamboyant and diverse customs and traditions, not to forget we have the concept of arranged marriages. There are a lot of stakeholders--in this case members of the family--so weddings are most painful to organize, without a doubt!
This industry in India, exploited as it is, is a niche that enjoys enormous amount of business throughout the wedding season, which in most cases is all year round for different people of different communities in different parts of the country.
Lots of avenues open up for many service providers such as wedding hall providers, caterers, photographers, priests/pundits, astrologers, designers, decorators, honeymoon planners, wedding planners, and the works. With a much sophisticated approach, weddings nowadays have become more like an event management affair for many families in India. Amid all this, getting a hold of all of these folks who provide the necessary services is sheer pain as experienced by many such customers who are about to tie the knot.
This is where a startup from Hyderabad, Sayshaadi.com, hopes to offer some respite.
The idea behind SayShaadi originated in 2010 when the founder and CEO, Nithin Baalay, moved back to India from the United States.
He realized the strenuous process a family goes through during the wedding with little or no information available online. It's almost impossible for common folks to organize a wedding without friends and family members helping out, or being able to negotiate good prices with vendors.
Although at that time Nithin was working with BuyThePrice.com as CTO, he didn't put much thought into his idea. BuyThePrice.com was an e-commerce venture which was later acquired by Tradus.
Two years later, when he moved on, he realized there wasn't such a platform that existed. That's when he put in extensive research on both vendor and client side to come up with Sayshaadi.com.
Of course, in the age of Internet startups, leveraging the best in Web technology is very important. If it helps, soon-to-be-wed couples and their families can easily and efficiently manage everything leading up to the big day. After working on the site meticulously, Sayshaadi.com was launched on June 16, 2013.
Nithin said the company aims to take the agony out of planning a wedding and one that's beyond the ordinary. It wants to help couples and their family simplify things and make the whole process hassle-free, by leveraging technology to make sure they cherish every bit of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
SayShaadi aims to address the following customer concerns:
According to Nithin, the startup's target audience is the new-age city crowd who spend most of they day in their cubicles in a multinational corporation and cannot venture out to plan their wedding. This is the premium crowd who care about the quality of their lavish weddings and also NRIs (non-resident Indians) who want to save their elderly parents organizing their wedding from the unwanted trouble.
Some key features SayShaadi offers include:
SayShaadi is currently self-funded and will soon look to raise some money to help the startup expand into all major cities in India. And currently we are small team of full-timers, part-timers and freelancers. Nithin started off alone, building out the IT platform and also working on the business development.
"I believe in the lean startup model and lead most of the teams here," he said. "The sales team then came onboard, which helped us sign up vendors quickly, and conducted hundreds of calls to explain the model before the launch. Apart from the hires, the biggest contributions have come from friends and acquaintances who helped us build this out. Suhruda, Mira, Nagarani, Nitisha, Rohini, Megha and Naveen have all helped us with where we are today."
He is a product guy loves the Web, a believer in the lean startup idea, and a computer science engineer.
Pretty interesting startup and a market that hasn't been penetrated all that much in India. How far will it go and how it evolves is yet to be seen. What are your thoughts about it?