InviteMyGuest (IMG) is an online marketplace that enables you 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.
InviteMyGuest is run and managed by a team of two – Vivek Pateshwari and Akshay Agarwal. Vivek is an Alumnus of IIM Calcutta and IIT Kharagpur. He used to head the marketing portfolio, comprising five countries, for a large business conglomerate based out of Doha, Qatar. During his stint there, 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. This experience gave him lots of insights into a field he was already deeply interested in – events industry. He approached Akshay with the concept and he immediately agreed to be the co-founder. Akshay is an IIT Guwahati and IIM Raipur alumnus.
Vivek explains: “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. By the time we quit our cushy jobs, we had also decided expand our portfolio from just events in educational institutes to the broader events sector.”
IMG aims to provide Business, PR and Networking to its guests through event invites by solving the following real life problems:
- The Problem of Accessibility, in case an event organizer wants to reach out to a specific guest, well known public figure, CXO, a reality TV talent or a celebrity, and that too without having a middleman involved.
- Providing opportunities to the less fortunate talents by extending their reach and visibility.
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. The scenario can be compared to the pre-IRCTC days, when railway tickets used to be purchased through agents.
The Process of Invite
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. There is an IMG Chat feature in the event page as well, which is to be used for communication between the Guest and the Host for any event queries, discussions, clarifications and negotiations.
On 12th March 2016, InviteMyGuest went LIVE with about 350 Guest profiles (currently, its ~600) in the Advantage India Conclave – Chennai Chapter, organized by IIMnetWORK. The event was made unforgettable owing to the participation of the following stalwarts – Padma Shree Arunachalam Muruganantham (The Menstrual Man and TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world – 2014), Ms. Lakshmy Ramakrishnan (Actor, Film Maker and Fashion Designer), Mr. Srijanpal Singh (Co-Author – Advantage India and Former Advisor to Dr. Kalam), Dr. Anand Govinduluri (Founding Partner and CEO, Govin Capital, Singapore), Ms. Devaki Sahasrabudhe (VP, GREX), Mr. Anand (Head – Data Science, Verizon), Rahul Sharma (International Rockstar) and Winny Patro (CEO, IIMnetWORK).
IMG also got their blog unveiled by Dr. Kiran Bedi in the Delhi Chapter of the Conclave. The blog features inspirational stories of some of the remarkable Guests.
Guests on IMG
Guests on the platform comprise of a very interesting mix of personalities – Celebrity, CXOs, Speakers, Emcees, Reality TV Talents, Record Holders, Social Entrepreneurs, DJs and Bands etc. Check it out yourself!
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). This gave them access to the requirements in the ongoing campus events, including conferences, cultural fests, tech fests, summits, conclaves etc. They engaged with relevant guests to fulfill some of those.
Besides college events, they ventured into corporate conferences & this time it was for Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. With a guidance from Mr. Srijan Pal Singh (former advisor to Dr. Kalam and co-author of his last book – ‘Advantage India’), and a partnership with Dr. Kalam Center and HarperCollins India, InviteMyGuest.in along with IIMnetWORK organized Advantage India Conclave series in six cities. Five of the conclaves (Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi & Mumbai) have been completed while one more is scheduled for Lucknow sometime in mid-2016. These conclaves proved to be a great platform for IMG to get an experience of corporate conferences, which further enhanced their online model.
IMG also ventured into weddings in April this year with its amazing offerings in terms of transparent connect to artists, performers, DJs, photographers and more.
So far, they have got a great response from over 90 events with over 1000 guest enquires with a team of just two. Word of mouth Marketing is helping them big time in getting invites from even a distant place like Porbandar.
IMG has over 2000 offline Guest profiles which the team is focused 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. They are starting off with Delhi and Mumbai, and will subsequently expand to other cities.
The article is being shared by Vivek Pateshwari , founder of InviteMyGuest.