Getting people accustomed to Wed-Tech is a big challenge: Rishika Agarwal & Navam Gupta, Couple-Preneurs
This pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for the wed tech industry as people are much more receptive of digital solutions now, than ever before.
Amidst the ongoing pandemic, Rishika Agarwal and Navam Gupta, next-gen couple-preneurs and technophiles, have introduced an app 'WedHaven' that aims to make weddings fun by simplifying the tasks at hand, be it for the hosts, wedding planner or the guests.
WedHaven enables users to enjoy the true essence of the wedding by taking command and streamlining numerous tasks in hand via technology. Simplifying the workload, the app creates a digital wedding through the information provided, with details of all the events, venues, timings, real-time updates, and sending out invitations to the guests on the app.
In an interview with BW Applause & Everything Experiential, the entrepreneurs shared how their wedding app helps to ease out the messy affair of Indian weddings and why it has the potential to become mainstream.
What was the inspiration behind developing this application?
Almost every startup idea originates when someone experiences a problem themself. We too came across problems around wedding mismanagement during our own in 2014. It involved a lot of chaos and confusion. There were stressed out parents and annoyed guests. In fact, our closest friends missed the whole baraat because they were a few minutes late and could not “find it”. And unfortunately, there were 50 other weddings on the same day! This was just the beginning.
Every other wedding we attended over the years, whether as a host or a guest had its own set of mishaps. There were instances where we got stranded at the airport for 1.5 hours due to some miscommunication on the driver’s end. As hosts, we felt frustrated when guests kept calling us regarding event locations. And as guests, we were tired of bothersome calls just to be told “High tea is getting over in 30 minutes.” It’s a long list of problems, which should not exist in 2020. So, being engineers at heart, we realized that this redundant pattern of chaos in weddings must come to an end and that’s how WedHaven was born.
What issues does the start-up solve?
Usually, Indian weddings are a messy affair and it takes a small army including family members and friends to execute successfully. People who should be enjoying the wedding are the ones running around, looking stressed and missing out on key family moments, just to take care of a lot of mundane and repetitive tasks. You still see family members with printed excel sheets checking off names, always busy on phones giving directions or asking for RSVPs, having to sit with the hotel staff for check-ins, running from room to room just to mention “High tea is going to be over soon”, etc., and the list is endless.
WedHaven was founded with the purpose of changing the way weddings are managed using technology to “Connect Hosts, Guests & Planners – on a single platform” and for “making weddings fun” for everyone!
What would you call the unique selling point of your startup?
The concept as a whole is quite novel as it enables people to enjoy the wedding and forget any stress. Not only does it help save time, save money and reduce repetitive tasks, it provides the users with a unique, on-the-go, always connected platform.
The hosts are able to keep their guests up to date all the time and also have the means to efficiently manage the wedding from anywhere and anytime via the app. The guests on the other hand are provided with a sleek interface to access all wedding information, update their RSVP status and are part of this closed social space dedicated to the wedding. Also, some of our features like live baraat tracking, guest moderation and adding co-hosts are completely new and a lot more fun stuff is coming in this year.
Tell us about some top highlights of this app?
At present we have a mobile app (available on both iOS and Android). We have a freemium model, where the app has a basic set of functionality available to use for free and an option to upgrade to unlock more advanced features.
Free set of functionality includes Creating & Attending multiple weddings, Inviting people to join via code/link, Add and share detailed wedding schedules, Announcements, Real time updates with notifications & reminders and Sharing of photos with guests.
We then have our paid upgrade known as “WedHaven Gold” which provides added functionality like live Baraat tracking, Guest list creation using phonebook, Co-hosts to share the load, Sending out invites via sms, customized Groups to help manage guests better for various functions and RSVP tracking for events. This starts at Rs. 6900 for a 50 guest wedding going as low as Rs 40/guest as the number of guests increases.
How did you acquire the first set of customers/ clients?
Our target audience is anyone involved in the process of hosting a wedding, be it the couples themselves, their families (parents, siblings, cousins, relatives) or the wedding planners.
We got our initial customers via word of mouth and some marketing efforts. Our first B2C customers were a couple, Aditya & Shirisha from Noida. While, our first B2B client is a wedding planner called Bundelkhand Rituals, who are trying to promote Bundelkhand as a wedding destination. It’s a work in progress and we are excited to see what the future holds.
How is the market space and who are your competitors?
If we talk about the Wed-Tech industry, portals like Wedmegood, Shaadi Saga, Weddingz.in, etc. have dominated the wedding market space for a while now. These companies are doing a wonderful job as vendor marketplaces to find the right merchant to work with.
However, WedHaven is a solution to connect the hosts and guests, and help coordinate things seamlessly. So, our competition is two-fold. One - is to make space for platforms like ours in the wed-tech domain. Second - there are ventures with goals similar to ours, like The Wedding App and We Tales. Apart from our unique features like guest moderation and live baraat tracking, we differ from them in our simplistic UI and transparent price policy, including a freemium model.
What challenges have you faced so far?
We’ve faced 2 main challenges so far:
1. Getting people accustomed to the concept of a wedding app and making use of technology for managing key events of their lives. It’s a complete change of mindset which requires people to adapt to do things in a new way, especially something that has been done traditionally for several years. And the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise here, as people are much more receptive of digital solutions now, than ever before.
2. As we mentioned in the previous question, if we talk to anyone about the wedding market space, names like WedMeGood or Shaadi Saga are the ones to roll out first. So, to introduce something new there, which is not a vendor marketplace or aggregator, takes some getting used to by the audience and requires a lot more explanation. We are still working on this one by trying to communicate things better and improving our marketing strategies.
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