Before the advent of online ticketing venues had to rely on “outlet presence”–or retail and kiosk sales–as the only means of allowing customers to purchase tickets at multiple locations. Traditional outlets require training, upfront hardware costs, and have limited hours of operation.
The Internet forever changed the face of ticketing by enabling a “virtual” ticket outlet in every home. The popularity of smartphones further spread this reach to an outlet in every pocket. Customers have the option to purchase tickets from anywhere at any time, allowing for a virtual box office that’s never closed.
Talking about the online ticketing options in the Indian scenario, we have personally been using Ayojak for our Blogathon series. It was recently, when I thought of calling up Ashok and willing to hear the story of Ayojak from the team. So here we go!
How did the idea of ‘Ayojak’ strike you? What was the primary motivation?
I was listening to radio and there was an ad looking for an event manager for an event. That is when the idea came to mind on what’s happening in this event industry. We launched Ayojak as a venue & event listing portal but found out that several event organizers are asking for a simple ticketing and event management solution. That’s how we pivoted and launched Ayojak in its current avatar in Sept 2009.
In the initial years of your startup, how difficult it was to introduce ‘Ayojak’ in the event industry of India?
We hardly had few customers and it was kind of begging the customers to use the service for free. We had several payment gateway issues, which our customers thought, are due to Ayojak. Like RedBus, we had to do several training and coaching to convince organizers and users about how to use payment gateway.
How have your goals and values changed since starting the venture?
When we started the venture, we had several ideas which got validated and some were moved from the roadmap. We also did several mistakes before we found our mojo.
What do you consider as a major breakthrough for ‘Ayojak’ since its inception?
The major breakthrough came during May 2010 when we transitioned the product to a sleek UI and faster performance. That is when we got word of mouth vs our competitors. Also, we got big events like Bryan Adams Live in Concert 2011 and World Series Hockey 2012, these two events made us stand out among the competitors and also made us understood the in-depth problem in the market.
How has the market for your product grown in the past 4 years? Do you still consider this market as ‘niche’?
Our product has evolved nicely as market matured over the last few years. Our customer could foresee pain points and help us create better product. The market is no longer niche but building capabilities and delivering to perfection is going to be key in coming years.
What is your company’s competitive advantage?
The company’s competitive advantages come from its finest product, excellent customer support and having good set of investors and mentors.
Recently, Ayojak has raised funds from different investors. How do you plan to use it? Any major focus areas?
The funds are getting used to scale the operation, launch new product line and for brand promotion and marketing.
Ayojak has come a long way since its inception and in a very short period of time. What do you think led to this growth of the company?
We focus on customers satisfaction and ensure that they get best service. I believe, this alone has created good word of mouth. Also the continuous product iteration has helped us ensure that we are taking feedback instantly onboard and solve pain points.
Apart from being a passionate entrepreneur, what interests you as a hobby?
I love to travel a lot, going to new places, discovering the local food and history keeps me healthy and happy. I am also a big time hindi movie goer.
Any message you would like to give to the young entrepreneurs of India?
Every idea is powerful but just go in-depth, analyze every part of the industry your idea belongs to, talk to customers and focus on retaining customer.