Mumbai-based L-Fast Brands Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates Weddingz, an online market for wedding venues and vendors, has raised over $1 million from a group of angel investors, including Google India’s managing director Rajan Anandan and film makers Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti.
“The money will be utilized in expanding to more cities, automation and technology enhancement,” said Sandeep Lodha, founder and chief executive officer.
The company is present in 10 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Goa. It plans to reach out to the top 20 cities by the end of 2016 and 100 cities by 2017-end.
Weddingz was founded in January by Lodha, a postgraduate in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School and bachelor of technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Before starting the company, he worked at consultancy firm Bain & Co as principal.
On bookings, the company claims to have over 2,000 venues. Once a customer shortlists a venue on the portal, one of the company’s 15 relationship managers takes the client to show the venue. The customer can then select it or request more options.
Besides venues, it has over 2,000 vendors on the platform including make-up artists, photographers and decorators.
In November it claimed to have made 100 venue bookings and, according to Lodha, the numbers have been growing 50% month-on-month. The average ticket size of the venue booking is Rs.3-4 lakh with Delhi being the most expensive city, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore. The platform however offers venues ranging between Rs.1-15 lakh.
The company has started aggregating merchants and has over 100 merchants, largely apparel, jewellery and accessories designers and shops with over 2,500 stock-keeping units. Some of the designers available on the platform include Ritu Kumar, Ohaila Khan and Natasha Dalal. This vertical has been recently launched.
The Indian wedding industry is a $40 billion market and is expected to grow 25% year-on-year. According to Lodha, an average Indian middle class family spends $20,000 (around Rs.13 lakh) on a wedding.
“The demand is high and the market is fragmented and unorganized. Venue prizes are not mentioned anywhere and a person has to jump from one place to another for different needs. We are trying to bring everything for a wedding under one roof,” said Lodha.
The company also plans to expand to offer honeymoon destinations on its platform. It will also set up a vertical for gift registry, a common concept in western countries which allows the bride and groom to give a guide on the gifts they would like. The guests can then choose from the options and register for it, if they want to gift something from the list.
The company is currently making money on a commission basis from the merchants it lists on its platform.
It is already in talks with venture capital firms, high net individuals and strategic investors for a Series A, Lodha said declining to mention the deal size.
The company is likely to compete against New Delhi Television Ltd’s recently announced online wedding market venture, Special Occasions, wedding vendor discovery platform, WeddingPlz and wedding planning portal WedMeGood.
In September WedMeGood raised Rs.2.7 crore from early-stage investor Indian Angel Network.
This article was first published on Livemint.com
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