Versant Online in talks with VCs to raise $10milion
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Hyderabad: Versant Online Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs event ticketing website MeraEvents, is in discussions with four Indian venture capital firms to raise $10 million to fund its international expansion plans.
Hyderabad-based MeraEvents, which also provides event management services, will start operations in New Jersey, Dubai, Singapore and London to cater to North America, West Asia, South-East Asia and European markets, the company’s founder and chief executive Chennapa Naidu Darapaneni said.
He did not disclose the names of the investor firms because the discussions were private.
Two of the investors are “seriously interested” and the company expects to close this round by June, Darapaneni said. The money would be used to set up overseas offices, recruit sales and marketing teams, build the MeraEvents brand and to develop new products. The company would go international with the current name and might rename the brand, in case of weak brand recall.
“We want to enhance the product to an international level,” Naidu said in an interview. “We want to be a top three player in the world market.”
The company is currently incorporating standards for different global payment gateways on its platform.
Firms in the online event ticketing space are drawing interest from investors as customers increasingly purchase tickets for movies, sporting events and live performances on the Internet.
Online ticketing firm Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, which runs entertainment ticketing website BookMyShow.com, last year raised Rs.150 crore from SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Network18. It raised Rs.100 crore from Accel Partners in 2012.
MeraEvents raised $1 million in June last year from scientific journal publisher, OMICS International, in exchange for an undisclosed minority stake.
Meraevents.com currently has offices in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, national capital region, Goa, Mumbai and Pune, and provides tickets for entertainment and spiritual events, exhibitions, trade fairs and conferences. It employs 60 people, and will recruit 40 more in India and for new offices abroad by April, Naidu said. It is also opening offices in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur.
Revenue is growing 300-400% annually and the company expects to be profitable in two years, said Naidu, who bootstrapped the firm with $1 million from personal savings. The company earns money by taking a cut on ticket transactions on its platform, and by providing back-end, marketing and infrastructure support for organizers.
On Monday, the company announced that it had secured an exclusive deal to provide online and offline ticketing solutions to live entertainment firm, Percept Live Pvt. Ltd, which runs shows such as Sunburn, Flu, Windsong and Bollyboom.
MeraEvents will provide support for online ticketing, offline sales, and digital marketing for Percept Live’s events, the company said. Naidu expects the deal to catapult MeraEvents to a global platform, and give it greater brand visibility.
“I find strong synergies between Percept Live and MeraEvents and we want to leverage the end-to-end cutting-edge technology solutions offered by MeraEvents for event ticketing,” Manuj Agarwal, chief executive officer of Percept Live, said in a statement on Monday.
Apart from providing ticketing solutions, MeraEvents also creates products for the event industry. For example, its product, EasyTag, simplifies check-in and badge printing process, while another product, MoozUp, acts as a networking platform for those attending an event.
MeraEvents is also making a strategic investment in a Delhi-based company that provides live streaming services, Naidu said. He did not disclose the name of the firm because MeraEvents is one of the investors participating in the round, and details are still private. “This deal enhances value addition for our customers. It gives MeraEvents a preferential customer relationship,” said Naidu.