Startup City Magazine

Are Indian Events Ready to get Bigger, Better & Profitable?

By Hitesh Gossain, Founder & CEO, Onspon

Hitesh Gossain, Founder & CEO, Onspon

Headquartered in Mumbai, Onspon is country’s biggest platform where events list themselves to get brands to sponsor their events. The platform is completely avenue-agnostic, and therefore provides brands with an absolutely unbiased portfolio of events/avenues to associate with.

Let’s start with a Basic Question: How do Events Make Money?

Per a study done by; almost all event owners in India and SE Asia rely on ticket sales (and stall sales, where applicable) to net off the event cost. A basic back of envelope calculation gives us a clear idea that if it’s a mid-size event attracting around 2000 attendees; at an average ticket price of Rs. 500 ($8) ; it translates into a ticket revenue of  $16000 which is hardly Rs.10 Lakhs. Now, let’s assume a few barters for venue; and let’s double the value to Rs. 10Lakhs. An average artist (singer/speaker/performer) who can command a ticket value of that much  ($8) charges almost double that spend value of 10Lakhs - and that’s just for his/her time , no production/logistics/set design are included. Hence there is very few profit making events.

So what do Events do to Bridge this Gap?

The question is: what do they ‘attempt’ to do. And the answer is: they try to get a sponsor. How do they do it? It’s the same way organizations used to hire twenty years back - by references. The long distant uncles in banks and big companies are called and told to sponsor events, with no logical ‘deliverables’ and the uncles find the way to dodge the offer multiple times and in end succumb and pay a pittance in value and it’s done. DONE!!

So is That How it’s supposed to be done? Is there a Method to this Madness?

Absolutely!! Brands want answers to questions that matter to them – stuff like who is coming, when is it happening, what can my brand do there, and what does it help me achieve: Salience, usage, engagement or visibility. The social media impact? The media coverage? Whats the justification for me to pay the money?  Whats the assurance that whatever you are claiming will actually happen? and it goes on!! Tiring? Maybe! Confusing? Definitely!

That’s who gap Onspon is trying to fill. The idea is to create a DIY platform for events to be able to answer questions that brands want, and use an algorithm to match it with brand needs, and trigger a match to stakeholders thereby facilitating millions of transactions and Viola, you have the winning recipe.

So is there a Secret Sauce?

Yes it is. It’s the ability of the platform to track behavior patterns of events and brands and curate the same on backend to recommend the best events for brands - and get better every time. Think of it as the amazon which tracks your buying behavior and recommends you products based on that. The backend is a complex mesh with multiple variables with varying impact levels, aligned together to expectation set of brands and creating a dashboard on fitment metrics for brands.

Ok so when I get a Sponsor, What Will Happen?

When industry creates profitable units, the industry grows and the quality gets better. Indian audience is global travelled and expects a significant upsurge in quality of experiential content. With profitable events, more and more organizations are motivated to create iconic events like tomorrow land, NBA, EPL, and iconic events create iconic experiences. These experiences create jobs for multiple people.

The event management domain isn’t even an industry - the attempt is for more events to create, be profitable, get bigger and better, and contribute to an extremely high quality event community where audience can go and immerse themselves without compromising on the quality.


Every Indian attends close to two events every year - which translates to a cumulative footfall four billion people. According to IEG reports, global event sponsorship market is excess of $ 60 Billion , from which almost $4.5Billion is from India. In units, there are almost a million events that happen in India every year, making it an unbelievably huge playing field.


With events like IPL, Sunburn, Miss India and so on, Indian events have already taken the first step in the direction of extremely high scalability with significant focus on consumer experience. The challenge is of making them profitable, and with platforms like Onspon getting created, that most important last leg is getting strengthened too. Indian audience - get ready for some fantastic content coming your way very soon. Reporting structures come in play and the founders have a good control on the entire operations.

The fourth stage that Propel helps a startup reach is the Predictable stage. Here the founders have complete visibility of what is happening in which area of the business. The organization is now matured with standardized processes and is performance driven, thus empowering the leadership and the management to take the right decisions before it is too late.

In fact, Propel helps a startup become ‘investor-lucrative’ as investors are more confident to pump in monies where they too have a continuous and real-time health report of the establishment. As the old saying goes, Propel does not cook the fish and serve it to the startups, it teaches them fishing.

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