This Entrepreneur-trio founded a ₹5,000 crores ticketing company BookMyShow

BookMyShow is the largest ticketing portal in the country today. It projects itself as a ‘vast network of events and movie screens providing endless opportunities to the customer to buy tickets.’

The startup targets Internet users utilizing services to perform online transactions like buying tickets. BookMyShow is very simple and convenient to use. One can access the application from a phone, tablet, computer, laptop et cetera. The app is constantly updated to provide information about the latest events and movie timings.

However, it is limited to urban areas because people still have inhibitions about paying online. The parent industry that BookMyShow belongs to is Big Tree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Founded in August 2007, the company is now spread across 5 countries and over 650 towns and cities.

Anchored in Mumbai, the company has over 5000 screens under it. BookMyShow has partnerships with all major Indian production houses and studios with real-time ticketing for major cinema chains like Inox, Big Cinemas, Cinemax, Fun Cinemas etc. 85% of all cinema tickets sold online are booked on book show, resulting in sales peaking up to 7 million tickets per month.

BookMyShow provides a gamut of services which caters to all age groups. It ensures a seamless experience for the users without them having to go through the hassle of standing in a queue for tickets. BookMyshow has helped eradicate the concept of standing in long queues altogether. The idea has become obsolete and people no longer have to worry about catching a particular show on time. They can simply book the number of tickets they want, whenever they please: days in advance or last minute, on BookMyshow.

BookMyshow allows you to book tickets for movies, plays, events, visits to monuments, sports events, international events et cetera. It also allows you to check show timings for movies and watch trailers. One can also rate a particular movie after having watched it and write a review. The company has a charitable trust called BookASmile which was created with a vision to enrich the lives of the less fortunate across India, through the medium of “Experiences & Enjoyment.”

BookMyshow was founded by three long-time friends: Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, Rajesh Balpande. Ashish Hemrajani is the CEO and co-founder of Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited, which operates BookMyShow, India’s largest online entertainment ticketing platform, offering tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sports games and live events. Ashish started his professional journey after completing his MBA specialising in Marketing at Sydenham University in 1997. In 1999, he gave in to his passion for entrepreneurship and founded Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Under Ashish’s leadership, Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. survived through the dot-com bust in 2001 and managed to do so by selling the Vista ticketing software and providing back-end ticketing services to cinema theatres. In 2007, seeing the growth in multiplexes and the increased credit/debit card penetration in the country, Ashish and his team launched BookMyShow. Ashish strived to make the brand a quick success taking the market by storm, by bringing Cinema biggies like PVR, INOX and Cinepolis on the portal.

He foresaw consumers in India favouring the mobile over computers and hence, launched the BookMyShow mobile App getting the early mover advantage. While passionately driving his model for BookMyShow, he brought on board believing investors like Stripes Group, Network 18, Accel Partners and SAIF Partners. Under Mr Hemarajani’s leadership, BookMyShow has expanded its operations to New Zealand, UAE, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Hemrajani believes in balance and indulges in a couple of leisure activities that help him stay focussed, including sailing. The BookMyShow captain cool considers the sea as a great leveller. He sails every week and participates in sailing competitions regularly along with his crew. Apart from being out at sea, Ashish is also drawn to the philosophy of Vedanta. His entrepreneurial mindset allows him to be a humble leader with a heart in all avenues of life.

Parikshit Dar is the co-founder of BookMyShow and has been working as the Director of Big Tree Entertainment for the last 19 years. Rajesh Balpande was the Investment Banker at The Chatterjee Group from 1997 to 2000 before he co-founded BookMyShow. He studied in Holy Name High School and hails from Mumbai.

It all started in 1999 when the three long-time friends: Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar and Rajesh Balpande went for a vacation to South Africa. The seeds for Big Tree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. were sown. Soon after, C.E.O. Ashish Hemrajani quit his job at JWT, Co-Founder Parikshit Dar took over technology, and Co-Founder Rajesh Balpande took over finance.

With the cinema industry on a high and multiplexes and large cinema chains starting to entertain Indian audiences around the country in 2000, Bigtree took over the rights to retail and service New Zealand based ticketing software, Vista in India.

The dot-com bust that happened in 2002 marked a turbulent set of years for the company until March 2007 when Network 18 invested in BookMyShow. The name was coined by a developer intern. Later that year, in August, Big Tree Entertainment launched India’s first ticketing aggregator, BookMyShow.

In 2010, BookMyShow became the official ticketing partner for Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. Today, they have Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals on board too.

In 2011, BookMyShow became the exclusive ticketing partner for Formula 1, the Indian Grand Prix. Later that year, it hit 1 million likes on Facebook. It currently boasts 3.3 million likes on the platform.

BookMyShow was awarded ‘The Hottest Company of the Year 2011-12 and ‘The Company to watch out for’ at the prestigious CNBC Young Turks Award.

BookMyShow has raised $224.5 million over 5 funding rounds.

After the investment by Network 18, Accel invested $18 million on 23rd August 2012, in a Series A funding round. Two years later, SAIF Partners invested $25 million on 18th June 2014, in a Series B funding round. Stripes Group invested a whopping $81.5 million on 5th July 2016, in a Series C funding round. In a Series D funding round which happened on July 20, 2018, TPG Growth invested $100 million in the company.

The app has been downloaded more than 50 million times on the PlayStore and AppStore. 15 million tickets are booked on the app every month. Page views stand at a flabbergasting 2 billion. Currently, the company has 1001-5000 employees working under it. BookMyShow has clocked a 27% increase in operational revenues at ₹ 300.6 crores in FY17 compared to ₹ 236 crores in FY16. It has more than 30 million customers presently.

Online entertainment ticketing platform BookMyShow has held on to its leadership position in the movie ticketing space warding off a hefty play by Paytm and is now looking to scale its non-movie business over the next two years to bring it at par with its bread-and-butter movie ticketing segment.

“About 30% of our revenues currently come from the non-movie ticketing segment. We intend to grow this to 50% by 2020,” Albert Almeida, COO – Non movies at BookMyShow, told ET. “This segment has been growing at about 60% annually since 2012. From 100 events in 2007 in this segment, we now have about 60,000 shows and 12,000 unique events listed on our platform as of 2017.”

BookMyShow is foraying into ticketing for international events in sports, live entertainment and experiences across countries.

The ticket value for these international events has a clear 40%-50% higher markup from tickets for national events. This metric is expected to be a significant needle mover in the firm’s strategy to grow its non-movie revenues.

The company is also co-producing the Tony-award winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King And I.’

“Our growth pace in movie ticketing is limited due to inflation and infrastructure issues such as a limitation on the number of existing cinemas. Hence, it makes sense to shift our focus to the next big category which offers tremendous growth, especially since there is a huge market of travellers that we can target,” said Almeida.

BookMyShow’s top competitors include Insider.in, Paytm, Just dial, TicketNew et cetera.

Insider is an online platform that allows users to discover and buy tickets for movies, food, travel, sporting events and concerts. Insider is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Insider has been a Subsidiary of Paytm since Jun 2017. As of December 2018, Insider has 212.2K likes on Facebook and 120.2K followers on Twitter. It has approximately 240 employees and earns annual revenue of $1.5 million.

TicketNew is a privately owned company and provides online ticket booking services for movies. It is headquartered in Tamil Nadu, India. It was founded in 2007 and is now acquired by Paytm.

Just Dial is India’s No.1 local search engine catering to over 125 million unique quarterly users. It has forayed into the ticketing business and gives a tough competition to BookMyShow. It was founded in 1997 and has its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

BookMyShow is a great, portable tool to book tickets for events, concerts, movies, plays, comedy events et cetera. The company is a big supporter of theatrical arts and has sought to bring culture closer to the masses. In a country where Cricket is the most watched sport, the startup has made it easy for fans to access tickets at the tap of a finger.

People have become more aware of the events happening around them because of BookMyShow. It is highly unlikely to find a person living in the urban areas who have never booked a ticket on BookMyShow. Do you agree? Please tell us in the comments.

Vasundhara Dhadiwal
I'm quite gauche, tbh. I despise texting abbreviations and Internet acronyms and the fact that I find myself guilty of using them every once in a while. I study mass communication and photography gets me by. I am as old school as they come. I devour books while a plate full of food is waiting to be eaten. Life is quite okay but I struggle with the in-betweens. I'm just a regular girl but I believe that I'm going to be a very big deal someday.

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