TheShareStory.in is an initiative to build a community of Entrepreneurs, Founders, Startups & Industry Stalwarts to celebrate success & to learn from shortfalls, and to Contribute, Inspire & Embellish Entrepreneurship by sharing their exciting Stories!
As a part of our initiative, we invited two ardent professionals, Ms. Rishika Agarwal and Mr. Navam Gupta, who have made weddings more fun and less stressful! We asked them for an interview with us to know more about their journey of becoming the Co-Founder of WedHaven. Let’s learn more about their hustles and the reason for starting WedHaven in the following interview!
We would like to know about you and your journey of being an entrepreneur?
With a Bachelors in Information Technology from India (where we met), we went on to pursue our passion for Computer Science, with a masters from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The charm of Silicon Valley combined with our love for technology, drew us to the San Francisco bay area, where we worked in a leading ed-tech company for several years and gained valuable experience.
Over the years, we kept coming back to India to attend the weddings of our friends and cousins and get married ourselves too. While Indian weddings are a lot of fun and, however, behind the scenes, there’s a lot of stress and chaos involved too. We began noticing these patterns wherein almost each wedding ceremony was getting delayed, the venue got updated last minute, the driver didn’t reach on time to pick the guests from the airport, somebody’s invite got lost, someone missed the evening snacks, the list goes on and on.
Being engineers at heart, we just couldn’t look at this mayhem silently anymore and decided it was time to pursue this goal of “Making weddings fun”. So, we packed our bags, moved back to the homeland from the US and started working on WedHaven in 2019!
How did the idea of WedHaven come upon?
Almost every startup idea originates when someone experiences a problem themselves. For us, we first noticed the problem of wedding mis-management during our own wedding in 2014, where we had it all – the stressed out parents, the super annoyed guests and like icing on the cake, our best friends who missed the whole baraat cause they were a few minutes late and could not “find it”.
This was just the beginning, every wedding we went to after (sometimes as guests and other times as hosts) had its own fun set of mishaps. Once we got stranded at the airport for 1.5 hours (due to a driver confusion), another time the hosts forgot to mention that the venue has been updated from one end of the resort to another.
The eureka moment came when we just couldn’t keep tab on a friend’s wedding activities and keeping up with weddings was becoming a nightmare. We realized having the right kind of support and tools at one’s disposal will make things easier and way more fun for those hosting and attending the wedding. Hence, the idea to conceptualize WedHaven – a wedding management app was born!
What challenges were faced by you to turn this idea into a reality?
The journey of any new venture is incomplete without facing any challenges. Here are our primary ones:
- Getting people accustomed to the concept of a wedding app and making use of technology for managing key events of their lives. It’s a complete change of mindset which requires people to adapt to do things in a new way, especially something that has been done traditionally for several years. And the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise here, as people are much more receptive of digital solutions now, than ever before.
- When we talk to people about the wedding space, names like WedMeGood or Shaadi Saga are the ones to roll out first. So, to introduce something new there, which is not a vendor marketplace or aggregator, takes sometime getting used to by the audience and requires a lot more explanation. We are still working on this one by trying to communicate things better and improving our marketing strategies.
- Figuring out cost-effective platforms and technologies to work with.
- Finding the right people for our team from the beginning, as that goes a long way in defining a company’s culture and ethics.
What is WedHaven’s USP?
The concept as a whole is quite novel as it enables people to enjoy the wedding and forget about the related stress. Not only does it help save time, save money and reduce repetitive tasks, it also provides the users with a unique, on-the-go, always connected platform. The hosts are able to keep their guests up to date all the time and also have the means to efficiently manage the wedding from anywhere and anytime via the app.
The guests, on the other hand are provided with a sleek interface to access all wedding information, update their RSVP status and are part of this closed social space dedicated to the wedding. Also, some of our features like live baraat tracking, guest moderation and adding co-hosts are completely new and a lot more fun stuff is coming in this year.
Besides, our simplistic UI, secure functionality and transparent and affordable pricing add to the app’s uniqueness too!
Wed-Tech is a completely new and unique concept in India. How difficult do you think is it to convince people to use your application?
Quite difficult to be honest! If we talk about wedding apps, the kind people are used to are either vendor aggregation or wedding inspiration based apps. Talking about wedding management, people either hire wedding planners or handle everything themselves. But to use an app to manage your entire wedding digitally, is an idea that does not resonate with everyone at the get-go and will take some getting used to. Firstly, it takes a while for people to just fully understand the concept and then past that stage comes the adoption stage, which we are working on, to make as seamless as possible.
Where do you see WedHaven five years hence?
In a span of 5 years, we envision WedHaven being a household name for wedding management not just in India but across the globe. The goal is to make it an evolved platform taking care of every need related to wedding management and more.
Do you plan to diversify your product/range?
Not at the moment. Currently, we are laser-focused on delivering the best possible experience to our customers, along with adding more features and functionalities to help manage all aspects of a wedding. However, we do have some horizontal and vertical growth opportunities in mind, which we will consider at a later stage.
What is your life mantra?
Rishika: “Never give up and keep trying” – be it my personal life or professional, this is the motto I truly stand by. If you really desire something from your heart and are determined to accomplish it, you will keep giving it your best despite the hurdles, as they are inevitable. Rising up braver and stronger after each failure to take on the next challenge is what will take you really far and ahead in life.
Navam: “Focus on your mission and not the result” – because, if you do things right, success will follow eventually. Forget about everything else besides your aim and put your heart and soul into making it a reality. If you do things right, the outcome will undoubtedly be favorable too. So, just concentrate on building what’s best for your customers.
What is your favourite aspect of weddings?
Weddings for us are all about creating special memories and cherishing those precious moments throughout your life. There’s a feeling of joy and laughter all around and just seeing those happy, glowing faces everywhere makes us want to dance around. That was the purpose of creating WedHaven – to take that stress away and bring those lovely smiles back, as weddings are only meant to be fun!
Is there any wedding that took place through WedHaven and you can never forget?
Yes, our favorite WedHaven’s wedding story is that of our pilot, via which we managed the fairytale wedding of Aditya & Shirisha, a couple in Noida. It was a destination wedding in Udaipur and this fun loving couple loved the concept and gave us the chance to test out our application on their big day. We are really grateful to them for that and also it turned out to be a great event!
How COVID-19 has affected your personal as well as professional life?
Like millions of people around the globe, Covid-19 has deeply affected both our personal and professional lives. With the loss and hospitalizations of family members, and having caught the virus ourselves too, we felt a huge impact of it on our physical and emotional health. Such events are life-altering and this venture being in its very early stages faced the impact too, as we could not give it the attention it needed for
sometime. Thankfully we had a good team in place which managed to move things along and minimize the damage in our absence. However, we are now back in action, all hands on deck.
Any words of wisdom for our aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Be passionate towards your goals and believe in yourself.
- There will be challenges along the way but embracing failures instead of losing hope in tough times, is what will help you accomplish your goals.
- Don’t be afraid of taking risks and keep experimenting with your product to suit your customer’s needs.
- Talking to your customers and understanding their perspective is extremely crucial to building anything new. So take that plunge and just go for it.
- No matter the result, the journey will surely be worth it, as you would have gained some valuable life-lessons and priceless experiences to apply to all walks of life in the future.