Over the years, Dhaka has seen a spike in the number and variety of events that happened all over the city. Be it a concert, a tech event, or a youth based Comicon or a food festival. We are heading into a period where we have too many events on the caledar each week. Keeping track of events are becoming increasingly challenging. We usually get to know about events through social media, Facebook invites. There has been, and is a need for a portal (other than social media) which is dedicated solely to all sorts of events happening in Dhaka city, which would help prospective visitors with keeping tabs, or deciding whether he or she should even go or not. Notably comparable to the highly acclaimed Event Brite, but for a Bangladeshi audience.
Kokhon.com is an up and coming event discovery service. It is collaborative venture of Infra Blue Technology and Preneurlab. This week Preneurlab’s CEO and Founder Arif Nezami about this highly exciting and innovative project.
What is kokhon.com?
Kokhon.com is a website dedicated to keeping you up to date regarding all sorts of events going in Dhaka City. Think of it as a social media site for events. The site updates with the events, which anyone can join. It is also highly customized, so it can suggest events and also have available reviews, and many other features which enable a proper assessment of how the event went. For example, mood meters (they were used in Innovation Xtreme last November).
Kokhon.com has two types of users. People who will be attending events and people organizing the events. Both users have different needs We provide the former with up to date schedules and event lists and for the latter we provide full visibility. We also provide organizers with means to help their customers register for their event, track whether they attend. We even plan to help them set up e-payment services for ticketing (via B-Kash, or DBL) if asked.
How is using kokhon.com any different from other existing means of tracking events?
The most common way the average Dhaka urbanite would keep tab of events is through Facebook. There are some drawbacks with having facebook as the only means of keeping tabs of events. You never find out about any nearby events (through social media) unless you get event invites from a friend, or see people joining that event on your news feed. Also, there are many people who tend to ‘join’ the events on facebook but in reality fewer actually do turn up. Facebook also does not have a category for events so you can narrow down your search, or prioritize. Kokhon.com plans to categorize, and help track visitors and also (with their permission) receive feedback (through various means, such as reviews and mood meters).
Are there any other such projects in Dhaka like this one? if so, what sets you apart?
Over the years there has been some startups trying to set up local event discovery services. But not all of them broke out to the mainstream audience. And that is not our team has in mind. Our team members have worked with different organizations and has in total organized hundreds of events in Dhaka and outside Dhaka. We have a wide community reach. We also have skilled personnel who are able to deliver high quality User Experience on the websites. We pursue a data driven approach, and in that way we try to provide our users as customized and personalized an experience as possible. (our data is of course, to be acquired with the permission of the users). We ourselves are event organizers. we have been a part of a lot of high profile tech/business events in Bangladesh working alongside the like Hack-a-Thon, Innovation Xtreme and the events of Mozilla, microsoft, etc. We understand the pains of marketing, not having a proper platform for registrations, ticketing, tracking visitors and obtaining feedback. So this is more personal a project for us than projects generally tend to be.
What is your business model? How will you profit?
We plan to operate by a free-mium business model. While every event will be listed for free, we plan to give special privileges to premium users (the organizers) who want their events to be featured on the site. We could also help premium users market their events with the help of customized ticketing services, or websites designed for the event. We already pulled off such a project at the Innovation Xtreme. The website for the event, the event tracker, the mood meter were designed by people who are a part of this team.
What are some milestones you hope to attain within 6 months-1 year?
We want to grasp our market in Dhaka and the rest of Bangladesh first. Then we eventually want to extend our services to cities in other countries, starting with Calcutta. For now, we are focused on our launch. The back end is ready. The user end should be up in a few days. Our Beta launch will be in in 2 months. In 6 months we want to get all Dhaka events listed. All major events.
What are some challenges you faced along the way?
Our major challenges so far has been explaining the idea to people, making them see our Unique Selling Point. This business idea is rather unfamiliar to most down here. Another challenge has been bringing in skilled developers for creating fantastic UX.
Is there any advice you have for the budding entrepreneurs out there?
Do not be afraid and do not doubt yourselves. if you want to be an entrepreneur, go at it from a formative point of your life. The younger you start, the further you can get yourself by the time your friends graduate or get promoted (given that you do your job right). Make sure your business is built around solving a problem. Bangladesh has a lot of people, and a lot of problems. Hence a lot of opportunities.