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Jumping the queue

Shivani Shinde  |  Mumbai 

Having spent nine years in investment banking, Neetu Bhatia was ready to start out on her own. A veteran i-banker, Bhatia has successfully executed several billion dollar deals with Time Warner, Google, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Cingular, AT&T and others. The entrepreneurial bug bit Bhatia in 2006, while on her summer break along with her brother and co-founder Akash Bhatia. “We decided to go for a movie, but other than relying on the newspaper advertisements, there were no other options. Then again, there is no guarantee that once you reach the theatres the tickets would be available,” she reasons.

In April 2007, Bhatia’s — which was christened by ad-guru Prahlad Kakkar and blessed by Bhatia’s Godmother Kiran Bedi — was born with an aim to become a single window for ticket bookings for movie theatres, cricket or any other sporting events. Says Bhatia, “KyaZoonga is our effort to change the way we access sports and entertainment in India.” Today the website commands about 2.5 lakh visitors on an average day and the number of viewers is rising at a rate of 75 per cent month-on-month.

With a background in finance, Bhatia had no trouble raising funds for her venture, but her biggest test was getting all the multiplex players to agree to selling online tickets through KyaZoonga. Since a host of ‘me-too’ sites have emerged ever since KyaZoonga began selling tickets online, Bhatia has now turned her attention to sporting events to draw fans to her site.

To its credit, KyaZoonga till date has sold a few million tickets to consumers both in India and in several other countries. In November 2007, it was the only website to provide online booking for the India-Pakistan match that was held in Jaipur. Bhatia, armed with a Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, keeps the revenues close to her heart and does not even reveal even the number of tickets she sold for the cricket match. However, she relents, “We sold some of the premium priced tickets, those ranging between Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh to corporates. We managed to do good amount of business.” Last year, KyaZoonga managed to bag the sole rights to sell tickets for the maiden season of Indian Premier League’s Delhi and Mumbai teams.

“As far as sporting events are concerned,” claims Bhatia, “our company is a complete end-to-end ticketing provider with multiple payment options through our online, mobile, box-office and retail distribution channels.” Realising that usage of credit cards is still fairly limited in India, the company has also tied-up with Bharat Petroleum outlets for offline ticket booking.

By her own estimates, the turnover of KyaZoonga has multiplied 20 times since last year. “We have grown to become a 20-member team and will be doubling people in next 6-9 months. The site will have a lot more content,” she promises.

First Published: Mon, June 01 2009. 00:26 IST