Recipient of the prestigious “IIM Ahmedabad Award of Academic Merit”, Hitesh has over 14 years of rich experience in P&L leadership, general management, strategic business expansion, etc., and has worked across the globe.
The idea of launching Onspon first came to him when as a sponsorship manager of his college fest, he faced difficulty in finding sponsors. On some research, he found that it was difficult to even evaluate high decibel events like premier leagues on a single comparative chart. The problem of discovering and raising sponsorship was evident in the market. Thus, Onspon came into being.
Today, over 400 brands use Onspon to evaluate a number of opportunities like EDM concerts, B2B/B2C exhibitions, conferences, college festivals, sports events, corporate engagement platforms, children events, major sporting leagues and more.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Onspon.com bridges the Information & Access gap between brands and events. 300+ brands use Onspon to evaluate some fantastic opportunities – from a B2C exhibition having 1,00,000 footfalls to a corporate engagement platform reaching 100+ offices, from children content reaching 20,000+ schools, to all major leagues – ISL, IPL, Pro Kabaddi, etc. The problem of sponsorship is rising everywhere – and we understood it soon.
Onspon has been rated as an exhaustive high quality platform for assessing the best partnership opportunities across 7000+ avenues. The best part is, that it’s a marketplace model – hence no ‘sales pitches’.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
It all started when I was managing sponsorships for the events at IIM Ahmedabad and realized despite that I am from one of the most premium institutes of India, it was a challenge for me. When I took a job and was on other side, I realized sourcing of sponsorships is an equally big challenge. Hence a perfect opportunity to create a responsive marketplace based on information arbitrage and knowledge enhancement.
What is your life mantra?
If you think you can do it better – either prove it or don’t say – we have enough viewpoints.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
As we are trying to disrupt a very archaic media sales setup, there was a lot of resistance by agencies who are brand custodians on media procurement decisions. Event sponsorships happen to be non-traditional media. Here my experience of working with one of the biggest EMC organizations came handy and we created a structure where agencies benefit tremendously from our algorithms and use it to recommend their clients the best partnership opportunities – which was almost impossible earlier.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We have created a unique business model – brands don’t pay us and we charge for the incremental value which we add to the events.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We have raised an angel round with some key individual investors and angel network. We plan to invest a lot in technology depth – for automation of decision making by deep data, machine learning and predictive mechanisms. We plan to raise a follow on funding post before our new tech platform goes live.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Our attrition rate is zero percent – and we have invested a lot in employee engagement and innovation. We, the founders, have been trying our best to dedicate all our learning to our employee engagement processes.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Razor sharp focus
- Believe in yourself
- Allocate to right stakeholders
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use a lot of technology innovation. We think there are a social media automation tools available which we use on and off – and it depends a lot on your business model.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I start the day early and allocate work before working hours start.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Perfectionism. I don’t like 90 percent well done – and the cost if going the last mile is very high so I am getting to terms with that.
Answer in less than 50 words
Think scale before monetization. There is a temptation to work like an agency and create immediate monetization but hang on to the model – the size and sheer scale shall more than make up for it.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Doing everything yourself won’t work. Delegate.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Customers think different from investors. It took me quite some time to understand.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Growth with focus on value creation and multiply country expansion with global partnerships.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Nothing, it has been a fantastic thus far.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Have been to Istanbul, Paris, and Bangkok; would love to go – Jerusalem, Zurich and Moscow.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.