Ashish Hemrajani is not an entrepreneur who retweets every tweet that praises the fabulous offers his online ticketing platform has for its consumers. Neither does he posts inspirational quotes to stay connected to his followers. Hemrajani instead prefers to stay focused. Bookmyshow, the online entertainment ticketing provider, is Hemrajani’s baby since the last 18 years. Being at the helm as the CEO has taught him two facts about India – the country is full of challenges and it is hence equally full of opportunities.
“A lot of people are surprised by the scale, I am actually not. I have been around for 18 years to know other countries, other businesses in other parts of the world, not only scale much faster if there is an idea that catches fire, they also end up making revenues as well,” he says. Hemrajani’s primary concern is why is it that after so many years, Indian businesses actually cannot end up making money. You can hide behind the guise that I am actually scaling but the problem is everyone is just discounting.
“There isn’t a large enough consumer base yet because it’s challenging with taxation, infrastructure, disposal incomes. I have been hearing about India taking off for a long time but why isn’t India really taking off? I can tell you in my own sector, entertainment tax on films and live events is so high that it’s unviable for people to scale and build entertainment venues or multiplexes all over the country,” he further says.Connectivity is another issue which hinders growth.
But Indians still like choices. “So going to mall and looking at different things before actually shopping for something is as much entertaining. But, they will evolve over a period of time like how America did. But, the entrepreneurs are trying to run even before the consumers have learned to walk. The challenge is that the market is open and capital is being dumped and everyone is in this land grab mode,” he concludes.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)