Remember the days when you had to wait patiently in long queues to get a movie ticket? Or the time you were put on a waiting list for a live performance you so desperately wanted to attend? Luckily those days are behind us (mostly), and we have none other than Ashish Hemrajani to thank for giving us BookMyShow.
Ashish Hemrajani, who spent the entirety of his educational life in Mumbai, graduated with a masters degree in business administration from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in the year 1997. He joined the advertising company J. Walter Thomas (JWT) the same year.
Ashish has been an avid traveller, and it was during a backpacking trip in South Africa that he was struck by an idea while listening to a radio programme which was promoting rugby tickets. He was sitting under a tree in South Africa’s Cape Winelands where he was struck by the idea, and thought the same could be implemented back in India. This inspired the name BigTree Entertainment, the precursor to what would eventually become BookMyShow.
Soon thereafter, Ashish made the expensive mistake of sending a Rs.186 text message to his boss saying that he was quitting – a mistake he realised only the following day. Without a job, Ashish returned to India and started speaking to potential investors, presenting his business plan. He sent a fax of the business plan to JP Morgan Chase, and managed to secure funding worth Rs. 2 crore. This happened at a time when the dot com industry was booming.
By 1999, BookMyShow had more calls than online bookings and may well have been one of the first few to start using cash on delivery. BookMyShow also received funding from Newscorp in 2001. Then the dot com crash happened, and BookMyShow, like almost all the internet companies at the time, was badly hit. Being on the verge of collapse, their workforce reduced from 150 to only 6. BookMyShow’s operations had to be moved from a 2500 sq.ft. office to a house in Bandra.
During those years, Ashish Hemrajani focused on building the ecosystem for the online ticketing business. 2006 onwards, Ashish focused on building the consumer business and it was then that sales started to pick up. BookMyShow is today the foremost platform that Indians think about when they book their movie or show tickets.
The ride for Ashish Hemrajani has been anything but smooth. But he has persevered and overcome obstacles in his path. He is our Xpert on entrepreneurship. Learn about Ashish’s journey, his tips and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and so much more, only on Xpert! Xpert is an online Q&A platform that brings you closer to the people you admire and look up to. Sign up on Xpert and ask Ashish Hemrajani a question!