Indonesia’s Bridestory grabs funding from four VCs, new Jakarta player Sovereign’s Capital takes the lead
The investors reference a high level of confidence in Mintaraga and Bridestory co-founder Etienne Hassell, who has previously seen success as an entrepreneur in the Caribbean. Luke Roush, managing principal of the Sovereign’s Capital Jakarta office says, “We are impressed with how they have bootstrapped through early execution to demonstrate market traction [...] at the end of the day we are betting on their ability to execute against their business plans while making changes as necessary.” Mintaraga is better-known for starting up a digital agency called Magnivate in March 2008, an agressive company that was later acquired by global advertising firm WPP. Today Mintaraga’s company goes by the name XM Gravity and handles high-profile clients in Southeast Asia like Unilever, XL Axiata, Singapore Tourism Board, and Nestle. XM Gravity also earned Mintaraga the 2013 “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Ernst and Young. Love spares no expense Coming from the ad world, Mintaraga is keen on spotting large-scale market opportunities. “After our wedding, my wife became a wedding planner,” he recalls. “She shared with me about how much her clients spent on weddings and that opened my eyes to see the big potential of the wedding industry. I started to do more research and found that the wedding business has a huge annual market size of US$300 billion globally.” As Mintaraga delved deeper into learning about internet wedding businesses, he noticed most of the industry’s key players were all publishers. According to him, this meant that even big-name competitors that are publicly listed like The Knot and Japan’s Minna no Wedding (which means “Wedding for All” in Japanese) produce inspirational content for engaged couples, but rely mainly on advertising for revenue.
Weddings without boundaries “Instead of developing another wedding publisher business, I wanted to develop a market place for wedding vendors, which is what makes this business so easily scalable,” Mintaraga explains. “We are on a mission to create a worldwide platform that has a comprehensive database of all wedding vendors in a region. Currently, there is no global wedding platform, as all the rest are based in a particular country or region only.” Mintaraga says that as modern weddings have now become “cross-border events,” he sees an increasing trend toward “destination weddings,” where couples travel internationally to tie the knot. As a result, Mintaraga and Hassell believe more and more wedding service providers like photographers, videographers, and designers are becoming increasingly interested in overseas work. Mintaraga says Bridestory makes it easier for local industry professionals to gain international exposure. Bridestory launched in April. According to Mintaraga, the site has gained more than 300,000 product and service listings from thousands of vendors. Mintaraga says the site is now the largest wedding inspiration site in Indonesia. He adds, “On average, there are approximately 7,000 users – or engaged couples – that visit us every day and we generate an average of 850 business leads to all of our registered vendors on a daily basis.” Bridestory’s direct Southeast Asian competitors include Weddingku in Indonesia, Singaporebrides, Weddingsquare in Thailand, and Bridalbook in the Philippines. However, Mintaraga says its important to note that most of his competitors are publishers, which is where Bridestory differs.
Bridestory has a two-pronged business model that targets engaged couples but also places the vendors themselves as intermediaries (B2B2C). Mintaraga claims to have created a new monetization structure that combines lead generation with a subscription business model. How does it work? Mintaraga says: For example, when a wedding photographer first joins Bridestory, we will give them some free credits. One credit is equal to one business lead. When a user acquires your business information – such as sending you an inquiry or acquiring your pricelist information – one of your credits will be used. We will then notify you about the user who is interested in your business. Once you run out of credits, you will then need to subscribe and pay a monthly subscription [...] It’s like trying a free game or app on your mobile phone, once you are addicted or feel the benefit you will then be happy to pay for extension or extra service.read more: Pink Bridesmaid Dresses