After the “B” and the “R”, we’re continuing our tour of BRICS startups with the “I” of Indian and Book My Show, a ticketing central with a story symbolising the pains and progresses of e-commerce in the sub-continent.Book My Show india startup success BRICS entrepreneurs martin pasquier innovation is everywhere brazil russia china south africa e-commerce

It’s again an answer to the desire for consumption of a growing middle-class, as Book My Show is the largest ticketing central for entertainment. But their story is not an easy straight line, and it’s yet another opportunity to understand how different BRICS countries can be.

India’s middle-class: 50m in 2007, 583m in 2025

In a similar way to the other BRICS countries we have talked about, India’s main attraction for startups and entrepreneurs is its fast-growing middle-class. If the country has sometime been a disappointment at a macro-economic and global level, the figures are still pretty impressive. With 50m people in the middle-class in 2007 and 583m expected in 2025 (McKinsey), there is a growing pie of consumers to offer services to.

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Over the last seven years, India’s middle-class has been consuming more goods. Purchase of air-conditioners, colour TVs, refrigerators, cars, laptops and credit cards have all doubled in that period. The path to buying services is opening slowly but certainly, and Book My Show’s own history is a testimonial of this long path. Initially founded in 1999, the company did a lot of pivots – from outsourcing to call-centers, before returning to their ticketing idea only in 2007.

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And among the BRICS countries, India has one of the highest share of consumption within the GDP. Which means B2C and e-commerce startups, provided they can solve the payment and delivery issues, have a huge base of users with a tradition for consumption. If today, most of this consumption budget goes into food, by 2025, other services categories, from health care to education or recreation, will almost double.

Book My Show: starting slow to wait for e-commerce to grow

In this context, Book My Show is, as many startups, a living miracle. After 8 years of pivots and survival, including the fallout of the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, the startup came back to its original intention. The website and the apps allow anyone to book a ticket for movies, cricket matches, concerts and any event. Nothing really innovative, except than it’s an e-commerce solution which doesn’t need a delivery (except QR codes, SMS or printable tickets at home).

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Where BookMyShow is strong is on the timing. Things move slowly in India, and the e-commerce market size is still a tiny 1.5% of China’s $200bn. But many positive points must be taken into account:

  • Over the next few years though, the number of online shoppers in India should double, from 20m in 2013 to 40m in 2016, and the size of the e-commerce market should grow sevenfold over the next 5 years.
  • The rise of mobile-first customers, who will account for 90% of the expected 400m Indian internet users 2016, can already be felt. “Some of our companies like BookMyShow are seeing mobile transactions greater than 40%, a 800% growth YoY – a large part of this growth in mobile transactions is coming from tier-2 and tier-3 towns – where the consumer is a mobile first consumer,” states Accel, an investor in Book My Show in a Techcrunch article.

With a recent funding round of $25m, the startup can also expand to second and third tier cities – the true explosive market in BRICS countries, where capital cities are already mobile and shopping online. Overall, Book My Show has sold more than 100m tickets, and garnered half a billion page views.

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That’s it for the “I” of our BRICS series! Tomorrow, we’ll talk of a startup from China working in the field of the internet of things.

You can find back our BRICS startups series herewith amazing stories from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa