Aside from, well, event planners, most people can think of nothing worse than spending weeks putting together the dozen different elements required to hold the perfect party. The biggest problem is usually that there’s too much choice and too much research to do to ensure you’re getting the best deal. MyCatering aims to fix that.
Launched by Sydney entrepreneur Dev Jaiswal, the platform is essentially Oneflare for event planning. It allows users to post all the details of their event: what services they will need, when, where, and how much they’re willing to spend. Then, up to five vendors can pitch themselves to the user, negotiating details and prices. Like most other service platforms these days, users can then leave reviews of vendors based on metrics like quality, timeliness, presentation, and value to assist other users in making decisions in the future.
Jaiswal, who has a background in hospitality, said the idea came from his experience helping to organise his sister-in-law’s wedding a few years ago.
“That’s when we discovered how difficult it can be organising something like a wedding. You have to call up at least a dozen caterers, a dozen venues, florists, and you have to keep repeating everything again and again: these are what my requirements are, this is what my budget is. Then we had to make a decision out of the dozen on who to select, because we didn’t really know. You speak to your friends, you speak to family, you try and do some research on the internet, but you’re really not sure,” he said.
Jaiswal funded the development of the platform with his wife and co-founder, Suchita Jaiswal, with the pair working with developer Thierry Lefebvre over the last few years.
There are already 650 vendors signed up to the platform, with MyCatering running a campaign offering a year’s free membership up til July next year. New sign-ups thereafter will be treated to a free three month trial, with the paid model then asking vendors to pre-purchase a number of lead credits. These credits are then used to access a potential customer’s contact details in order to pitch their service to them.
“That doesn’t guarantee the job but it gives them the lead. It gives them the details of the customer from which point they can do a sales job for themselves,” Jaiswal said.
It also allows vendors to have an internet presence; while every second list of tips for small businesses encourages them to set up a website and social media profiles, the reality is that, from design to SEO, many don’t have the time to invest in actually doing it well enough to get anything tangible out of it. Like Oneflare has done for tradies, MyCatering will let vendors present themselves effectively, and pitch to potential customers directly.
However, while it does take away the pain of having to search for a number of different vendors and call them all up, the platform doesn’t make it any easier to coordinate the different vendors once you’ve hired them, which could be an interesting feature to add in future. For example, connecting caterers with the chosen venue would remove the need for the buyer to act as the in-between to get all the details of an event across – what time the caterer can get to the venue and whether they should go in via the front door or the loading bay.
Jaiswal will be looking for around $200,000 to $300,000 in seed funding over the next few months to grow MyCatering’s user base. He’s aiming to get at least 3,000 vendors on the platform by the end of next year, with marketing to customers set to ramp up in the coming weeks.
Image: Thierry Lefebvre, Suchita Jaiswal, and Dev Jaiswal.