India GameChanger was filled with ideas while speaking to Purnank Prakash and Mayank Banka, the co-founders of Samaaro. Samaaro is an all-in-one event technology platform for B2B marketers and event professionals.

Some of the topics Purnank and Mayank covered:

  • Wanting to build something for India at scale
  • How the pandemic pushed them out of their comfort zone and ultimately led to a better business
  • Learning how to feel comfortable with risk
  • The importance of being actively engaged with your customers
  • Data gathering and event personalization

Other titles we seriously considered for this episode:

  1. How Technology Can Actually Influence the Entire Event Industry
  2. Build from India for the World
  3. We Need to Show Some Kind of Resilience
  4. You’re Not Going to Deal With Someone You Can’t Trust
  5. You Have to Keep Evolving

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:04
Okay, now we’re really Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to India GameChanger. We have Purnank Prakash and Mayank Banka with us today and co-founders of Samaaro. Now normally what you’d say is there two A’s there. But for those discerning people out there that are gonna come after me, there are three A’s, but two in a row. Anyway, guys, it’s great to have you on the show. Oh, no, it’s completely My pleasure. And before we get into the central part of this conversation, and Purnank, why don’t we start with you? Let’s get a little bit of your backgrounds just for some context.

Purnank Prakash 0:36
All right, thank you, Michael, for the opportunity. Excited to be here with you. Talking about the India GameChanger. I think the topic in itself is fascinating. Thank you. Let’s start with about about me. So me and Mike actually, our story close together, they studied in the same call, as we have been friends for the last 13 years, we met each other in the first year of the college itself. So after graduation, in 2014, I moved on to work with the company that is the sort of Germany SCP labs. After working there for your I started my entrepreneurship journey with Maya. So in 2015, we started the parent company of our product today, the parent company’s name is tackling technology. And obviously, the brand name is tomorrow that we are publishing. So from 2015 onwards, till now me and mine cabin founders for the last eight years, and I think the journey has been kind of a roller coaster. Most of it has been ups. And I’m excited to talk about that. So I primarily take care of the product and technology part. Michael in Samarra, I think mine will talk more about his role when he gets his introduction.

Mayank Banka 1:48
Thank you, Michael, for the opportunity here. So yes, I am basically come from Delhi. And like finance already covered that we studied together. In a teaching post that I started working for a company called E Excel. And then followed by Sue, which is basically acquired by Amazon. It’s a ecommerce platform based out of Middle East for about a year and a half as a product analyst. And then we jumped on to, you know, came together to start Samar or so the whole idea there was that, you know, we wanted to do something for India in general first, and one thing that, you know, is true, and probably also stereotype, which is that India is not a country that leads the technology curve, right. It’s never been like that. It’s changing a lot right now. I think it is one of the biggest Ecosystm for SAS startups, tech startups and tech startups. But that was not the case, maybe 810 years down the line earlier. So we wanted to sort of revolutionize that change that we wanted to digitize India, and one way we thought that we could do is by introducing experiential technologies in events. So what we started doing is we started working with a lot of brands for their marketing activations, product launches, on holiday celebrations, or premiere of Fun Friday at times. And during these times, we introduced technologies like AR VR, gesture based IoT, sometimes even neurological headsets to sort of create experiential teams and engage the audience. Things have been going pretty well for us, because we knew we were a bootstrap company for the first five years of our journey, and we were even extremely profitable. We had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands like Facebook, Amazon Paytm, here in India Tech Mahindra Adobe, Bank of America. So the list is list was huge. Until you know, the pandemic happened. So everyone’s aware event industry, probably along with travel and tourism is what was one of the worst affected industries. Right. So that is when the revenues came down to a standstill. It literally came to zero. And that’s when, you know, we decided that okay, you know, based on our experience of team and industry so far, and, you know, we sort of understand why people post events, right? It’s to build engagement to build the community, it could be an internal community for your employees, or an external community of customers and other stakeholders. So that was the whole idea behind launching tomorrow as a virtual events platform initially, so that people who could not brands who could not host events anymore to engage their audiences could now that somehow, that’s when we started getting a lot of traction. We launched Samar on June 2020. And almost about five months down the line, we were recognized as one of the test tech 30 startups by your story in India. So that was a significant milestone. And hold that raised around a couple of rounds of funding is fair, because we started seeing a lot of traction globally. Now, here we are, when you know, we are probably moving towards a post pandemic era. And people are sort of going back to physical events, but which, you know, now an understanding of how technology can actually influence the entire human industrial ecosystem. So what we’re doing now is, you know, we’re hosting virtual events, we’re at the same time, we’re also adding multiple layers of technologies for physical events as well, which would enhance the experience for registrations compensated networking and exhibitions.

Michael Waitze 6:01
I want to get back to both of those things in a second, but you launched if I get have this right back in 2015. So you’ve been at this for a while, and the business has kind of gone through multiple iterations, but two really big ones. And I think at some level, there have been two other big changes, which both of you mentioned, right. And I want to, I want to kind of address these first, because I don’t think we can address those without addressing what you’re building. The first is this idea that like India was not a technology leader. Maybe that was true 10 years ago, but I need to push back on that super hard today. Because today, I feel like India is a gigantic tech leader. That’s the whole point of India game changers try to figure out how and why we can pick out individual events like UPI, as one of them to make payments just completely frictionless in a way that hadn’t existed until pay now in Singapore, in different countries. But the second thing is, it used to be building things for other people. And now it’s building things. It’s India for India, right? And then then moving the products externally, right, because if it works inside of India, with all the idiosyncrasies and all the different states and all the different regions, all the different languages and cultures, if it can work there will ensure it should work in Europe with some tweaks and stuff, it should work in the US as well. Can you address what had to change both technologically and maybe just psychologically, for those two things to have changed as well? And then we’ll dig deeper into some aro?

Mayank Banka 7:29
Sure, the thing that I believe the most is that internet sort of changed everything. And pre Geo, pre 2016, I think 2016 is when geo was launched when you know, people started getting free internet, that is when the entire dynamics of how people consume the information and how people leverage technologies interesting. Change in time entirely. Right. Before that, you know, we will get sort of about one GB of data at about $2 prices, right? But now, you know, we’re getting like India is one of those countries where internet is the cheapest globally. So that changed a lot for India. And that actually I personally feel is when a lot of startups coming in around, you know, the consumer segment,

Purnank Prakash 8:21
I was just adding a couple of more points here to how happen in the Indian industry. If you talk about how the products are built, how the services are applied. So I have to go back to the era of 1992 when the IT revolution took place. So India was not a very major force in the globalization. It used to only be limited as a country itself, it did not have much trade happening within different countries. But in 1982, when the IT revolution happened, India started providing services to different countries. So that was a time when people started getting exposure of how the work is happening in different countries, how the tech is evolving. Till that time, nobody was even aware that how technology can be even used, everything was happening manually, from 1982 to another 10 years 2000 to 2003. In that 10 year, lot of Indians, they learned about how they can actually use the technology. And from 2003 onwards, the second generation of the Indians who had seen their seniors working for different companies in across the world, they started thinking on the same lines and started building their own products. So you can see Infosys was the TCL. These are really giant service providers across the world. But after them, you can see the Flipkart happening in India that is based on the idea of Amazon. Again, all that happened that was based on the idea of Uber so we started taking some ideas from the Western countries and started implementing them. And when they became successful, that gave a lot of hope to Indians that they can also build successful tech companies in India and from there on First, internet penetration, as many said, that obviously gave a lot of boost. And people started thinking of their own ideas. Now the new generation of entrepreneurs who are there in India, they are not thinking about just copying the ideas, they have broken that stereotype. Now they’re thinking that what can be the innovative new thing that they can build for the world from India? And I think someone who also is based on that same ideology will from India for the world

Michael Waitze 10:25
do you feel like and maybe you can remember this, right? Where you were sitting around in a cafe one day or having a beer with somebody or just had lunch? And you’ve and you thought you like you heard conversations change? Do you know what I mean? Even amongst yourself? So you’re like, you don’t I have my own idea. And instead of copying something that’s already been done, why don’t we try this instead? Because now things have changed. Did you feel like that actually happened? Or was it something that happened so slowly? And through such a long sort of evolutionary period that it just kind of happened naturally? Or did people actually talk about it?

Purnank Prakash 10:56
What happened is that we started making our new heroes, Michael, like, you know, Sachin, Bansal, when he Bansal they launched Flipkart, it was a huge success in 2013 2014. And we were in college that time. Before that moment in school, there was no talk happening about startups or launching their own company, our parents generally used to talk about that you should become an engineer or a doctor or work for some other company. But when we were in college, we started hearing these stories that these are two guys who have built up from scratch raise so much funding, the business is doing so amazing. And we thought why to work for someone else, why not build our own thing that can give India another stage another opportunity for the people who want to work for an Indian company that is doing great work. So that type of discussion started happening. And me and Mike actually, we did a small venture in our college days, where we were printing T shirts, and then like selling it to different people. So the T shirts, the idea was that the people used to tell us that whatever design they want, and then we used to give them. So this was just a, I think, the trial phase for us that if we can do something like this, so it happened on a very nominal basis, we did well. And from there onwards, that thought kept on building that, yes, there is something in this area in this career stream, and we can build something big out of this.

Michael Waitze 12:19
I love that. And that’s exactly what I want to know, go for it.

Mayank Banka 12:24
Yeah, I left a point here. So I think a lot of things that are wrong, a lot of things that changed my career, one of the things that also changed was, you know, our ability to probably take risks, right? Initially, you know, like put on mentioned, doctors, engineers, were probably, you know, one of the safest jobs and even you know, that took some time to evolve, right, from our parents wanting us to take a government job, you know, that was a very strong sentiment. Yeah, exactly. And right now, maybe, you know, 2010 onwards, we started seeing a trend where people were not afraid to take risks, people were not afraid anymore to fail. So that is when probably, you know, entrepreneurship, as a sentiment started developing or evolving within the Indian mindset.

Michael Waitze 13:17
I love these stories. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into some Morrow looks, the big event that’s happened in all of our lives that we’ve all shared is the pandemic, right. And I think at some level, we’re all tired of talking about it. But it did impact business. And you can see me holding up like, there’s this part of the business before was there. And then the pandemic and thinking now, what do we do? What did you learn, and I’m really interested in this, right? Because you came out of it. And a lot of people didn’t come out the other end. But you kind of came out of it with now this ability to do hybrid events, right. So it’s really, really different. But you must have learned a ton from doing online events only and all the like nuances and idiosyncrasies around that. And then to feed that into these hybrid events. I’m super curious about that progression as well.

Mayank Banka 14:02
Oh, yes, definitely. I remember having a conversation with one of my friends who had also started up something in the, you know, restaurant sector, and they have actually started somewhere around 2016 to 1816, I think, and they shut down the operations in 2018. And I remember having a conversation with this guide, during, you know, the peak of the pandemic and he was telling me if they had been shut down the businesses already into last meeting them, they probably would have had to do that in during the pandemic, right, because, again, restaurant industry was one of the things you know, was affected industries, people did adapt to cloud kitchen, but not everyone was able to survive. We saw a lot of restaurants as well. So, we sort of had a similar experience, you know, because our revenues came down to a standstill and you know, I’ll be honest and Cananga We’re in fact having this conversation, whether we should just shut down operations or consider moving on. But then one thing that I strongly believe that Bernanke and I have is perseverance, right. And we thought that in order to succeed, we need to, we need to show some kind of resilience here at the same time, very optimistic, because we know that our customers still cling to us, we were a technology company, and they were still sort of asking us for some sort of help some sort of, they were giving us ideas on what we could do to help them survive. And that in turn would help us, you know, would keep us stand on our feet as well. So that is when we thought that instead of shutting down operations, let’s let’s just do a little bit of retrospection, let’s bring all of our learning together, we have been a service based company for the last five years, let’s crystallize all of our learning and start building a product. I mean, we were getting too comfortable in what we were doing. So we thought that it may be a good opportunity to now you know, come out of that comfort zone and start pushing ourselves again, start getting into that human startup mindset, start getting into that, you know, Arr, MRR seed round CDFI do that kind of mindset again. So that is when we thought, okay, let’s give it a shot, let’s build a startup, which we can also scale to at a global level. And that’s how we started. So

Purnank Prakash 16:37
one more thing I would like to add here, Michael, when he started entrepreneurship journey with young kids, like I think we were 20 to 33. And pandemic showed us for the, for the first time in our career, that how much important is being humbled, you know, nothing is permanent, things can change within a blink of an eye. And you can’t take something very personally that this is what I want to do. And this is I live for the idea of entrepreneurship is something where you have to keep evolving. And that was the lesson we learned the hard way, we had to actually evolve ourselves when the pandemic hit the lot of people who had to shut down their business and kudos to them that they took the right decision, what actually made sense for them at that time. And it made sense for us as well, that we should also think about our options, but also the surrounding that you be in, we had a team of around 15 people who were with us when the revenue had hit zero. And we didn’t want to just close the business right away. We sat with them. And we discuss that what can we do as the next option. And I think when the right people with heart in the right place, think about a very genuine problem to solve, they can come up with brilliant ideas. And that is how I think Somato took place. And from there onwards, it has been an amazing journey. So I think we learned a very valuable lesson as an entrepreneur.

Michael Waitze 18:01
If you go through life, right? Without any problem, I worry about people actually, this is going to sound counterintuitive, but I worry about some of my friends, right? who’ve gone through life with just like an upward sloping trajectory, where everything’s kind of been okay, at least that’s the way it looks internally. I mean, externally, internally, we don’t know for sure, right. But it’s like from one job to a higher paying job, their kids get into a good school, their wives are doing fine. Because as soon as something bad happens, they don’t know how to react. And this idea of building resiliency and perseverance. Early, right when everything seems to be going okay, revenues are good customers love you. And then boom, something exogenous happens. And you’re like, well, now what we do, because we’ve never had this in our own lives before. It’s so hard. So there are two things here. Do you feel like there’s so much more to learn when things are difficult? And to do you feel like your company culture is so important that if you have the right culture, it’s easier to get through these difficult times. So it’s kind of a two part question. Either one of you can answer.

Purnank Prakash 19:02
Yeah. So Michael, the founders actually laid the foundation of the culture in the company, right? So me and Mike, have been very true to our heart when it came to building this company from the initial days. It has never been about about like, we want to have a very lavish life. We want to just make a lot of money and just bail out like that. It has always been like that we it’s basically this startup is our baby, we want to grow it step by step in the best way possible. And when we made our first hiring, we inculcated the same feeling to our team members as well. So whenever we have any bad time, they know from the initial days that this startup is their own part of life as well. They are emotionally attached to that. And whenever we interview people for our come around is actually the most important problem we see that that person Has that genuinely at that to heart feeling about the vision, the mission that we are working on. So I think the founders said, laying down the right foundation, and then building the right culture is a key to having a resilience business. Like, I’ll be wrong, if I see that we are not going to face another bad time, we can face another bad time. But right now, I am confident that our team, who we have made from scratch is gonna be there, even if something happens to me and mine, these guys are gonna take the business to another level. So it’s not about this is a startup of mine, Ken Punam, this is a startup of the team that is working on it right now. So if we lead the position, someone else can take it up and then grow the company, because believing in the vision is so much important. And without that, I don’t think you can build the right team in place.

Michael Waitze 20:53
You both mentioned, this idea of, you know, revenue went to zero, but you still had your customers calling you. So this is also super instances, it must mean that there was something there that they saw as well, that even though you hadn’t developed it, yet, they still wanted to deal with you. Again, it’s feels like a metaphor for you should always be in constant contact with your clients in good times and in bad times as well. Because they probably have the solution to your product problem. If you engage with them on a regular basis. Does that sound fair?

Mayank Banka 21:24
Oh, absolutely, I think it would be an understatement. Networking is important, right? I think the reason why we are here today is because the kind of relationships that we have built with our customers. And it’s a very genuine relationship. Michael, I always believe that, you know, if I’m being honest to myself, and if I’m being honest to my customer tell, they will come back to me because ultimately, you know, we’re all humans here. And you’re not going to deal with someone whom you can’t trust. So for me building that relationship with a foundation of trust with anyone, it could be an employee, it could be an, it could be a customer, it could be our investors. That is very, very critical to be. And it’s it’s a two way road here. So and that is exactly what happened with us. So we always been talking to our customers very candidly telling them that, okay, you know, if we want to do this for engagement, it probably will not work, I could have just told them that cow calf build it for you, right. But that’s not how we approached our customers, we would give them genuine feedback that this is probably not going to work and for XYZ reason. And that is exactly what happened during the pandemic, right? March 21, I remember is when there was a nationwide lockdown. And all of us were psyched out what we can do about companies about life and people panicking, etc. So for the first couple of weeks, nothing happened. You know, everyone was just cruising. And then mid April onwards, I started talking to customers, just checking a few of them, some of them had shut down operations. They were like, you know, too much that can’t continue anymore. But there was some businesses were still trying. So they were doing a lot of research for us as well. So you know, they came across a couple of platforms, who did these job fairs, or at different types of events, virtually. So they came to us, and they told us, Hey, why don’t we build something like this. So that is something that also helped us to you know it over Samar, and build a platform that eventually you know what it is right now.

Purnank Prakash 23:43
If I have to sum up it in the chest Somato has always been about the customer obsession, and listening to our customers that what they are saying. So I think that is a very crucial point in our journey. That is why we were able to overcome the bad things that the backspace we saw during pandemic because we were constantly talking to customers, Mike was always in touch with them that what they are doing, if everything is all right with them, building a relationship is very important. And that is why when they were sharing their problems with us that guys, we are not able to post an event to have any ideas, we heard them. And we started working on a model on a prototype. And our team supported in that. And from there onwards, we kept incorporating that feedback, made sure that whatever they’re listing it had the product had it. And from there onwards, we scheduled I think first day when we launched our demo, we received 50 calls from our previous customers to actually use the product. So from there, we knew that we had hit the goldmine and the journey is gonna be upward from your

Michael Waitze 24:51
No I was just gonna say it’s such a great feeling when you feel like you’ve hit on something good. Go ahead, go ahead Mac.

Mayank Banka 24:56
You know that so for example, used to work with a lot of Indian managers In companies, right, and they were affected because they were looking for solutions for their customers, which would be brands directly. We’d been doing that for the last previous five years before the pandemic and rightly mentioned when, you know, we had some prototype already an MVP, you could say, and I decided to send out an email to our customers that okay, you know, this is what we’ve been working on. And would you like to see, within the first 10 minutes, we received 50 calls, and we knew, you know, that this is probably something that’s going to work out now. We definitely don’t have to chat operations. Yeah, that was a eureka moment.

Michael Waitze 25:41
Can we get a really specific here, because I’m very curious about how this works, right? I’ve been to online events, most of them are terrible. And part of the reason why is because they don’t mimic real life. To me, I have this theory, that at some point, whether it’s online or offline, that they’re going to start mimicking each other. Right that I want to have these serendipitous experiences, right? If I go to an event, I can bump into somebody from high school that I haven’t seen in 30 years and just think, so I should be more honest, 40 years. And just just think, like, wow, what are you doing here? How did you get into this? Like, those types of moments are actually super cool, right? But that’s just an example of serendipity. When you’re running these, because I think about immersion all the time, right? Immersive events, I think about them all the time these experiences, right? Because life itself is super immersive, like if I walked into your office, and I bumped into somebody literally physically bumped into them. That’s an immersive experience. It’s not that it hurts. It’s just that now I have to do something. How do you use technology to mimic these immersive experiences these serendipitous experiences in a way that people feel like whether they’re participating online, or offline? They’re kind of in the same place.

Purnank Prakash 26:57
Right. Okay. So Michael, I think I need to tell you a little bit more about the summerlands journey to answer this question, perfect. So when we lost some Maru, it was pandemic all over the world. So more events were happening. So it was the need of the time to launch a virtual event platform. Right. So what we intended to do is that we will try to mimic the same experience that was happening in the offline events, while understanding that there are limitations, you won’t have that same face to face feeling. So we started working on a 3d model kind of review. So people were used to host their events in their own office, we were building the same office arena. So if employees are attending that event from their home, they’re feeling like oh, I used to be here. I used to sit here. This is my offices, reception. This is my office lobby.

Michael Waitze 27:49
Can I just jump in? And because this is important to me, too, as a geek, right? What is the back end technology that you’re using to build that

Purnank Prakash 27:57
we talk about the 3d designs is mostly blender and an Unreal Engine that we were using. Yeah, and on top of that, there was a lot of layers of different features that we use to provide light for networking that will break out to group chats, one on one conversations, so very basic features. Other than that, we had conferencing where you can run polls, quizzes, Q and A’s, you can raise hand, like how you can do it right now as well. And then we have different rooms altogether, there was a health test where you can go and talk to the receptionist, then there was another game room where you can play games with your peers, your colleagues. So we try to create that same immersive experience, when you go to attend an event. There are different rooms, you can go there, you can do this. So during the pandemic, it made a lot of sense. But I have to, I’ll be wrong if I say that, that the feeling of immersiveness that is there in the real life, if the platform was able to replicate because a different thing altogether, when you see that expression, when you are meeting someone for the first time, and an online call, you know exactly, you read the name, and then you actually connect with that person. Right. But at that time, it did a lot of like, it made a lot of sense for the people who are looking to host events. But as the market started opening up as the pandemic receded, we saw there was a surge in the in person events, people were thinking to come back to the market because of the obvious reason, because you can’t replicate that face to face event. But one thing which stood out with these event organizers was the data that used to get completely lost in the previous in person events that they started utilizing to the virtual events. There. Now there are two attendees who are talking maybe one attendee is talking to a brand and all of this data they are utilizing to make sense if this is a my potential customer or this is just a casual Walker in my event, right so they wanted to make use of that. Just make you want to add any point on that.

Mayank Banka 29:56
Certainly so another thing that will change No change for the industry, here’s the way we understand how technology could leverage could be leveraged in the events industry, right? Post pandemic, or never, during the pandemic, people started realizing that virtual events have no geographical barriers, you know, you could be hosting an event in LA, and you could see participation from Brazil, in Japan, Australia and any part of the world, right. And that is something that changed, the game changed the dynamics for the marketeers out there, especially for the, you know, outward facing events, which would be like summons conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, this is where, you know, we see hybrids coming in, in the near future. So, you know, we, when we talk about hybrid events, people sort of assume that, you know, I’m talking about a physical event and a virtual event, I need to treat them differently. These are two different events, but then they’re not what virtual events essentially can now become our slayer of technology to maybe start engaging the your audience even before the event starts.

Michael Waitze 31:10
Yeah, so how do you it was almost impossible to gather the data at a physical event? Right? Because you couldn’t watch everybody doing everything you didn’t know that Bob was talking to Lisa about this thing or that thing? You didn’t have any record of it, really, you may have had those internal event technologies where like you set up a meeting and stuff like that. But it’s very different than this, where it’s just constant it’s extreme of data getting, how do you then take that learning and bring it to the hybrid events so that even at the event, you can still gather some of that data that you can easily put it in quotes gather during a virtual event? Does that make sense?

Mayank Banka 31:50
Oh, absolutely. And I’ll give you a very straightforward example of the kind of virtual events that we hosted, our most of them were exhibitions and trade shows. So what that meant was, people would log in onto the platform, they would maybe read a session for some time. But what he organizers expected these days to do is to visit our idea of goods now. So let’s let’s take the global energy, for example. So you know, renewable energy has about 100 Different companies who are all setting up a virtual boot on the platform. Now, every time a visitor visits any of these boots, because it’s a virtual platform, because it’s a digital arena, you get a digital footprint of that person, you get to know how many boots this person has visited, what time is spent here? What kind of people Has he talked to what kind of documents he’s downloaded. And if he’s watched some products, if he’s sent a query, all of that is captured, right? What we did was we use the same experience to replicate that for in person exhibitions as well now, so one of the tests that we’re working on right now will be, you know, these smart badges, right, you see that people will participate in events, they wear these patches, what we’ve done is we’ve enabled them with QR codes. And every time I, you know, go to an event, I could just scan that QR to just checking that one. So the organizer knows that I’m at a bank. But besides that, we also have these digital scanners at, you know, all these booths, all the conferencing area in the food area. And that is why I’m able to now as an organizer and know that okay, what time is mild eating and what kind of boots Mike has visited, and whether I have attended the session or not. So all of that would help us ultimately personalize the experience for these visitors. So next time, when he wants to participate in any event, I would simply recommend that okay, you know, these are the books that you should visit, because it’s going to make a lot of sense to you.

Michael Waitze 34:00
So the QR codes are interesting, right? But they’re very they they require activity, they require me to do something they require my badge to be facing the right way, is there and again, I’m not a technologist. I’m just a geek, who loves technology. But is there like a way to have a very low power, very inexpensive kind of NFC chip in there that has something like that, that has data in it. So you can actually follow me around, of course, I give you the right to do this, when I join the event. And then I don’t have to actually do anything. But when I run into you, it knows who you are, it knows who I am and knows we were there for 50 and all this type of stuff, along with some of the other things. So you can gather some of that data. You’re both shaking your head.

Mayank Banka 34:42
Yes. So that and there are 10 different ways of doing the same thing. Michael, I just give you a very simple example of QR codes because I think that was, you know, easily understandable. But we could also do that to face recognition. Very If you’re going to a wedding, you just saw your face, you know, the organizer was you’re at the venue. And then you can go to different areas, people know that you could use all these NFC cards, you could use RFID. Because there are multiple ways of doing it. It’s just based on how convenient it is for the organizer, and how much they are willing to make it.

Purnank Prakash 35:23
So Michael, I think, in conclusion, what we can see here is that we need to be innovative, we have seen the face of events industry, where it was completely virtual. Now it is coming out of pandemic, and we need to apply that data layer that digital layer on top of the in person events. And while we are doing that, I don’t think we have reached that stage of the maximum innovation, I think we are in the process, a lot of things needs to be done. And I think smart badges as we said, so it’s just the name, it can have QR code can have NFC, but it is going to evolve to a certain extent that where maybe the conversation is also getting recorded. And people are getting the AI transcripts of the conversation they had while they were at the event. So possibilities are endless. And I think there are exciting times ahead. And in some audio, we are constantly thinking about ideas. And I think Michael, we need to be in constant touch with you for more ideas on subjects we are building.

Michael Waitze 36:19
I don’t really want to let you guys go because I have so many more things to talk about. But I want to ask you this, too. Are there? And I think the answer this is yes. But I’m just curious about the things you’ve already thought of. You’re building all this really interesting technology, right? And you’re you’re digging deeply into this use case, but you must know in the back of your mind, and the team must know and in your team conversations, right? Like it, I’ll put it in quotes again, in the writing room. You know, if you’re familiar with the way TV works, where people just sitting around sharing ideas about things that are potentially funny, but in this case, potentially productive. There must be other use cases where people think, you know, if we could install some of this technology here or there, then we could do this, like we could have an entire podcast. It’s an immersive experience where people feel like they’re in the same room and all the transcription, like all these things that you’re doing, you saw me change my background before because it was taking up too much bandwidth. But I could literally mimic the room you’re in if you gave me that file. Before we start, there are plenty of ways to do this. Do you see other untapped use cases as well that maybe other people haven’t considered yet for all the tech you’re building.

Purnank Prakash 37:24
So Michael, another thing sure is at the top of my head right now, because we focus mostly on the b2b marketing events, where brands are the ones who actually power the whole event, they actually provide the funds to post that event. So next thing that you’re going to see is that how brands are generating leads from these events. So, instead of just focusing on the networking and how people are connecting with each other, it is very important that you can make sense of the data that is being generated in the events for the brands that are participating. So Mike told about one use case where booths are having their digital footprint. Other than that, we can also start engaging the audience before the event starts with the brand by having matchmaking with like what is the what are you basically interested in before the event while you are registering you can get that data. So Michael is a person who is interested in this type of food, this type of products, this type of gadgets, and when you go to that particular event, it starts recommending the brands that are basically put makes it visible in which will make sense to you. So I think there can be an AI layer that will get developed which will make more sense for the brands to connect with attendees and then generate leads out of it. So this is one of the ideas I think we are actually working on and which will become big in the coming times.

Michael Waitze 38:49
Yeah, I cannot wait to go ahead

Mayank Banka 38:52
and point your so see when we talk about the payment industry, right? For NOC in a constantly you know, see where what are the areas of improvement and we probably divide the entire ecosystem into four parts. The first part being the registration aspect where your whole team is dedicated to just getting more and more registrations and then probably time converting them into attendance. Second aspect would be the conferencing bit where you bring in speakers have panel discussions. So how can you improve the experience for the speakers and for the audience there. It could be you know about making these sessions more interactive, it could be about making them more accessible to maybe the differently abled people out there. third aspect is probably the most critical one which is about networking, which is probably why people go and participate in things and finally the quote aspect is about revenue generation, which is, you know, sponsorship exhibitions or lead generation that is talked about so I think it’s a Very important that you either focus on one very specific area and see how we can add more value to any of these four verticals. Or you could try and you know, build something for one of the stakeholders, which could be a brand, which could be the audience or the organizers nature.

Michael Waitze 40:19
Okay, boys, one more thing. And again, this is just me just like freelancing because I find this super interesting. If you’re doing a hybrid event, right, so you talked before, before the pandemic about wearing goggles and stuff like that, and building these immersive experiences inside of goggles, right. And to be fair, I’ve I’ve spoken to Alvin Wong gralen, from HTC, about this, and I just threw it at him. And I said, when we get to the point where the goggles are no longer necessary, right, because they’re big, and nobody really wants to wear them. Where it’s just like a contact lens, you throw a contact lens, and inside that contact lens, there’s enough sort of visual sensory, but also enough technology, enough battery life that it mimics the experience of having the goggles on, then do you have this experience of whether it’s a virtual, whether it’s a virtual event for people that can’t attend, and the people that are at the physical event, because there are plenty of times where like, I can’t get to it, but I want to meet Bernanke in person, but we’re not there. But if I have the virtual experience without goggles, and craziness, which is too expensive, and just too much of a pain for me, but I feel like I’m at the event as well. Are you thinking about how to make that, too? I mean, I know it’s not today, but you understand my point, right?

Purnank Prakash 41:32
Definitely Michael, and I’m already there, like as you’re explaining that I’m wearing a contact lens that is kind of an AR class. And while I’m going around the fiscal event, I’m also seeing virtual avatars of the people who are attending the same event online. So that can be really crazy. And I think that can be the ultimate version of hybrid events. Yeah. Where there is no boundary dividing, if you’re attending it virtually or physically, there. But to be honest, like we have worked in the virtual reality and augmented reality field before and when we were working on the idea of Samar, we thought of building something where you can attend the event wearing the virtual reality headset. But again, the same thing, the cost of and use, the usability of the headset actually did not take some data. But I think going forward, the events might start to start happening and Metaverse I think all other people are doing it. But for Metaverse, it needs to be more. I think more internet penetration is required more accessibility is required. Because event has to be something which can reach to the even the remotest corner of the world. But yeah, as we see that getting covered, we will see such use cases coming up like AR glasses, metal walls, and all those sorts of things.

Mayank Banka 42:45
Okay to overcome the scalability challenges, for sure.

Michael Waitze 42:49
For sure. I just wanted to throw it out there because I think about

Purnank Prakash 42:52
but that’s a brilliant idea. Actually, Michael enjoyed listening this.

Michael Waitze 42:56
Yeah. Okay, boys, unless there’s something else you want to cover. I’m gonna let you go Purnank Prakash and Mayank Blanca, the co-founders of Samaaro. You guys were awesome. I really appreciate your time today. And as you continue to develop, I’d love to have you back on to talk about how things are, how things are changing and how things are evolving. I really appreciate both of your time today.

Mayank Banka 43:17
It would be a pleasure, Michael, thank you so much for having us.

Purnank Prakash 43:20
Thank you, Michael. It was a pleasure talking to you. I think there were some that we hadn’t explored, which we did today on the call, because then entrepreneurs we only talk about a business about a product. But this was the first step when we sat with someone to talk about our past life. What we are doing actually gives us a lot of perspective to reflect what we are doing at this moment. So thank you so much for giving this opportunity and definitely I think you have brilliant ideas and we will be in touch with you sharing what we are building at tomorrow. And if you like something, please comment on that.


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