Looking back on the Egyptian economy in 2017, it was a year of feeble growth estimated at 4.1 per cent in the FY2016/2017. But for the everyday citizen, 2017 will most likely be remembered as the year spent wallowing in the aftermath of 2016’s Egyptian pound floatation. Despite the economic challenges, e7gezly, a digital ticketing start-up greeted 2018 high-spiritedly, celebrating not only working their way past the bottle neck, but also achieving a 100 per cent total revenue increase in 2017.
“The numbers we achieved [this year] are unprecedented in the history of the company,” says Fady Younan, e7gezly CEO.
Among the many feats which resulted in the company’s booming figures is expanding e7gezly’s ticketing services to cater for five more venues than 2016. This earned them 690 per cent more events, generating 69 per cent more tickets, and resulted in a 54 per cent more events sales.
This flux resonated online seeing 1498 per cent more page views that were generated by 620 per cent more users, 65 per cent of whom are new.
“This success can be attributed to external and internal factors,” Younan continues. “But the strongest driver was the fascinating amount of dedication each of the 14 team members put into their work.”
The Power of Teamwork
In light of the economic challenges, and with little to no room for monetary incentive in the form of raises, e7gezly stands as an inspirational example of how creating a positive workplace environment can turn a company around.
Slowly overhauling the workplace, Younan who took over e7gezly in Q4 of 2016 gave his team an environment to belong and look forward to – one where consistency, a sense of family, understanding, flexibility, trust, and no workplace politics are the founding pillars.
“People responded to that quite positively. They trusted [the management], and believed the company goals to be their own,” says Younan. “In order for change to happen, the team had to believe that change was going to happen; they had to have the zeal to be part of it.”
At the turn of 2017, the team was steadfast on becoming a leading digital ticketing provider in Egypt. A new-found ‘go-getter’ spirit dominated e7gezly, prompting them to shoot for ‘A lot more’ – more events, and more than just events – which now stands as the slogan of the revamped brand.
The team did not wait around for opportunity to present itself. Instead, they went knocking doors, presenting venues with a set of fresh, smart ticketing solutions that benefited both retailers and end users. “Our end-to-end ticketing solutions are very smooth to operate, starting from creating an event, managing its sales, check people in seamlessly, and finally having all its reports” explains Younan.
To facilitate the smoothest purchase experience possible, a regular event could be simultaneously sold across various channels including the venue’s website, e7gezly website, the venue’s box office, call centre, and soon, a phone application that is about to be launched. With each purchase, the customer receives an e-ticket that is verified at the entrance through a QR code. Nonetheless, paper tickets are made available upon request.
Building Momentum and Embracing the Thrust
By the end of 2016, e7gezly was the ticketing service provider for al-Sawy Culture Wheel. One year later, the team had succeeded at adding five more venues to the list: Darb 1718, ROOM Art Space, el-Geneina Theatre, Diva Theatre, and the most celebrated, Cairo Opera House.
“The deal we secured with the Cairo Opera House towards the end of October was a case in point that the digital ticketing market taps into not only young, fresh venues, but well established ones that are yet to go digital,” says Younan. Despite the rising need for going digital, e7gezly was still keen on adding 10 outlets for offline bookings to cater for users who still struggle with the online services, and are planning to enlarge this number significantly.
With Cairo’s oldest and most esteemed arts and culture hub under their belt, e7gezly managed to garner a solid reputation for efficiently managing big venues and events – a reputation that landed them one of their most celebrated deals as the official ticketing portal for RiseUp, Cairo’s biggest entrepreneurial event.
Staying faithful to their slogan A lot more, e7gezly’s ticketing services extended to a lot more events than just concerts. The events categories now include music, art and theatre, sports, fashion, business and cinema.
With more involvement in the market, it was hard not to notice the effect of stability on events’ growth across all categories. Not only are new venues opening up to host such events, old ones are expanding too. “The purchasing power may not be at its peak, but there is demand,” Younan remarks. “The key is to stay vigilant for high demand events.”
Other services that e7gezly ventured into include developing booking portals for several cinema theatres including City Stars, Mall of Arabia, Cairo Festival City Mall, and Porto Marina, besides collaborating with al-Massa Art Production to bring Cinemawy.com to life – a one-stop shop for cinema booking across Egypt.
Working towards A lot more sure did earn the team a lot more. “The digital ticketing market is a bit unstructured, but according to our calculations, our market share in the ticketing industry easily doubled,” Younan says.
Like wild fire, e7gezly spread through the market, not only catching up with competitors, but also assuming a leading position. Confident enough in their position in the local market, the next sensible step was expanding to regional markets – a decision that gave birth to TKTD, e7gezly’s new entertainment marketplace.
Will the young, fresh company’s regional penetration in 2018 be as progressive and aggressive as 2017’s local feats? Only time can tell.