We were featured in Malaysia SME Newspaper recently. Discover how Hooha, an online sports based services used Evenesis to supercharge their business. Here the excerpt of the article. Alternatively you can view the PDF copy here.
Brothers and avid sports fans Anand and Nithi Vegayathunam – unlike many local fans who provide insightful commentary from the confines of the couch – decided to act on their shared passion upon returning home more than a decade ago.
Both held comfortable senior management and sales jobs in the ICT field in Australia and then Malaysia, but succumbed to the entrepreneurial bug in 2000.
Now Anand, also known as The Orangeman, is a common fixture in the Four- FourTwo TV programme’s Bola@Mamak segment and the face of the brothers’ enterprises – Twenty First Century Sports (TFCS) and Hooha Asia.
Sports runs in the family as their father “literally started road running in Malaysia – he founded among the oldest run; the Malay Mail Big Walk and Standard Chartered KL International Marathon.”
Recounting their foray into sports consultancy when they founded TFCS, Anand said: “I looked at the local sports industry and found a vacuum in terms of professional management of sporting events.
“I wanted to organise ‘mini Olympics’ for large brands, and the first company I approached in 2000 was a telecommunication company, which had a few sports days behind them already.
“The timing was perfect, because they were looking for someone to organise their ‘mini Olympics’ and we were looking for a brand to believe in us,” he said.
For the next two years, TFCS was kept on for the Astro and Tanjung Games, while Shell, Guthrie and Philip Morris also had them organise their internal sports days.
Launched in 2009, Hooha Asia is a website where Asian sports fans interact with each other and ‘express their excitement’ in sports – where “The Fans are Superstars”.
Anand said, “We were wondering – how do we engage with the runners, pre and post-run, especially those newbies who are all pumped up about their first 5km race?
“So we captured memorable race moments and posted them online; and Hooha began bringing sports fans together.
“In addition, we were the first Malaysians to implement online registration for local running events. For the Siemens Run 2011, more than 5,000 runners signed up, of which 40% registered online.
“Upon registration, runners pay a convenience fee for online registration, as well as a RM10 free for delivery of the race kits to their doorsteps – an improvement on the norm where runners will take leave from work, and in some cases park their cars illegally before queuing up for their kits.
“That’s where Hooha started earning revenue. It is not rocket science, but it is innovative because no one else was doing it.”
In 2009, Hooha’s database numbered 3,000 – and currently stands at 37,000 members; with 8% of Hooha members coming from the Asia Pacific and Europe region. Big brands such as Shape and Reebok often come in for specific targeted marketing.
At any one time, the combined TFCS– Hooha team of 12 has to plan and manage six to seven events, each involving from 10,000 to 20,000 participants.
With the influx of new business opportunities, the brothers began using the Evenesis event management application, to rousing success.
Evenesis is a locally developed business application which is now made available in Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)’s BizApp Store, the one-stop shop for a range of professional and effective applications to boost productivity and better market businesses. Among the categories of applications available in BizApp Store are Sales and Marketing, Collaboration, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting and Customer Relationship Management.
Anand explained: “In revamping Hooha, we looked to leverage on business partners – and Evenesis is an award-winning event management software.
“Now, we have customised Evenesis for Hooha’s specific needs – it is called Hooha Online Module by Evenesis (HOME).”
They are currently using HOME for several running events such as the Somalia Walk for Hope, KFC Walk, Estee Lauder, Avon Fighting Breast Cancer Walk, BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon, and Astro Walk for Life, among others.
He remarked, “Evenesis helped the whole event planning process by a million miles. In comparison, a seminar is commonly opened to 1,000 people to register over a period of two months. For the BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon, 10,000 places were sold out in a mere three weeks – and HOME is robust enough to cope with this intensity.”
HOME’s customisations include elements such as race categories, T-shirt sizes, emergency contact person and even
built-in medical questionnaires (using evenSurvey).
He is also getting his team to plan events using evenCheck – Evenesis’ checklist feature. Other features include evenManager (manages multiple events), evenGuest (categorises guests) and evenInvites (creates invitation templates and blasts promotional messages).
He commented, “Evenesis is easy on all fronts – it is so easy for people to register using Evenesis, where at the back-end, it is easy for us to extract the database to prepare the race kit according to our needs, and payment is very accurate as well.”
“From a business point of view, we have always been a TM user. When we were small, we were running on Business Broadband. Two years ago, in tandem with our exponential growth, we switched to TM’s high speed broadband service, UniFi. It has served us well in terms of supporting online registration, and now in enabling HOME,” Anand said.
Looking ahead, Hooha plans to enter other countries in the region such as Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Laos. “When we expand throughout Asia, Evenesis (through HOME) will be there with us.”