As students at Ashoka University, a university located in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India, a young Ethiopian named Sifen Tilahun and his friend were eager to explore Delhi, the bustling capital city of India.
However, the distance between their campus and the city, nearly 50km, left them feeling discouraged, and they returned to their dorm without experiencing what the city had to offer.
Back in their dorm, Sifen and his friends realized that the problem wasn’t the lack of events or platforms, but rather the lack of information. They had no idea where to look for information on events or activities in Delhi.
Not being able to find similar platforms in Ethiopia, the team decided to take matters into their own hands. They wanted to create a platform that would help people easily discover and plan events and activities in Addis Ababa. With this vision in mind, they set out to create an event planning and analytics platform that would change the way people experience events in Ethiopia.
Work on the app they called Mn Ale Addis began in 2019 while they were attending their classes in India. Incorporated in Ethiopia under Umoja Technologies, the app was launched in January 2022.
Mn Ale Addis serves as an event booking and ticketing application that allows attendees to easily book their tickets and receive them right away.
The platform caters to a diverse audience, including organizers, attendees, and event promoters. Mn Ale Addis enables these groups to create, publicize, advertise, and sell event tickets online. In addition, it offers a range of features to help organizers compile and organize participant data, process registration fees, and create and manage attendee lists.
These features can inform organizers’ future event marketing strategies, helping them better understand their target audience and improve their events.
Mn Ale Addis aims to make event planning in Ethiopia easier and more accessible. The platform’s innovative features are intended to change how people plan and attend events.
In addition, the application offers a variety of features that display events occurring in the city, sorted by categories such as arts and music. Attendees can easily search for their preferred event from the app. Once they select an event, users can click on “Buy Ticket,” select a payment method and receive an electronic ticket, which can be downloaded.
Sifan Tilahun, Samuel A. Kebede, and Zablon Dereje are the cofounders behind the two-in-one platform that combines e-ticketing and data analytics.
Sifen holds a BSc in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship from Ashoka University, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Media Studies. Zablon is the development lead and is currently studying at the HiLCoE School of Computer Science & Technology in Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, Samuel received his BSc in Economics and Finance from Ashoka University and currently serves as the COO at MN Ale Addis.
“Our technology is largely driven by data science, which enables us to use data to assist small enterprises and event organizers in making precise and effective business decisions,” Sifan told Shega.
Globally the online event ticketing market was valued at $28 billion in 2021 by Straits Research and is expected to reach $52 billion by 2030. Ticketmaster, an American ticket sales and distribution company, that gives users access to millions of live event tickets making it easy to buy, sell, transfer, and get in is one of the biggest names in the arena.
According to Tilahun, Mn Ale Addis has partnered with 90 small and large event organizers so far. The business offers various bonus value propositions, including online registration and invitation verification for both small and large event organizers. Private and free events are currently the company’s primary target markets.
Initially, the company operated on a commission basis while providing free services to promote its brand. However, they eventually switched to a service charge per event, charging users for services such as electronic invitations, registration, and verification. Around 40 people have used the application to buy tickets.
“We believe that the event industry has not been fully utilized in terms of data analytics, and we are eager to find ways to help event organizers and small enterprises collect and analyze data,” said Sifan.
The app, which also has a vendor/organization version, is currently inactive as the team is adding features to it.
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Amole, Dashen Bank’s mobile banking platform, has emerged as a frequent and prominent player in digital ticket sales in Ethiopia. The app has been the exclusive platform for purchasing tickets for many of the big concerts held in the capital.
Telebirr is also expanding into the ticketing business, with its mobile money platform digitizing entrance ticket sales for holiday bazaars held at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center. These bazaars can attract up to 500,000 attendees, giving the move a massive impact.
This trend is gaining momentum in Ethiopia’s startup ecosystem, with other firms such as Eth Tickets also entering the ticketing business.
Despite the existence of such platforms, the problem with the event market has not been fully resolved, and there are often long queues of people waiting to enter venues.
“The failure to tackle the event market problem is mostly due to event organizers’ reluctance to legitimize ticket sales, poor data usage habits, and financial organizations’ monopoly on the ticket market,” Sifan told Shega.
Mn Ale Addis aims to address these changes and take another step towards modernizing the event market in Ethiopia while opening opportunities for small enterprises and event organizers along the way.
(Featured photo credit- Tasete of Addis )