The explosion of the Internet, including increasing mobility not only in socialization mediums and work options, has heralded vast communication and networking possibilities. This opening likewise heralded better opportunities for maintaining long-distance affairs. Through various social media like Facebook, WeChat, Instagram, Viber, Skype, Twitter, and others, meeting people from abroad and developing relationships even with individuals from separate areas of the globe and actually making such a relationship succeed holds more promise than ever.
However, marriage between, say, an American, while the partner, the partner’s family and friends are all the way in Chile, can be a wedding planning pain. What with the multiple cultural barriers to top off the basic language and monetary ones, organizing such an event and making it convenient for everyone from different nationalities involved can be a trying task to accomplish. In this, Javier Calleja and Guillermo Fernandez discovered a niche. After discussing their own international-marriage organizing woes, the management consultants formed their idea for their startup.
In February 2008, a few months after brainstorming and pooling their resources together totaling EUR 200,000 (USD 274,000), Calleja and Fernandez launched the marriage website, Zankyou. Zankyou offers an online wedding platform for planning, designing and organizing a gift registry or personal webpage for clients of various nationalities. The Madrid-based Zankyou is available in 10 languages and has been used by more than 250,000 couples in as many as 19 countries to organize their weddings.
The startup makes money by charging for creating an online registry where spouses-to-be have a central platform for all their loved ones and other wedding participants, bridging the gap between continents. Additional fees are also collected from services that allow guests to buy and send gifts or money to the marrying couple.
As convenient as this business idea is, it’s not the first to offer the same type of services. The founders confess that their biggest challenge has been to convert clients from already established wedding sites such as Wedding Wire and MyRegistry.com. The key to their success, according to Fernandez, is their competitive pricing strategy.
In 2013, Zankyou was able to break even at EUR 1.5 million with revenues estimated to reach EUR 2.5 million this year, making the wedding site profitable.