“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
This was perhaps what inspired all those 90+ people to turn up on a gloomy Saturday morning, despite the last minute venue change and that too at a not-so-centrally located space – Yahoo Office at CV Raman Nagar, Bangalore. The theme of the month – ‘Building global travel startups in India’. No wonder, so many aspiring entrepreneurs, wanting to catch the trade winds in their sails, were there to get their monthly dose of motivation and ‘gyaan’. We couldn’t have asked for a better match of the audience profiles and the event – majority of them were keen on learning more about the travel industry.
Here is a quick roundup of the event:
1. Demo of wish-listing service – TripThirsty.com – By Kingsley Joseph.
First on stage was Kingsley Joseph, one of the co-founders of the six months old startup TripThirsty.com. TripThirsty helps one connect with like-minded travellers and explore places together. Kingsley gave the audience a glimpse of TT’s new wish-listing service, launched recently. With this new service, they aim to provide a single platform to aggregate all the events happening in and around Bangalore. When asked about the nature of events that will be listed, he was quick to respond with this– ‘any event that will make you sweat and feel thirsty’.
Good Luck with the new TripThirsty, Kingsley!
2. Speaker 1 of the day – Prateek Sharma – MyGola.com
Next up was Prateek Sharma from MyGola. He traced the journey of MyGola from conception to implementation and the various hurdles that he faced on the way. He briefed the audience as to how MyGola moved from a service centric to a product centric solution. He gave some extremely valuable advice to the aspiring entrepreneurs in the crowd. For example, he spoke about the two voices in a person’s mind – The passionate voice and the cynical voice and emphasized the importance of listening to both the voices. He also mentioned the need to work in the industry for a while and understand the market to be successful as an entrepreneur. Here are a few more interesting titbits that he gave away:
- “It’s very important to validate one’s idea. Talk to your wife (spouse) first!”
- “Don’t try to plunge full-time before validating your idea.”
- “It’s good to maintain a blog and get some audience for your business.”
- “Money is secondary. Be excited about your industry and idea.”
When someone in the audience asked him the logic behind the name ‘MyGola’, Prateek made a candid confession – they just didn’t care when they named it! They just had to start up and get going!
Do check out mygola.com and start planning your trip today!
3. Demo of tech online learning platform – CodeLearn.org – Ashish Sharma
The next session was a different one, given that the theme of the day was travel. It was a demo by Ashish Sharma of the tech startup in the learning domain, CodeLearn. CodeLearn provides online training for web application development using the Rails stack. Ashish shared his experience starting up CodeLearn and bringing it to where it is today. He briefed the audience about the highs and lows faced – being on the front page of hackernews, the great initial traction, the angel investments coming in, the experiments done and the mistakes made. Overall, it wasn’t just a demo, it was a dose of reality for the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience.
Ashish, HeadStart wishes you good luck!
4. Speaker 2 of the day – Niranjan Gupta – CEO-Founder, Trip38.com
By the time CodeLearn’s demo ended, it was time to usher in the start speaker of the day – Mr. Niranjan Gupta, CEO and Founder, Trip 38.com, a post-planning trip organizer. He gave a stellar talk about his 30+ years of travel industry experience and entrepreneurship journey, leaving the audience totally bowled over. He spoke in brief about the different ventures that he had founded – ChaloTravel, Via, magicrooms.in and the most recent Trip38. He reiterated the fact that no entrepreneurship journey is rosy. He also talked about the transition from being a traditional travel agent to an online service provider and the challenges he had to face. Quoting him,
- “Startups have to learn endurance. It is a marathon, not a sprint.”
- “Even MakeMyTrip and Yatra had to put up a great fight before they could make it big. MakeMyTrip was loss making for almost 11 years!”
- “There is still so much to do in the travel industry – so many unsolved problems”
- “When you pursue an idea, ask yourself this question – am I solving a pressing problem?”
The talk not only answered quite a few questions, but also presented the audience with more questions to ponder over.
5. Spark the Rise Lightning Pitch 1 – Malini Gowrishankar – F5 Escapes
The talks were followed by lightning pitches and first up of stage was Malini Gowrishankar of F5 Escapes, an alternate travel company, specializing in women-only travel. Malini made a lightning pitch and wrapped up the same with an explanatory video about F5 Escapes.
6. Spark the Rise Lightning Pitch 2 – Kavita Arora, India Travel Collaboratory
The next lightning pitch was by Kavita Arora, of India Travel Collaboratory, a new community for travel businesses to meet up and share notes. She organizes monthly meets and other activities and is looking to grow the community to include as many travel businesses as possible.
The concluding part of the session included a few random pitches by Rajesh Reddy of Exploreall, Jyothi Nair of Beautiful Journey and Prashant of Tripfairy. This was followed by a networking session that broke all our previous records in terms of time – People were around for over 2 hours to network and discuss things with other people from the travel industry.
Over all, it was a superb Startup Saturday as usual in Bangalore. Do join us for our next event on ‘Big Data’ happening on 12th October!