Journey of Prateek Singh : Exploring Room by Hour concept with Brevistay


IndiStart: Could you please tell me something about yourself?

I’m Prateek Singh, a 2015 pass-out in B.Tech CSE from Amity University, Noida. I belong from Lucknow, a passionate coder, an employee turned into an entrepreneur.

IndiStart: I would like to ask you some questions about your company. How and when did you decide to establish your own company? Is this your first company as an entrepreneur or do you also have other entrepreneurial experiences?

The idea of Brevistay stuck in mind during our trip to Manali in October 2015. We hardly stay in the hotel room yet we have paid the rent of complete 3 days. A day before we check-out around 7 PM( we have paid the rent for next day till 11 AM) this idea of a room by hour stuck in my mind. I discussed it with my friends and we have started working on it in December 2015. Yes, it is my first company and I hadn’t experienced the taste of entrepreneurship before.

IndiStart: Which reasons were the most important for you, which helped going through on founding Brevistay? What were you doing before this? Why did you decide against the old way and went on your own?

Yes, I was working at European MNC when this idea of startup appears in my mind. Behind leaving the well-settled corporate job and doing a startup a motivation from someone I admire plays an important role. According to him, there are two ways to reach your destination, either by a bus or by your own car. If you are traveling by bus, you need to follow the rules. The second way is to take your own car out and go where you want. I had taken a bus (job) initially and didn’t like it much, so I decided to own a car (startup) and solve something which the society is in need of.

IndiStart: How did your life change since you founded Brevistay? Could you compare how a normal work day was for you before and today, after the company is founded?

It changed a lot. When I say a lot, I mean it. From sitting in a 2*2 cubicle and working 9 hours to accomplish someone else dream and waiting for 1st of every month to working for yourself 24*7 it changed a lot. You are doing it for yourself, making a brand from scratch, learning from your mistakes, improving yourself day by day. In a corporate life, I was doing a single task, a portion of the big project, you get a team to guide you help you and you need to concentrate on your work only irrespective of what others are doing.

In a startup we need to do everything, there were days when I distributed pamphlet’s in streets on busy Connaught Place. I have done sales, marketing, designing everything. Not only this handling a team of 5 people’s at a time, distributing the work, getting reports and improving day by day. It’s a ride, it’s an experience that cannot be explained in words. There were days when I was on cloud nine and yes umpteen number times we hit rock bottom and thought about shutting it down and getting back to corporate jobs.

IndiStart: Did you see problems in the society which you wanted to help change? If yes, please explain what and why. Why did you decide to go for this idea and not for any other?

People walking into a hotel and asking the receptionist to give them a room for few hours is something that raises eyebrows and questions. So, changing the mentality of an hotelier as well as of people was the challenge we took up to bring about a change in our society. We are trying to break this taboo that has developed over the years through Brevistay which provides accommodation for a short stay. We thought this is one thing which is related social taboo and can be a win-win situation for hoteliers as well as customers, so we thought about implementing this.

IndiStart: What were the reactions after you got your first customers?

Before starting with the development part we had done a survey with around 500 people’s and got a positive review from almost all of them about the novelty of the concept. Customers are saving their money by only paying for the number of hours they spent in a hotel room rather than paying for whole 24 hours. We are also providing flexibility to check-in anytime and customers are loving it.

IndiStart: How did your parents and family react, as you told them you want to be an entrepreneur?

It was tough to convince them earlier, leaving a well-settled job was not an easy decision to make but my parents and family understand my vision and supported me in this journey. I am lucky to have such supportive family beside me.

IndiStart: If you could, please tell me more about the good and bad experiences you had while putting Brevistay on its feet and get the whole project running. What lessons did you learn from these experiences?

There are many up and downs in this journey, one co-founder left the company mid-way other started pursuing it as part-time. It was tough in fact very tough to get going, we were losing hopes but I was not ready to give up. There were some good experiences too, VC’s were approaching us, we were getting recognition and Investor’s started showing interest in our startup. So it’s a roller coaster ride all over. Lessons I learned through my journey is we should keep on trying. Be prepared, your co-founder will ditch you, your projections will go wrong initially, every Investor is not worth your time and be ready to say no whenever required.

IndiStart: Do you think that you make a positive impact on society?

We are changing mentality of not only hoteliers but also society through providing room on hourly basis. Booking a hotel room just for a couple of hours is still a taboo in our country and we are trying to change it. Couples on local id were not able to book rooms in hotels, but there is no law which prohibits unmarried couple’s to stay in same room irrespective of the city they belong to. We are able to educate hoteliers on this part and we are educating our society for progressive changes. This is creating a huge impact on society and they are changing these days.

IndiStart: Could you comment on “entrepreneurial trends”? Do you think today there are more/fewer entrepreneurs compared to 10 years ago? How would you explain this development? What is it going to look like in the future?

I am very happy to see this “entrepreneurial trend”, with this trend we are creating more jobs in our country, people are coming with innovative ideas these days and which is helping society in positive ways. People are more attracted to entrepreneurship these days than 10 years ago. They are happy to take the risk now and many of them are doing better than they might have done work for some company. This development is interesting but there is one alarming situation with the startup these days, they are more focused on customer acquisition than retention. In the world of competition, there are many startups working on single idea and customer is clever enough to go with the company providing more discount. This discount war is making the whole ecosystem bad. This is the reason why most of the companies fail, the success rate of startups is less than 2% which made me think there is something wrong what we are doing. Startups should start focusing on customer retention than acquisition. In future, I’m seeing a progressive country with less unemployment.

IndiStart: What tips would you give me as a young entrepreneurial individual? What are the things I must keep my eyes open for?

Chase your dreams, they do come true. Stay focused and keep on targeting bull’s eye, you will achieve success. It takes time, be patient but you will get the fruit of your hard work.

Fear will try to cheat you out of best things in your life. Don’t let it.

IndiStart: If you could, would do you everything as you did with your StartUp or would you change certain things? If yes, what? Would you even go for a different field of work than being an entrepreneur?

I have learned one thing in my journey till now, entrepreneurs need to be stubborn. Stubborn with their vision, if they believe in their vision they need to keep chasing it. You can change the path to reach the destination, but your vision should be clear in your mind. I don’t know if I could have done anything better with my life than being an entrepreneur.

Featured Image courtesy: Facebook

(As submitted to IndiStart.com. If you are interested to publish your StartUp story or blog related to startups, please check in here:- Submit StartUp Story)

SaleBhai.com – fills market gaps, offers what diaspora hearts desire


SaleBhai.com – fills market gaps, offers what diaspora hearts desire

The introduction of new-age technology and globalisation have greatly affected the way people look at life. The prospect of a better future, education, job, and lifestyle have taken people from their native places to settle in big Indian cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata,and Ahmedabad or abroad. This trend has made India the country with the highest rate of migration as per UN records.

The latest Census report also suggests that 4 out of every 10 Indians migrate to a different location in search of a better life. This demographic shift resulted in mixed population in all major cities and in turn created a changing trend of demand for regional goods. The lack of authentic supply of regional specialities formed a gap that most migrants had to suffer from.

Then there was light

SaleBhai.com was formed to fill the market gap and bring smiles on the faces of all diaspora communities. With the widest range of authentic regional products, the platform has all that is needed to take customers back to their roots. For people looking to try something new, this Gujarat-based startup soon became a trusted website for discovery of original regional specialities of India.

From the hottest chilli of Tezpur to the best peanuts of Bharuch and from 100% organic dry fruits of Kashmir to mouth-watering halwa of Tirunelveli, buyers can expect to get all that their hearts desire and more on this unique platform.

What is SaleBhai?

A unique Indian ecommerce website, SaleBhai offers customers original regional specialities sourced directly from their hometowns. People looking to #DiscoverTheOregional India will also find this site useful and exciting. The target is to provide all 17 diaspora communities living in big Indian cities and abroad everything they miss from their hometowns.

The brand offers delicious food items such as baked treats, dry fruits, sweets, chocolates, pickles, beverages, and snacks; exquisite paintings, handloom goods, high-quality handicrafts, herbal & wellness products, puja items, and loads of festive and seasonal products such as mangoes, litchis, modaks during Ganesh Chaturthi, prasad for Shivratri and Janmashtami, jalebi-fafda for Dussehra, and more.

The site currently showcases around 9000 original handpicked items from 300 reputed sellers in 100+ cities. The product selection depends on factors such as migrant requirements, GI tag, uniqueness, and popularity. Once a product gets selected, top three sellers of the concerned region are cherry-picked before getting it on board the site to ensure originality and quality without the slightest of doubt.

The right mix

2015 saw the launch of SaleBhai by Vishwa Vijay Singh, Purba Kalita, and Pramod Rao to meet the requirements of the people migrating within India and abroad. As friends who came together after pursuing different careers, the co-founders discovered the common desire to do something extraordinary.

While Singh brought 15 years of experience in marketing and sales, Purba had worked for 12 years as a journalist (TOI) and with the core team that launched Flipkart, and Rao offered his IT skills that helped him develop several software products for international clients.

This perfect amalgamation of different but critical talents gave the core team the perfect shape it needed to begin this special journey.

Vishwa Vijay Singh handles the overall functioning of the company with direct involvement in marketing, logistics, and product categories, while Purba Kalita plays the vital role of handling the overall business communication, content requirement, and Pramod Rao setup the website from scratch with his technical prowess.

Their early lives were mostly away from their native places with parents having transferable jobs and only got to visit their hometowns during vacations. The annual visits continued as they began their professional lives and they kept missing their roots and homeland-special festivities, food, traditions, and customs. It is this longing that brought them together and resulted in SaleBhai.

Going international

The rising popularity and growing demand from customers inspired the company to start international shipping. SaleBhai now caters to the requirements of customers from 195 different countries with special focus on US, West and South Africa, Middle East, Australia, and UK. A perfect site for corporate gifting, the platform is also the best place for foreigners to experience the real India.

Featured Image courtesy: Facebook

(As submitted to IndiStart.com. If you are interested to publish your StartUp story or blog related to startups, please check in here:- Submit StartUp Story)

Steamy Mugs – Live Your Dream…Follow Your Passion.


Do you know the best feeling in the world is getting paid to do what you love?

But, how many of us are actually blessed with such a job?

Each one of us have a dream or a passion for something, I had a dream to open up a Tapri, a standard term used in Mumbai where people can buy Tea and Coffee. I was passionate about preparing tea.

You may be surprised knowing how come someone is passionate about preparing tea. I was not only passionate about preparing tea, but also I am a total tea and coffee addict.

Since my childhood, when I was just 12 or 13 yrs old, I started preparing tea for my family, they were very much impressed with the tea that I had prepared for them, and then it became my regular routine to prepare tea. First for my family then relatives then friends, everybody started appreciating me and that appreciation was the seed that I had planted on my head from the young age.

I still remember those nights when I use to discuss with my younger brother about my dream of opening up a tapri. It’s been more than 12 years and still the talks remain afresh.

At that time I was just dreaming about pursuing my passion since I was studying and I had no money either. I thought once I will complete my graduation I will start it, but, when I completed my graduation in Computer Engineering, I started thinking about the pain and efforts that my parents had put both emotionally and financially in helping me in completing my engineering, I had no option but to start hunting for a job instead of a place for opening up my dream venture. I got into digital marketing since I was very bad in coding, after working for more than 3 years, I thought this is the right time to pursue what I love, I started working on my dream venture, now it was no more a tapri, but, a standard tapri, where everyone and anyone can come to have a cup of tea and coffee.

This time I started hunting for a place to open up a café. Finally, I got a place in Chembur, with a budget that I had in mind.

Since it was completely bootstrapped, I had to save money wherever I can from interiors to machines, I tried to save money wherever I can. The day finally arrived, 6th March 2016, the opening day of my dream venture ‘Steamy Mugs’, with a tagline ‘…filled with goodness’, I ensured my café delivers everything that is filled with goodness.

We have some great book collections for our customers who like to read books, Free wifi if someone is interested in working from my café, Soothing music with a decent ambiance.

We completed 1 year and just learning loads of things in this new path I have chosen to travel. Within this 1 year, what makes me happier is the testimonials that my customers give after having something at my café.

These testimonials are the most precious thing that I am going to cherish forever, I really don’t know where this new path will lead me, but, I will not regret when I get old and I will be always glad I had the courage to open up something that I had always dreamt off.

I just believe in one thing, we just got one life to live, do what you love, live for what you love.

Follow your passion, we just need to take the first step in pursuing our dream, ensuring you are giving your 100% at what you do.

Be Passionate Forever.

-Prem Vellaiyan

Featured Image courtesy: Facebook

(As submitted to IndiStart.com. If you are interested to publish your StartUp story or blog related to startups, please check in here:- Submit StartUp Story)

This startup is transforming the dining experience and here’s how


Do you remember last time you went to a restaurant and came out cribbing about the service or the time you waited 20 minutes for your bill to arrive? Waiting is an eternal battle that we’ve been fighting all our lives. From high end restaurants to a local cafe, the story somewhat remains the same.

It often happens that you have to wait for the restaurant menu or for someone to explain to the portion size of a particular dish or what exactly goes into the dish. The problem doesn’t end here and since misinformed staff members add to the discomfort. The helpless waiters aren’t able to explain the dish that they are serving. Ordering food becomes a task in itself and the fine dine evening you planned to unwind yourself from a busy day, ends up grinding your gears.

Introducing the concept

This is what pushed Smit Nebhwani (CEO, Voolsy) and Amrish Patel (President, Voolsy) to develop an app that ends your wait, answers your queries and enhance the dining experience. They created Voolsy to enable both restaurants and diners get a taste and redefine fine dining in India. Voolsy was created with a clear vision of reform the way things worked in a restaurant and making the overall dine out experience better than ever.

According to Smit Nebhwani, “Voolsy is an app that leverages technology to deliver a seamless dining experiences while keeping things simple for both the users and the restaurants. The application removes all the variables from the equation, transforming your phone into your experience partner.”

The app enables you to browse the restaurant menu, customize and place an order and even pay for the order without having to wait for a waiter to attend to you. Voolsy enabled restaurants are more organized since delays are removed from the process and order tracking and payments are more intuitive than ever making the overall dine out experience an enhanced one.

The Driving Technology

Voolsy taps into the potential of iBeacon technology and adds a new dimension to the overall dining experience. While iBeacons have been around for a while, this is the first time that they have been integrated with the restaurant sector. iBeacons are one of most advanced technologies introduced by Apple which transforms a regular restaurant to an iBeacon restaurant. It enables efficient order tracking and virtual interaction with customers in real time.

The Solution

The digital menus with Voolsy are like a walk in the park. All available customizations are displayed alongside the description of the dish and a beautiful image that shows the actual dish.

This simplifies the process for both the user and the restaurant while keeping users engaged at all times. No more delays in placing orders or waiting in long queues for your table to be ready. Voolsy also allows you to pay via the app and remembers your order. A true companion for the foodie in you, this app allows you track the last time you were at a restaurant and helps you remember the dishes you loved, leaving room for you to try anything that you find interesting. Moreover you can rate the dish you had at the restaurant via the app helping restaurant owners and this helps in understanding diners better and appreciating their efforts.

Current Status & Future Plans

Currently Voolsy operates in three cities – Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad and has enabled over 700+ establishments to deliver a relaxed & waitless dining experience to their diners. Voolsy plans to launch itself in Gurgaon, Pune and Delhi shortly.

True to their claim of providing a seamless and trouble-free to their customers. Voolsy has managed to generate a whopping 3 crore. They have provided restaurants with new dimensions to enhance the way they deliver experiences to the customers by giving them seamless dining experiences.

Voolsy is a remarkable way of looking at everyday problems that diners face and their problem-solving approach will work wonders in the future for the restaurant industry and the experiences they deliver.

This particular iBeacon app is one of its kind in India and one of the first to leverage iBeacons in India to enhance experiences delivered at cafes and restaurants.

Featured Image courtesy: Pixabay

(As submitted to IndiStart.com. If you are interested to publish your StartUp story or blog related to startups, please check in here:- Submit StartUp Story)

Making reading affordable by renting books out


Bookthisbook is an online book rental platform that gives its customers a choice from a wide variety of rental books. The readers get new as well as used books with the facility of a vast catalog, fast and reliable delivery and convenient online shopping.

The user benefits from a safe and secure online ordering experience along with the convenient payment option of cash on delivery. We deal in books belonging to various categories such as fiction, non-fiction, management, cookery, religion, astrology, history, children etc.

Book readers will also find the idea of renting books to read as appealing as they won’t have to shell out the entire cost of the books to read them. Reading books these days has become quite a daunting task.

There is never enough time to read all that we want to. A few years back, if a person wanted to read a book, all they had to do was go to the nearest bookstore or library and read the book they liked. In today’s world, there are so many options available to readers that some of them who want to take up reading are overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices available.

This causes many of first-time readers to back down from reading. Even the regular readers find it difficult to keep up with the influx of books in the market. We at Bookthisbook noticed this dilemma and after many hurdles started this company with the sole purpose of making book reading easy and affordable.

Taking into account all the problems noticed, we started Bookthisbook keeping in mind that simplicity and affordability are two things that book readers look out for. If we are able to provide this to our users, then we help them in enhancing their reading experience. Giving out books on rent is one way to increase the affordability of books whose cost is quite high.

Also, since the users are not paying the entire cost books, they can try out books of different genres that they would usually read. This will also help publishers increase their customer base.

Featured Image courtesy: edit From website screengrab

(As submitted to IndiStart.com. If you are interested to publish your StartUp story or blog related to startups, please check in here:- Submit StartUp Story)

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