Interview Startups

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)

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