Apart from all the countless memories we take from college,perhaps the best ones are the time we spend with our friends before all of us move on to the routine of demanding jobs and higher education. They say travelling when you’re as young as twenty with a whole life ahead of you is the best way to be and what’s more to have your best-mates to accompany you at a trip where silence is not uncomfortable and happiness is contagious.
With that idea in mind, Sumit Shekhar started StudenTrip not so long ago so that college students across the country and plan trips to selected places in India without undergoing the hassle of contacting travel agents which are most likely to burn a hole in your pocket.
We, at Letsintern caught up with him in a brief chat where he talks about his journey of setting up the first of it’s kind student portal that offers travelling services and the nuances of entrepreneurship life. Read on.
Q) How did the entrepreneurship journey start? Who or what inspired you to start get into starting something of your own?
A) As a matter of fact, I love to travel. I’ve visited almost all of India. My hunger for adventure, travel and to top it all to take (and sometimes force) my friends to travel with me laid the foundation for this venture. My friends and juniors at ISM (Indian School of Mines) were my inspiration; they helped and motivated me whole-heartedly without expecting anything in return. I was also enticed by a similar idea firm, “Student Trip Europe”, which is doing a business of more than a million dollars now in just a few years, but that came later. I like to think that the idea for StudenTrip was born on my trip to Gangtok with my friends at ISM. The number of middle men involved in the whole procedure dumbfounded us.
Q) Tell us more about StudenTrip. What kind of services do you offer through it?
A) It is a non profitable venture. Like I said before, StudenTrip is meant exclusively for students so that they can get best planned trips at minimum cost without incurring the overheads of the several middlemen involved. Our initiative empowers students to customize their trips at cheapest possible rates through reliable trip planners who have undergone several Pre-Qualifying tests to conform to the quality standards.
Q) Share some information about the founders.What is your partnership strategy?
A) I am a Petroleum engineering graduate from ISM. All the members of student trip are employed in reputed firms right now or pursuing higher degrees from reputed institutes that corresponds with the idea of this being a non-profitable organization. This venture is being pursued as a hobby. Everybody involved loves doing what they are doing for StudentTrip. We are working with a team of IIT-ians, ISM-ites of course, and some people from IIMs. If an opportunity arises, we could club a similar venture to expand ourselves. If everything goes to plan we will have covered all of India and some international destinations as well in the coming years.
Q) How does bidding work?
A) There is no bidding involved. We have fixed rates based on hotel accommodation, car rent, food charges, government’s permission (Gangtok and Sundarban) and other miscellaneous to add to the minimal profit of the with trip planners. We directly consult different trip planners and then eliminate them based on their quality and the experience of our team. Based on the quotations we choose the one with lowest bid so that it can be economical for the students, then we subsidize that trip based on nationalized site concept.
Q) What was the vision mission of StudenTrip? What exactly you wanted to do when you started
A) College is ‘the’ time for travel.Care free living with friends is at highest epicurean levels. We just wanted college students to enjoy their college as much as we did, most importantly money should never be the question. We want to cover all of India in the coming years to provide student’s fun trips at most economical rates without compromising on the quality.
Q) What kind of difficulties you faced while starting your own venture?
A) Two kinds of difficulties that I faced most while starting my business were the following:
1. Man Power: I could not hire anyone due to financial limitations and had to do maximum work by myself or take help from others.
2. Financial Problems: Starting a firm requires lots of investment which does not have the guarantee of getting recovered in the future.
Q) Have you got any kind of funding? What is your user base over all?
A) No,I didn’t try to get it because at no point of time I did not want to run this firm professionally.Others’ stakes would make it a high profit making firm rather than sticking on idea of making it a budget firm. Our user base includes are all the college students across the country who like to travel to different places.
Q) What are your future plans? Or now what is your vision for next five years?
A) In near future I am going to add more places where trips are an absolute must; like Rishikesh, Manali, etc. I would like to connect StudenTrip with different colleges of India and would want it to work as great competitor against other trip providing firms or travel agents.
Q) You were studying when this started, how does it feel to be an entrepreneur at this age?
A) Yes, I was in 4th year when I started working on this entrepreneurial venture and I feel that college time is the best time to start any entrepreneurial venture;reasons being less liability, availability of more resources and high energy. Only element you lack is experience which you learn with the successes and failures that come your way.The best part is that you get the valuable chance of making mistakes in your and learn from them which is not always possible after college.As clichéd as it may sound, but life becomes more about what you should do rather than what you want to do, once you’ve passed out.
Q) What will be your advice/suggestion for new entrepreneurs for starting new business?
A) For an Entrepreneurship you need three things:
1. Idea and strategy
You will get first 2 things in college very easily which should be your priority before starting any start up, so if you have any concept or idea, do not just sit with it. You have nothing to lose at this phase of life so start working now; you never know you can end up with giving me a job.
The above article has been adapted from our partner Techaloo.com