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Manish Kumar, Surojit Nandy, Rajesh Singh, Abhay Kumar, Founders, GoByRoad

20th Oct 2009
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For those having travelled on Indian roads, there exists an undeniable familiarity of the not-so-convenient ways of information availability and bookings, if not the problem of dealing with unscrupulous agents. Especially on the Pune circuit, where buses have been a popular mode of road transport for both intra and inter-city travel.

Facilitating a solution for better and more convenient road travel have been four city youngsters- Manish Kumar, Surojit Nandy, Rajesh Singh and Abhay Kumar, all of whom apart from wanting to experience the sheer thrill of implementing solutions that will change the way people do things also decided to be small but noticeable contributors to society.

The result of their motivation has been – GoByRoad, a one stop solution site for all road related travel information, comparison, and bookings.

Conceptualized in 2005, the idea behind GoByRoad (GBR) is to enable users to be able to search for a host of options and solutions that one can avail of while planning one’s journey as also post, promote and discuss all about road travel. Also on offer are a host of commercial road travel products at the most competitive rates.

Elaborates Manish, the principal founder, “GBR will not only be a content posting and simply booking site. We want to add a lot of value behind whatever we do right from launching a host of user engagement features that will enable them to share their experiences and insights with other members to working on building some solid processes behind Cab Bookings – so that it’s safer, cheaper, and on-time.” And it is these value additions minus any bias towards fleet operators that the team believes will differentiate them from others.

The launch of their services in the Pune circle in early 2007 when few options for online bus tickets existed meant very large volume operations with the site recording 1 million hits a month within a few months. However GBR soon faced the hurdle most entrepreneurs arrive at sooner or later– funding. “One of our biggest mistakes was of not reaching out to VC’s early on in the game always believing that they may not be interested at this stage and we may need further work on building the end-state features and services before we approach them. Also we were too concerned about market validation of our concepts. Meanwhile some other companies cropped up and were quick to raise VC support and funding which helped them scale up the operations fast into other regions while we were struggling with our bootstrapped funds to grow” explains Manish adding that at one point they were scaling down to eventually close the company.

The issues were more than just of the finances. On the verge of kicking operations, Manish’s team walked out on him as they wanted to pursue another business model. At a time when a company looks to scale up and focus on operational gaps and business development, Manish faced the contrary of what he expected and yet stuck on also because he was the investor.

Encapsulating the traits of a true entrepreneur who has seen it all, Manish seems to have learnt his lessons and risen above it through the conviction that there is a fair amount of uniqueness in what he has been doing.

“GBR is the first site in India (and probably world over) dedicated to road travel services. We all travel by road on everyday basis, but there no goto site that will help us with the exact solution that we need for our on-road travel. GBR is an attempt to become a service aggregator to help customers with the correct available choices that will fit their specific need and this under-serviced segment is a significantly large market” points Manish who claims to think of customer testimonials as proof of appreciation of his work rather than awards.

By the same measure, he lets us know even though GBR is still running on minimalist mode and his regular job is what is helping him fund the company, the re-engineered solutions, cost structures and other processes is what will help them replicate their success across other major cities. 

Ending on an effectively motivational note, Manish says “Jobs are generally moderate and have ‘right fit’ candidates unlike startups that need the self-motivation, drive and passion to make things work. I’ve always wanted to create an organization where we’d be able to experiment with lot of alternatives to the current conventional practices and operating procedures. It is great to see that what one is doing is making some difference to the lives of our customers and employees in different ways.

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