The young Indian today is independent in his thoughts and actions. He moves from city to city to build his career and establishes a new nest everywhere he goes. Therefore, as more and more young boys and girls shift base, they the whole process of looking for a place to live in like a hostel or paying guest accommodation is cumbersome. And this is exactly what Shashank Shrivastava, a 23-year-old entrepreneur realised while studying in college.Shashank says, “HostelSearch is a hostel listing, finding, reviewing and booking service, which also provides information about paying guest accommodations, rooms, service apartment etc. It lists residential accommodations and gives details about these places which are usually not available on other portals. We built the database through direct visits or calls to marketing representatives of hostels.”
Almost every college campus inIndiabubbles with fantastic and sometimes outlandish business ideas and to test these, there are many institutions that organise b-plan competitions. Shashank was determinted to start something of his own and he was furthermore inspired to do so after participating in a b-plan competition organised by the National Entrepreneurship Network. He started HostelSearch with a paltry sum of Rs 10,000, which he borrowed from his reluctant family.
A lull followed but the venture was propelled forward when it was selected by The Economic Times – Power of Ideas Competition. Subsequently, Amberish Chowksi (executive director of LNCT group) was ready to invest in Shashank’s venture and that is when HostelSearch took shape. With humble beginnings inBhopal, this venture has now spread out to 46 other cities inIndia. Having launched in July 2010, HostelSearch has a team of 15 people with a physical presence in seven cities inIndiaand they are now planning to expand acrossIndiaby hiring people on a full-time basis.
HostelSearch has a straight-forward revenue model wherein they earn from their normal listing, which starts from Rs 5000 per annum, premium listing and advertisements. A database portal like HostelSearch needs good visibility for becoming successful and on being asked about this, Shashank replies, “We promote and market our brand through bulk mails, SMS, putting up posters in colleges, companies, hostels and through online advertising. We are also planning to tie-up with companies, coaching institutes and universities to provide accommodation for their students.”
“The portal receives about 1500- 2000 unique visitors per day and around 200- 500 calls daily,” says Shashank. With a Facebook application including an ‘Accommodation Map’ and an android and iPhone application in the pipeline, HostelSearch has a bright future ahead.
Go to www.hostelsearch.in for further details!