PressPlay is a startup that works in the field of travel entertainment. They distribute tabs that are preloaded with content to make sure your travel is a breeze. You don’t have to depend on TV's provided in the bus, and wouldn’t have to resort to the choice of the majority to watch a particular movie. PressPlay is founded by two friends Anand Sinha and George Abraham, both of whom were country heads at Zomato before they quit their jobs and got together to start up PressPlay. Anand met George at his first job while working for DE Shaw, a hedge fund based in the US. They were also flat mates. Anand was getting bored at DE Shaw, and wanted the adrenaline rush of a startup, so he quit his job to join Zomato. Soon after, George followed suit. Both of them had a similar growth trajectory in Zomato as they rose to be country managers at Zomato; while Anand headed sales for India, George went on to take care of sales for the UAE region.
The itch to enter travel entertainment space began during this time in Zomato. Anand recalls,
“As the National sales head at Zomato, I had to travel a lot within the country and I soon realized that there was absolutely nothing to do on these long journeys. There was no form of entertainment. I have always hated having nothing to do while traveling, so creating a product that ends boredom for me was very exciting.”
Once he was convinced of his idea, Anand tried to test it out and get some feedback before he took a jump and quit his job, he says,
“While still working at Zomato, one weekend I booked myself on a bus to Amritsar. Bought ten tabs and loaded the tabs with five movies. When the journey started I pitched the tab for Rs. 100 to the passengers and sold out all the tabs within five mins. Got great feedback about the product and no resistance with respect to the extra cost. I knew then that the idea is executable and would definitely work in this country. This was in October 2013. I knew it was time for me to get going.”
Once a bus is about to depart from its starting point, an operator from PressPlay comes to the bus and pitches the product to the travelers. They have partnered with most of the content providers, including movies and games. Before the journey, they make sure their tabs are already fully charged. Once the travelers opt for it, they are charged Rs.100 for the entire journey. The tabs are attached with hardware which gets locked to the seat in front, making sure people don’t leave with it.
Anand says his biggest challenge was to make sure that the tablets remain safe, as they did not want to install the product permanently inside the buses, or even involve a third-party for securing the tabs, as it would involve a logistical overhead. After spending some time researching the product and perfecting the hardware, they designed everything in-house, which worked like a charm for them.
“Operators now come to us with huge pre-orders. Some even want us to install tablets on all 40 seats permanently. Got into contracts with 2 state transports already- Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. We started generating revenue from our first day of operations- that was a milestone in itself,” Anand adds, talking about their growth.
Talking about future plans, Anand says, “Not even thinking of an exit right now. Keeping our customers happy and entertained every day is the only goal right now. 5 years is a very long time in a startups life. Technology will change and so will our product.”