In 2012, Shalini Nautiyal started Coffee Mug Ideas, a disruptive space that she hoped would generate the kind of ideas that solve unique problems for those living in urban cities. With 8 years of experience in the tech industry, Nautiyal picked up the critical skills she needed to start her own business. A first generation entrepreneur in her family, she left her job at Infosys in 2012, and there’s never been a dull moment since.
Over a cup of coffee, Nautiyal says, ‘We were thinking where else we can go after this, but were clueless. That is when I felt the need for a product that not only helps stitch plans by bringing nearby businesses together, but also recommends activities as per taste of the user.
‘Today to plan a day in city you have to browse multiple websites, there is tons of information available online, and the task to make sense out of it is totally left on the user. That is where we thought of filling the gap by reducing the clutter online.’
This is essentially the short story of Yipeedo’s conception. Nautiyal wanted her newest venture to reflect the fun, excitement and joy of planning your day.
‘We wanted a name that is catchy and resonates fun,’ adds Nautiyal, ‘that’s how the name Yipeedo was picked.’
With a full-time engineering team of 3 members, 2 freelance designers and currently 1 intern, Nautiyal is on the hunt for a technical co-founder.
When asked what sums Yipeedo, Nautiyal says, ‘Yipeedo is your friend in the city. A friend who can help with suggestions when planning a day out.’
At the moment, Yipeedo is just a web service, but Nautiyal is planning on unrolling the mobile app service soon. The idea is simple: there is a horde of information available online, whether it's cinema schedules, theatre programmes, restaurant reviews or club parties. Yet, they’re all in disparate sources. Yipeedo hopes to streamline your search queries on one platform.
Nautiyal says, ‘There is also a need to bring multiple transactions into one place for simplicity.
‘Users need to re-invent the wheel each time they decide to go online to plan their day. This needs to change.
‘Data of all sorts is available online, but converting that into information is left to the user.
‘Yipeedo takes a few fuzzy inputs from its customers and builds plans across the city. Users can view various options to choose from, and can complete transactions like booking movies, restaurant tables or order food from the same platform.’
Yipeedo is ambitious, but it’s also a necessity, at this point. Whilst its options to expand into various other areas of entertainment are numerous, it’s primary focus is the traditional food and entertainment industry. The organised restaurant segment in itself is worth 10,500 crores, still growing at a 16% rate, and is expected to double by 2017, a year not too far in the future.
‘Our target customers are people of age group 22-35 living in urban centers of India and globally. This segment loves going out for experience and discovery,’ says Nautiyal.
Yipeedo is lucky in that there are no strong direct competitors to challenge them in this market. It profiles a user's social presence on networking sites like Facebook, and compiles information tailored to suit the user's needs. As more information is generated, search recommendations and planning becomes more and more personalised.
‘The space of recommendations for activities and things to do in or around city is just evolving, there are many players with each one having their own take and flavour.
‘Our competitive advantage is the fact that we are focused on in-city activities and have included personalization at the core of the product.’
Like most consumer internet startups, Yipeedo currently relies on ad revenue generated on its website. Besides ad revenue, Yipeedo shares revenue with movie ticket bookings and food orienting/table booking, hoping to break into more revenue streams. Right now, Yipeedo is bootstrapped, friends and family investing into the product.
Says Nautiyal, ‘Yipeedo went live in February 2014, and we’re seeing very encouraging trends from people visiting and registering from various other cities outside of Bangalore as well. We have 33% returning customers, crossing 18k page views. In the last month we grew twice in terms of unique visits and registered users.’
After the challenges of convincing family, leaving a comfortable job, Yipeedo greatest task came with driving partnerships for data, especially when you’re convincing people Yipeedo is based on collaboration not competition. But, like all startup stories, there are regrets. Nautiyal says, ‘I regret the fact that I was not as bold enough to risk my job and career and start on my own earlier. I had a few ideas very similar to successful businesses today which I didn’t execute then as I never took it very seriously.’
Looking for angel investors, Nautiyal says she’s passionate about the development of women entrepreneurs, constantly trying to look for ways to share information and awareness with fellow women in business.
With a small start in a big city, Yipeedo has a city of millions to map, so users can finally use a one-stop destination for all their city plans.
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