“After quitting my job, when I told my family and friends that I would be a full time entrepreneur at Hostelnpg with my husband Balakrushna Swain, we got responses like, ‘Are you guys mad?’, ‘You have a kid now, think about your future,’” shares Biswa Pujarini Mohapatra, CEO and Co-founder of Hostelnpg, a marketplace for low budget and entry level accommodation in India. Pujarini strongly believes that there isn’t a particular time to startup. “Startup when you think you have a great idea to start with; for all you know, that idea might solve a problem for someone,” she explains.
Pujarini was born and brought up in a middle-class family in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Holding a master’s degree in computer application from ICFAI University, Hyderabad, she has over 10 years of experience in the IT Industry. Having worked with renowned tech firms like Microsoft, Invesco and HCL in sales, finance and social media, Pujarini is a tech enthusiast. “I am passionate about what I do, I enjoy every minute of life, I never care about what people think of me and I believe in the future,” she says.
Motivation behind Hostelnpg
Pujarini started her career with a startup that helped her learn the ground rules of entrepreneurship. After learning the ins and outs of starting-up, Pujarini and her husband Balakrushna first thought of starting an online grocery store but dropped the idea since they felt e-commerce was still on the back-burner then..
The thought of starting a budgeted accommodation provider came to them in 2005, but the execution could happen only in 2013. After completing her Masters in 2005, Pujarini faced a lot of problems looking for a budget place to stay in while searching for a job in Hyderabad. The need to start Hostelnpg was felt in 2012 when a few of her friends also faced similar problems. The couple had, by then, accumulated enough finances to own a company. Thus the idea of founding a budgeted accommodation provider turned into a reality and Hostelnpg came into being.
HostelnpgHostelnpg is a budgeted and entry level accommodation provider marketplace that gives people a relief from heavy advance amounts or deposits. Categorised under the business-to-customer (B2C) model, it provides hostels, paying guest facilities, service apartments and guest houses. The company also provides a review of facilities, food menus, localities and ratings with online booking facilities.
The portal also provides a proprietary marketing and sales platform for local businesses to seamlessly promote their services, manage leads and responses. It has recently launched HOSMO (hostel management online) and an android app. HOSMO is a mobile app for sellers and property owners to manage the inventory as part of the online booking system. Soon they will be coming up with iOS and Windows versions of the app.
Challenges and future plans
Like other entrepreneurs, Pujarini and her team also face a lot of challenges. Fussed with the abnormal and unsupportive behaviour of property owners she says, “We face the same problem that most hostel seekers face; which is dealing with property owners who are generally uneducated. Unfortunately, a significant part of this industry is run by such people. And this is the main reason why most of the big players are not interested in this sector. Even though this is big challenge for us, we see it as a valuable opportunity that makes the need for our service even stronger.”
Pujarini is optimistic about the future. She plans to add around 2,000 properties by the next quarter. She aspires to make Hostelnpg a brand and strongly believes in what former PM of UK Margaret Thatcher once said; “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.”