Backed by Ronnie Screwvala, Oyelife wants to be your perfect weekend planner
You begin the week with a lot of fervor. You work hard to achieve your goals. The passion sustains over the next few days, until the pressure of work takes a toll on your mind and body. You feel strained. A desperate wait for the weekend sets in. After working hard on weekdays, you’d like to lighten up your weekends with some exciting activity.
Finally, after the long wait, the weekend arrives. You relish thinking about the number of activities you can do in those two days. But, owing to lack of awareness of the activities and events in your area, you may end up doing nothing. You may spend the precious weekend, which you longed for so eagerly, sitting in your house watching TV.
Vikas Rana, founder of Must See India, a travel information portal which also provides customizable holiday packages, would often face this situation. So he decided to address the question that every city dweller asks at least once a week: ‘what do I do this weekend’? In order to do so, he launched Oyelife, an application that provides answers to questions asked about weekend related activities and outings, last month.
Oyelife app – currently on Android – allows users to discover amazing activities, events, and places to visit in their city, and provides personalized suggestions based on each user’s interests. You can browse through places and the latest events near you by category. You can find things ranging from the best nightlife spots, to outdoor activities we recommend, in our hand-picked collections,” says Vikas Rana, Founder of Oyelife.
Finding interesting events or activities used to involve following multiple blogs and sites. Often, they’d list activities is a very cumbersome way. One had to search and explore the internet, or ask a socially active friend for recommendations, before actually stepping out. With features like GPS-based location, personalized recommendations, discovering the interests of individual’s social circle, and filtering activities based on age group, Oyelife aims to contain all the information required to plan weekend outings of any kind.
“We include all kinds of weekend pastimes – places, activities and events like bowling, go karting, the amusement park, hobby activities, theatre shows, and various events happening in the city, like comedy shows, ladies’ night, marathons etc. We have over 1000 activities in Bangalore, spread across 120 different categories,” says Vikas.
Talking about the business, Vikas said that feedback has been super positive. “Many of our friends have already started making plans using the app! This validates the notion we’d had, that people need this kind of app.”
Funding and Investment
Oyelife raised $1 million in seed funding from Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures, and K Ganesh. Unilazer Ventures is a capital firm that focuses on innovative ideas, and sustainable and high-growth businesses. K Ganesh is one of the most celebrated and successful parallel entrepreneurs in India.
The investment is being used to develop the product, for marketing, and to scale the team. Oyelife is currently operational in Bangalore, and the investment will also be used to expand to Mumbai and Delhi in the next couple of months, and in seven cities by December.
Oyelife is a curated marketplace of activities and things to do on weekends. It is going to enable bookings within the next 3 months. It’s in the process of creating a vendor app, which will be used by vendors to manage their listings, upload deals and offers, and facilitate vouchers and bookings.
Piecing together market
The market is unorganized and is at a nascent stage. The venture also aims to organize the market and push upward the growth in this segment.
"We are one of the first companies to target this segment. The applications in the market so far are not thinking big, and are targeting only a subset of the segment – events. There are so many things to do and places to visit around you. We need to tap unexplored territory and make discovery easy. We aim to organize the segment, and fuel growth. That will be addressed in next 2-3 years. We are building a platform for growth and looking to have an impact similar to what Snapdeal had in the ecommerce sector, in our own sector," says Vikas.