This story of a Bangalore-based start-up that has faced numerous odds, should help you understand the start-up scenario better...Nadia Fernandes
With all due credit to the IT boom that revolutionized Bangalore as a city, a trade centre, and a social hub, I’d like to point out that there is not a single thing that isn’t available at Bangalore. Be it something as trivial as the fresh fruits and vegetables available at bargain prices at the crowded market-place, or something as sophisticated as a personalized pampering experience from a day spent at a luxury spa, -you can have it all. But of course, large cities hosting thousands of products and services do bring with them the problems of drawing together providers and consumers.
This is the circumstance under which Youbelo.com was conceived.
In the areas of personal grooming, wellness, and fitness needs, co-founders Nelson and Prateek identified the growing problems faced by customers who were in need of and were willing, but were just unable to find the right providers of the specific service they had in mind, in and around their vicinity. Youbelo.com was created with that idea in mind- to be able to assist customers in finding exactly what they want. These guys then took it two steps further, by not just assisting customers in finding salons, spas, and fitness centres, but by also providing them with enough information to form a reasonable assessment, and consequently also providing a booking platform over Youbelo.com.
Today, Youbelo.com has extended this service to nine other major cities across India.
As in the case of any start-up, Youbelo.com faced its own set of problems and underwent a series of transformations brought about by numerous challenges, making it the seasoned start-up that it is today.
Ideated around the simple desire of wanting to do something different, Nelson and Prateek gave life to Youbelo.com in January, 2014. Although first started as a bootstrapped project, with a crude website being modified every other day, the two co-founders were unfliched, deciding that the project was ultimately going to be a good experience and a great way to learn. Eventually, more functionalities and features were identified and added, thus contributing to a website that was for a long time, in beta testing. There were also some technical difficulties the entrepreneurs faced- having to learn new technology was one.
Post this stage of building a company, comes the stage where you need to begin considering the other aspects such as marketing. Youbelo’s core focus at this stage was to reach out to its target audience in as many ways as possible, and marketing over social media formed an important part of the start-up’s marketing functions.
Come December 2014, Youbelo.com was a decent start-up, whose target audience was a very important growing segment of the society. This seemed like a good time to approach investors for funding thought Nelson and Prateek. A major part of the business however, still being funded by the co-founders. Over the course of the year, Youbelo.com also had to address the issue of rising costs, brought about by a modified business model and expanding the core team.
The present-day Youbelo.com has a team of dedicated marketing interns, a blogger, and two very optimistic determined co-founders, who confidently hold on to the same business model. “We are hopeful of something positive because the industry has a lot of potential and is promising.” says Nelson K. Jacob, an MBA who has spent a large part of his life in Bangalore. “Sure, we’ve been through difficult times, but it’s the learning that has helped us evolve, and so far, we have been successful in applying this learning to mitigate all our risks and uncertainties”. The website’s active blog with over 50 posts on a wide range of topics not only attracts a good audience, but also provides information that could always come in handy. These blog posts have created original content that the team has built its marketing strategy around. Youbelo.com also has 3000 listed clientele in the form of several spas, salons, gymnasiums, and dance, fitness, and yoga centres, which has helped build the company’s portfolio considerably.
The start-up’s present challenge is that there aren’t enough of the right minds in the industry. Youbelo’s mission since inception has been to provide high-quality, reliable, and highly customized services to each of its customers. And so, to work with bright innovative like-minded people will be key in developing new products and services, and delivering something new and unique to its customers. A fresh enthusiastic team is definitely what is needed to help this Bangalore-based start-up scale newer heights.