Sep 14, 2015

Tourepedia: A IIT Kanpur based startup that looks to redefine the tourism industry



Meet Anand Singh Shekhawat, student founder and CEO of Tourepedia, an experience and activity based planning cum booking company. Founded by Anand and his friends Sudhir, Rajat Sharma and Rohit Maurya their company is completely driven by the words, “Experience Matters”. This start-up looks to storm the tourism industry with their customizable tours and client focused approach.


Hi Anand! Tell us about Tourepedia.

In one line it is an experience based tour planning site primarily aimed at the youth. Trip planning Is a crucial part of tourism. People are always concerned about the travel tickets and hotel booking, they don’t spend much time on planning the trip. We are basically trying to provide this service in a planned professional way to the customer.


Sounds great! So, how is Tourepedia different from its competitors?

I had observed this market closely for one year and found that the conventional trips do not focus on new activities and experiences that might make the travel experience more enriching for the modern traveller. Tourepedia on the other hand is focused strongly in the back-end. Our belief is if we work on the back-end of the business, providing the customers with a unique experience, the front-end sales will take care of itself. The product will market itself. Our aim is to make the customer feel the difference with our service so that he goes back with the best experience of his trip. Our main motto is to give the customer an exotic trip experience.


So, what inspired you to create this start up?

I always wanted to do something different. After coming to IIT Kanpur, I went on trips with friends and wing-mates on a regular basis. That is when I realized that trip planning is a major problem for most college students. From then, I decided I would enter the trip planning industry.


That is interesting! So, what is your action plan as of now?

As of now, we are understanding our customer-base,  their preferences and their needs. We are focusing on experience based and adventurous activities with an emphasis on discovering unexplored places. Once we develop a more clear idea of what the youth exactly wants from the trip, we will take Tourepedia to pan-India level.


Role of MBA Students in Tourepedia

MBA students will have a better idea of systematically solving real world business problems because in their course work they deal with case based problems of different companies. They can do market research and make a business strategy in a more organized manner.



What is your current team strength at Tourepedia?

We started with a team of 3 members. Now there are 10 permanent members and 6-7 interns in our team.


By the way, starting up must have involved lots of challenges. Is there any important lesson that Tourepedia taught you?

There were times in between when I was totally demotivated and convinced that Tourepedia was finished. Getting through these low phases is also part of the process. Then the only solution is to be your own source of motivation. External sources can motivate people only for a short period. Ultimately, it has to come from inside us, so keep moving forward and have faith in yourself and your idea.


Tell us about some difficulties that you faced during the initial phase.

I knew that I would need a team of 3-4 members to implement my idea. It might sound unbelievable, but finding people who will be as dedicated in their work as you are is very difficult. People join, work for 1-2 week and then their dedication falters. Forming a single minded dedicated team is the biggest challenge. Once 3-4 people are determined enough to execute their plan, if they research the market properly and understand their product they will definitely taste success. So, forming the team was the hardest part.

Well said, Anand! So coming back, what is the future scope of Tourepedia?

This industry has immense scope. In today’s world the craze for trips has increased among people but since their lives are so hectic they do not have much time to plan their trips. Travel planning industry is catering to that clientèle. We had over 150 satisfied customers in the pilot phase of 40 days. By December 2015, we are planning to organize around 150 trips per month.





-  Somya Goel and Arunangshu Ray,
PR Team, MBA IIT Kanpur. 

Sep 5, 2015

HAPPY TEACHERS DAY

Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha 


yu to badalte waqt ne badal di he guru ki paribhasha
par guru ka sthar aaj bhi sbse pehle he aata
kyuki ishwar ne to hume insan banaya
par guru ne hume accha insan banna sikhaya
waqt ki is kagar pe aaj hum kch ese hen khade 
ki jinhone hume sikhaya apne pero par khade hona
kis tarah shukriya ada kar paenge hum unka!
jeevan ke har us mod par rahe hum par apka saya
yahi he bus humari kamna :)

Happy teachers day to all the wonderful teachers of IIT Kanpur from all the students who have been bestowed by your knowledge and blessings.


Bhavna Uttamchandani


Sep 3, 2015

Bandhan: The saga of a MFI to full-fledged bank

 - Sourav Ghosh, MBA 2015-17

Chandra Sekhar Ghosh—a social entrepreneur has been paid off for his glorious vision. A person with ordinary background but extraordinary willingness- started his journey with two colleagues Fatik Bera & Partha Samanta in 2001,  for the unorganized women in rural unbanked areas with only 2 lakh rupees as cash, in West Bengal.  Their venture, a NGO named Bandhan was following a typical business model that was successfully established in Bangladesh, named Grameen Bank, brainchild of later Noble laureate Muhammad Yunus.
The key essence of this business model is on micro credit system which emphasizes about the effect of very small amount of loan towards the sustainable growth of poor rural people who are unable to avail the banking system. Rural people who are in the business of selling vegetables, making small furniture  from bamboo, designing in sari, fishing etc—they actually need small amount of money to initiate the business . However, people face problem as bankers generally do not provide loan in small scale & the paperwork is also cumbersome for these classes of people.  Micro-finance Institution (MFI) is playing the vital role here that used to borrow money from bank & provide loan without collateral to the root level initially in small scale which later can be increased gradually.
Bandhan, started as NGO, expanded rapidly in rural sector as MFI. In 2006,  it became a non-banking finance company (NBFC) of asset base of  Rs 6769 crore having set-up in major states like WB, Orissa, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra— however mainly in Eastern & NE part of country. In 2009, founder Ghosh decided to expand its business further.  Eastern & NE part of India is under-penetrated in banking sector compared to Western & Southern part of country while only UCO, United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank is having headquarters in Eastern India.  And if we focus on the basic operation of NBFC-- it takes loan from bank, they are charging high interest to borrower compared to bank. Taking consideration of these key features, Bandhan has applied for banking licence to RBI.
In 2014, Bandhan got the banking licence along with IDFC while the appeal of other larger corporate houses like Tata, Reliance ADA, LIC Housing, IndiaBulls are still not entertained. However, RBI had given certain strict mandates to meet in 18-months if  Bandhan has to come up as a full fledged commercial bank.
                Bandhan was in operation in more than 500 branches across 22 states. The company has 67 lakh micro-finance borrowers whose accounts have been transferred to Savings Bank Account creating loan portfolio of around Rs 10000 crore. In an interview when Ghosh was asked if Bandhan Bank will be different from Bandhan-the MFI, he replied, “One should not forget where he was born.” As a token of his commitment to financial inclusion, Bandhan bank will mainly cater to the unorganized sectors- like daily wage earners— who are their customer from the day of beginning.  They will also get investment from International Finance Corporation (a member of World Bank), Singapore govt backed GIC of worth Rs 500 cr soon. Finally on 23rd August, 2015 - FM Arun Jaitley inaugurates Bandhan Bank as full fledged commercial bank.
                 In a developing country like ours, micro-credit & micro-finance is probably the best option to empower the economically weaker section. And undoubtedly, this journey of 3 people who started with 2 lakh rupees a decade ago—is truly amazing & motivational.
Dreams are the greatest imaginative power & strength of mankind. Whatever the small start one makes, if his vision does not get wavered, he will surely continue to grow more & more.


Sources: Wikipedia, economic times, Business Today, www.livemint.com