“Fu­ture apps need to be lighter and quicker”

In a can­did in­ter­ac­tion with DQ Chan­nels, An­mol Ah­lawat & Nakul Khanna, Co-founders of travel app In­stago talked about growth, im­prove­ment plans and busi­ness strate­gies for In­stago

DQ Channels - - Channel Pulse - ANUSHRUTI SINGH/(anushrutis@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in)

An­mol Ah­lawat & Nakul Khanna, Co-founders of travel app In­stago talked about growth...

We are work­ing with bus/shut­tle com­pa­nies to in­te­grate them on our plat­form and users can book them as well for in­tra-city and in­ter-city trips. We have a lot of things in the pipe­line, so watch this space for more

How did In­stago come into re­al­ity?

In­stago was born out of the per­sonal frus­tra­tion of the founders of hav­ing to shuf­fle through mul­ti­ple trans­port & travel apps to find the cheap­est and the quick­est way to get around the city in mul­ti­ple cities all over the world rang­ing from Delhi to Sin­ga­pore to San Fran­cisco.

What was tech­ni­cally the most chal­leng­ing part of de­vel­op­ing In­stago?

We feel that the mar­ket readi­ness of a prod­uct is cru­cial. The fact that we re­quired data, which was ac­cu­rate and dy­namic, from mul­ti­ple part­ners was quite chal­leng­ing. The data and part­ner­ships had to be sought be­cause when we started work­ing on In­stago the data was not avail­able. Con­vinc­ing the world that a new prod­uct and a new cat­e­gory is grow­ing and they need to par­tic­i­pate was quite chal­leng­ing.

Has your app got the feed­back and growth you ex­pected since launch­ing?

Yes, we have re­ceived both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive feed­back about the app. It has al­lowed peo­ple to re­ally start sav­ing money and time on their trav­els and even dis­cover new modes of trans­port such as Jug­noo or Uber Moto, which they prob­a­bly wouldn’t have taken be­fore. On the neg­a­tive front, at present users are redi­rected to the app of the ser­vice provider they choose, but in-app book­ing is in the pipe­line and should be live very soon, this re­duc­ing the clut­ter of apps on our phones. We have wit­nessed good growth so far in our beta stage and are aug­ment­ing the app with more fea­tures and travel op­tions. Go­ing for­ward we plan to grow ag­gres­sively and aim to clock the 10,000 down­loads mark by first week of June.

Who are your com­peti­tors & what are your strate­gies for them?

In­stago aims to be the one-stop so­lu­tion for all your travel book­ing needs. While we’ve started off with in­tra city travel op­tions, we aim to cover in­ter city travel op­tions as well in the com­ing months. There are var­i­ous com­peti­tors in the mar­ket, in­clud­ing Google Maps, which is prob­a­bly the big­gest, but at present none of them pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive one-stop so­lu­tion that caters to both in­ter and in­tra city seg­ments. We are also ag­gre­gat­ing a larger num­ber of play­ers than any of our com­peti­tors.

What’s the plan for 2017?

As of now we are work­ing with all our part­ners to in­te­grate the book­ing and pay­ment process. We are also help­ing a few of them to de­velop APIs to be in sync with the trends in the in­dus­try. We are look­ing to close our seed round, and are in talks with a Sil­i­con Val­ley VC firm. We are also look­ing at var­i­ous In­dian VC firms to take our In­dian growth story for­ward. Re­gard­ing the prod­uct, in­ter city and spe­cific fo­cus on public trans­port is the next step for us. We also plan on ex­plor­ing South­east Asian and Amer­i­can mar­kets by the end of the year. We aim to ag­gre­gate in­for­ma­tion across the world and fa­cil­i­tate more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient use of public and pri­vate trans­port, thus sim­pli­fy­ing our users’ daily com­mutes and eas­ing con­ges­tion and traf­fic while we’re at it.

Are you work­ing on any­thing you can talk about.

We just launched public trans­port on iOS and An­droid. Users can al­ready book app based bike taxis us­ing In­stago. Ad­di­tion­ally, bike taxi com­pa­nies, which use a call­ing/phone mech­a­nism to book, are also live on In­stago. We are work­ing with bus/shut­tle com­pa­nies to in­te­grate them on our plat­form and users can book them as well for in­tra-city and in­ter-city trips. We have a lot of things in the pipe­line, so watch this space for more.

Look­ing at the fu­ture of travel apps, what ar­eas of im­prove­ment do you think needed most?

Apps of the fu­ture in gen­eral need to be lighter and quicker. We feel the UI-UX will play a huge role in this re­gard as the prod­ucts will be­come more com­plex. A con­sumer will have only a few apps down­loaded on the phone, as the stor­age be­comes an is­sue. Hence, the light and quick apps will have an ad­van­tage over their com­peti­tors.

What’s most im­por­tant: Great in­no­va­tion or Great mar­ket­ing?

Both. You can’t have one with­out the other. In­no­va­tive prod­ucts backed by clever mar­ket­ing can do won­ders. That’s why our ap­proach has been un­con­ven­tional in this re­gard and we are re­fin­ing out strat­egy on the same. We are work­ing with a fo­cused ap­proach on both the as­pects men­tioned above.

What do you find most in­ter­est­ing and re­ward­ing in terms of run­ning your own busi­ness?

To nav­i­gate mul­ti­ple cities across the world us­ing your own app is quite in­ter­est­ing but watch­ing oth­ers is a whole dif­fer­ent feel­ing. Not to men­tion the fact that, In­stago at some level al­lows users to ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively use public and pri­vate trans­port which re­duces the con­ges­tion and the pol­lu­tion in our cities. Know­ing the im­pact that it is mak­ing is quite re­ward­ing.

What’s your ad­vice to would-be en­trepreneurs?

Re­silience is the key. Some­times you have to go to give an idea the pa­tience and time that it de­serves and keep at it for it bear fruits.

More on the web: Read more de­tails about travel app In­stago at www.dqchan­nels.com

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