“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
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