We all have witnessed the Success of Taxi Hailing Services start-up OLA and Uber in Indian and Global Market, we know that travelling within the City became comfortable with cabs hailing services, now it is the time when something similar still unique is going to hit on road on 26th Jan 2019. It’s GoTo an app which is going to be launched on 26th Jan 2019, with 600+ fleet and will be covering more than 1000 Cities and covering 7500+ small town/villages, GoTo claims that they will be covering 6,00,000 km per day and most interesting part is that passenger will be picked on road,they need not to travel in reverse direction or towards bus stands/bus boarding points. We had a Small Interview of Founder & CEO Mr. Harsh Vardhan Sharma, to unlock the features of GoTo and what make it more interesting than any other current bus booking platforms.
1. What Gets you out of the Bed in morning?
Well, I think you want to have an idea about what motivates me most. Because what motivates me never let me Sleep at night, my motivation is I see a lot of people facing issues in their Intercity Travelling & I have the Key to solve their Problem now, I mean if you are a Common man and can’t afford cars/cabs to travel from one city to another City so it is going to be a nightmare for boarding a bus be it the State Road Transportation or current Bus ticket booking portals, This Idea of GoTo also came with my own Journey Experience once while I tried to board a State Road Transportation bus and once when I booked it thru Current player in Ticket booking. while it was booked online it showed the boarding point at Kashmiri Gate but when I called operator of Bus so he told me that I need to board from Gurgaon IFFCO chowk, It was like a hell to travel in 20 mins for a DIstance of 40 K.M Apparox, So As I wasted More than 2 Hours at bus stand for waiting to get bus with No Idea when It will come, That was the moment I decided that I will create a platform which will let the user hail buses from their nearest path, even they need not to travel to bus stands or so called Boarding Points.
2. Sounds Interesting but How it is possible?
It is Quite Simple we are using google maps API which is linked to our app and just like cab hailing platforms there is a Conductor app which is placed inside buses and we are tracking bus location vs Passengers current location based on route bus running a common path is Created and just like Cab hailing apps you can see all details in real time from bus availability to those path and to seeing them coming towards that Path, also it indicate user that how much time he/she need to reach that point thru Public transport or by cabs/ By own Cars/Bikes. It is a Beautiful AI platform where you just book ticket and sit back unless your Bus is near to you, ETA get updated based on Traffic and bus running speed, we are not based on VTS devices Installed in Buses as that is quite out dated Technology for now which other players are advertising and it further gives horrible experience to customers.
3. It seems you are going to fight with some Big funded Companies in India I wish I could take names ?
For now we do not see any one as our competitor because whatever we are doing right now very different than any other player in market, No one is focusing towards this need of customers all are based on Inventory Management System. I see this market as completely untapped and No one was focusing on technology at all, There are Big names who are catering market just because of some alliance with BIG B2B Inventory management Companies Like Ticket Simply/Infinity Infoway who are providing Inventory management to bus Operators and Ticket Booking Agents in Market.
4. Do not you think that they will copy this Idea Further and they are very much funded so can sweep you out From Market.
See you can’t Control the Factor that someone will copy you or will launch similar,Definitely when we will be growing in future so there will be a time when many player will try to enter in this segment, But for now If you will discuss for Current Situation so you have to understand that, Current Player are having too much dependency of Ticket booking agents and maximum business is been given by them all are doing a more then Million $ business in a Month and at Initial Stage it will not be possible for them to shift their business model from one side to another side so we have this added advantage for time being unless this Intercity bus hailing does not reach to a stage of Rapid Growth, For later stage we have a Entire Product Life Cycle Plan where you will see lot of Innovations in this segment. It will be too early to say But it is my Promise that in Couple of Year time Travelling thru GoTo will be more easier than travelling by own car, that is to we will provide Last mile Connectivity in most economical model.
5. How’s the Journey so far, What are the challenges you faced in till now and what would be further?
I started it with an Idea in my mind It was further scratched on A4 papers, It was a quite Raw Idea almost a year back when I started working on so Journey was not so easy so far, First challenge was to fight right team for the same, another challenge was to find right Fleet vendor in this segment, I personally met with more than 400 Bus operators in various part of India in last 1 year time, sometime I have seen a Great Interest from their Side and sometime they even do not understand the same because of their own mismanaged things I get to know that every bus operator can’t be the part of GoTo, so we started Filtering Operators and then Started Approaching some Big names with managed Services today we have more than 600 Buses Already attached with GoTo conductor app who will be taking booking for GoTo from 26th Jan 2019 Itself, we also Closed one Major B2B alliance before our launch which will make GoTo available in Tier2-3-4 and village area from Day 1 of its launch, with one more we are in touch so I think it will be approx half million Outlets in North, west and south India who will be providing Booking for GoTo in Small Cities and it means a 1 Million Ticket Booking in a year Itself.
6: Have you considered any alliances/Partnerships?
Yes As I mentioned in last answer that we have multiple alliances, for Ticket booking and Bus operators as fleet partners, Before launch taking their names is against our Contract and MOU with them so just wait for next 50 days for same to know who are our key alliance partners, I am sure you will be glad to see those big names on day of our launch.
7. What is the Funding Status of GoTo, Do you have Investors?
No as of Now we are Bootstrapped however we are in talks with few for our angel round or Pre seed which will be for Expediting our growth after Launch, But then again our basic focus is to generate business from Day 1 without burning capital.
8. What comes for you first money or emotion.
For me most important thing is the betterment of the Society and people I am working for and People who are working for me, But yes Money plays its own role and Betterment is only possible when your venture is making the same.
9. What are your strength and Weakness.
A Million Dollar team behind me is our Strength, I am Blessed to have Co-Founders who are young and too much passionate for Coding, They wrote codes for whole nights, ANUP, Suyog and Nikhil are Major Strength, It was easy to dream to and think about a product in mind, but when it comes to execution it comes with multiple challenges it, But these guys were always with never give approach, Anup also recently got certified with Google Summer of Codes, On Weakness Part we never see any negative as weakness but that is to area of improvements for us so as of now we are working to tap some more talented people in field of business Development because of now this department is headed by me only and increase lots of work on my shoulders.
10. Tell me about an achievements you are most proud of.
I am proud of Being Human, I am Proud of doing something for the welfare of Society, I am proud of that GoTo will bring a change in common man Life, for me achievements means changing life of people around you so there are many in past and there are more to come in future.
11. How do you handle the pressure?
Focus is only key to handle pressure, for me and my team we had a very clear cut vision so if anything in between hits us we never bothered about that and kept moving towards our vision, as an Individual I feel that when you have long terms Goals in your mind so your should not be worried about some small issues or things hitting you up.
12. If you sold your company today, what would be the tone of the conversation? What would you want to gain? What would you want to avoid losing?
Selling of GoTo will never be a Pitch of any founding team members, we are working for the betterment of Society specially in Developing countries, our aim is to serve India and Capture maximum market. Indeed our Mission is to be Global Leader in intercity Travelling services by 2025 which means we are evening planning to cross boarders once we are settled in India, as every developing country is facing similar issues like Indian Citizen face.
13. What Advice would you give someone Starting out?
Yes, do not jump in to entrepreneurship unless you validate your business model. You must understand who are your competitors, what additional services you will be adding and most importantly how you will be acquiring customers for your business, GoTo would be one Ideal Example for them, I mean with couple of strategic alliances we reached to more than half million touch points of customer, now it clearly mean that we won’t be burning our own or investors money just to acquire customers, we will be able to have a Constant business mask on our Company face, that is going to assure that we will stay in market for forever no matter we get funding or not. So if someone can make this kind of initial plans it is going to ease lots of things in their entrepreneurship career. Also do not hurry to launch with things called Like MVP, Beta Testing or related to work on your full stack no matter it delay your launch in market.
14. So Harsh do you see GoTo a Unicorn in next 5 years I am sensing this with your words ?
5 years is a Quite long time, We will make it possible in next 2-3 years time period only. We have plans for the same and you will see a update in our product within a time interval of 2 months so every year at least 6 times we will launch a new feature which is not only going to make money but also going to ease users. However it is very early to say but yes it is my commitment to all that we will set up a record of becoming a fastest unicorn & being global leader by 2025. For more updates just keep visiting on gotobus.in.