I write this from Pune, in my half-hour break between the 437658264 meetings that I’ve had today. And I think to myself, ‘Man, from working out of a car (YES, we literally had meetings lasting hours in Safdhar’s car) to sitting in the coffee shop of a 5-star in our next city, we’ve definitely come a long way.’
Sometime around mid-night in June 2014, Safdhar gives me a call.
‘Dont say anything till I finish completely.’
He always had these volley of ideas & I was getting used to the random calls at odd hours of the day. I knew this was one of those.
‘Imagine if you could eat at a 5-star and get a free dessert’
I was now fully awake. Desserts are my biggest weakness and the guy knew how to get someone’s attention.
‘I have this idea. If we sign up the best names in the city & give the people of Bangalore an added value at these places, don’t you think it’ll work?’
‘Hell yeah, I can do with a free dessert for sure’
The seed was planted. Hereon, the idea took over our lives. Day in and day out, we’d discuss everything that could be done. Ideas started pouring in from friends, families & everyone we thought could contribute. We spoke to hoteliers, managers of well-known places & saw if what we had in mind could be executed to the T. It could.
We got the ball rolling. Neil Unadkat from Pune got on board to have the App built. The oldest in the SteppinOut family, Neil is now 25 and this magician handles everything in the backend for us.
The first step was to recruit venues. We got the big names on board first. Once we’d signed these up, the remaining followed suit. Our idea was simple – to bridge the existing gap between a user & a premium venue.
In the span of a month, we had 70 of Bangalore’s best names with us. Without Sharath, this just wouldn’t have been possible. At all hours of the day, he met venues and signed them up tirelessly. We now knew we were ready. Full-fledged marketing had begun & overnight, Dawn, Safdhar & I had become Photoshop & Social Media experts. We decided we were ready to introduce the concept to the city on December 13th, 2014.
Cut to December 2015, exactly a year later – we’re a bigger team – stronger, braver & much more resilient. There were days when we all felt like giving up, like it wasn’t worth the grind. We kept each other motivated, and always reminded ourselves of one thing- “Look how far we’ve come”. I’d like to make a very special mention of Shreyas Skandan & Shreyas Aditya, without whom the journey wouldn’t have begun. Thank you for being the wings to our flight.
Without raising any external funding, we’ve established ourselves across 150+ venues, got 8,000 users, made over 20 lakhs in revenue, conducted the city’s most successful pub-crawl and are also about to launch operations in Pune.
The key is to not wait on others to believe in you, but to believe in yourself. Like a very close friend Arjun often says, you’ve gotta grind now to shine later! 🙂
– Ojal Kulkarni