This Entrepreneurial Story is about Tarun Madan who Founded ‘Holidayen’ located in New York/ Mumbai.
About - Currently, there is a team of 5 working on Holidayen.
- Tarun Madan is a Chemical Engineering graduate from IIT Roorkee and University of Texas at Austin where he was a part of Texas Venture Labs. Previously, he had co-founded Pledge for Green, an initiative for creating and spreading environmental awareness.
- Mitanshu Garg is a graduate from IIT Roorkee, who had previously created Virtual Stock Market and the SCM Buddy app. Rest are interns working to get design inputs from Design Mantras.
When Started: 2012
[Answers by Tarun Madan]
What motivated you to start your Business?
As an avid traveler, I had always found trip planning a time-consuming process. While I could find flights and hotels easily, planning the other elements of the trip such as what to do and see was tedious. I had a rough idea for an automated, personalized trip planner and as part of an entrepreneurship course at the University of Texas at Austin, I surveyed about 200 international travelers, most of who felt that such an application would be immensely helpful. I have quite a few entrepreneurial friends, and was inspired to chart my own course, working on travel and technology – two things I am passionate about.
Tell us about your Business
We endeavor to help travelers have memorable holidays, and offer trip planning services to this end. Holidayen provides personalized recommendations and booking options on attractions, activities and tours, and creates an intelligent daily itinerary, which is completely customizable. We have also launched destination-specific trip planning apps to help travelers plan trips on the go.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
I usually start by reviewing the previous day’s traffic, user interaction with the site and if everything is on track as per our expectations. The agenda for the rest of the time varies a lot – it could be focused on product development or marketing strategy. We get a lot of queries from users, so before ending the day I ensure all of it has been suitably resolved by someone in the team.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
I had previous experience in product development and UX design, which being one of the most important elements of a web-based product, had to be spot-on. Ensuring the right skills were hired as interns and right partnerships were in place for web design development came in handy for timely execution of our plan. This has been well received by our users, who find Holidayen really intuitive and easy.
What have been the biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
The biggest challenge has been managing the business on limited resources – we are currently bootstrapping and have had to build a product and generate user traction with a small team in the quickest possible time without compromising on our ultimate vision.
How did you overcome these challenges?
As a lean startup, we launched with a minimum viable product, and have subsequently introduced new features based on feedback from travelers who use the product. Absolute prioritization of activities by talking to our users has helped us to focus on the high value-add jobs to be undertaken, which is critical when resources are limited. Also, we have hired interns to help with product development.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
Being a B2C business model, our objective is to ensure increasing visibility of the product in the eyes of targeted consumers. The most effective way for this has been getting coverage from social and traditional media. This has helped in building up a user base and product usage.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
Especially for first time business owners, I would suggest to network with fellow entrepreneurs who have been through different phases of running a business. I am sure you will find that all of them would be eager to help with really valuable advice.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
We have a compelling vision for Holidayen, which keeps me motivated through difficult times. Taking occasional breaks and traveling have always helped. It refreshes and brings clarity on what to do next to move out of difficult times.
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
We are focusing on organic search engine optimization and social media marketing campaigns to penetrate our market segments. As we strive to accelerate our marketing efforts, we are looking for funding to hire marketing personnel as we are currently under-resourced in that department.
As a team, we love celebrating all achievements. Small achievements like getting our 1000th user, sale of our first app etc. were all very special to us. On a larger level, I would say building a minimum viable product with zero outside investment have been a good achievement and hopefully we will build on that to create a successful business.
Whats your favorite quote?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― Mark Twain This always inspires me to travel and explore new things in life.
Who inspires you?
My parents who always worked hard to succeed in life without compromising on values like integrity are a constant source of inspiration for me.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
Create an awesome experience for our users and revenue and profits will follow. We believe in creating a great experience for travelers who are stressed out by using other travel planning resources.
Startup Freak wishes Tarun, All the Best!