Praveen has always been a go-to person with a passion for doing things he is passionate about. He is of the view that if you have the will to accomplish something then there is nothing that can keep you from achieving that task. He completed his MBA from IIM Lucknow and spent the last decade working in several verticals gaining ample experience.
His first stint at entrepreneurship came in the form of Joguru social network, but his true ingenuity came to the forefront via Triphobo. He along with the Saket and Karthik conceived the idea of TripHobo to provide an end-to-end solution to various hitches in Trip planning. The web is full of information about travel, but it lacks the structure one needs to plan a trip. TripHobo simplifies trip planning, making it easier and a one-stop destination for everything right from browsing destinations to booking hotels.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
The company was founded by me and my two buddies- Karthik and Saket. Avid travellers all our lives, we always faced problems while planning trips- mainly due to lack of consolidated information and lack of a platform to create seamless trip plans. The entire trip planning process used to involve browsing 10 to 15 different websites, scanning through city tourist guides, gathering all the required information and then putting it into one complex excel sheet!
This is when we thought of developing a platform where all the information would be easily available and the travel itinerary creation process would be simplified.
What is your life mantra?
If you fail, fail quickly! Failure teaches you more than success can ever teach you.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
People management was a challenge I faced. Aligning the team to work towards achieving the dream, to get it in sync with the vision is tricky.
A challenge I am still struggling with is managing my personal and professional life!
How did you overcome those challenges?
I am lucky enough to have one of the finest teams! We all compete to bring out the best in each other, and in the process, we are taking the company to greater heights.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
TripHobo is world’s largest repository of user generated itineraries. It is a travel planning platform where users can plan their trip itineraries free of cost. Having data for over 14000 cities, users can also browse the trip plans created by other users and then use these plans as a template to create their own trip.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We raised seed funding of $450 K from a Pune Based Angel. Next round of funding we raised $1 Million from Kalaari Capital. We then raised another $3 Million from Kalaari Capital and Mayfield.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
There is no direct answer to this. The most important thing I focus on doing is ensuring that the team is happy and motivated. Monetary benefits matter, but more important than that, it is the work environment that plays a significant role. If people feel free, if they love working on the tasks assigned and if they find the bosses approachable, the attrition rate is taken care of. Ultimately, a healthy work environment helps in retaining employees. We also focus on employee engagement activities such as rewards and recognitions, birthday celebrations, sports tournaments and team outbound sessions.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Resolve to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work.
- The ability to keep reinventing.
- Determination and passion.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
The productivity tools I use are Evernote, SEMRush, SimilarWeb, AdClarity and Alexa.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
A productivity hack I follow is to completely focus on getting work done for others. During the office hours, I try to resolve issues and bottlenecks that my teams are facing. It is only after everybody has left for the day that I shift the focus to my own tasks.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
While trying to build a product, I tend to focus more on the operational elements rather than the strategic aspects. It is always important to pause, rethink, reorganize and then move forward rather than just try to operationalize it. Operation side and strategic side need to be balanced. That’s one habit I wish to change.
Answer in less than 50 words
I believe in Steve Jobs’ philosophy of staying hungry, staying foolish. You have to be foolish enough to dream big and hungry enough to achieve more and more.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
One needs to stop procrastinating! It is harmful because you might have the best idea in the history of time, but if you keep sitting on it, if you don’t do anything about it, someone else is going to achieve your dream. Thinking is not going to take you anywhere.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Whenever you are building a startup, it is extremely important to define the objective of your startup. What is the problem you are going to solve? How are you going to add value to the existing problem? How is the business going to make money? How do you see it growing? Setting your objective is really important. If we’d known this before, we could have saved on the initial 6 months of the journey.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
The aim is always to try and make sure that TripHobo becomes one of the best travel planning companies out there. That it is globally recognized. All the plans are oriented towards achieving that aim.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- New Zealand
- Arctic Circle is my dream destination!
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
When I look back, one of the things I’d like to change is that the travel industry roadmap is not well defined. There is no definite route to achieve success in this field. Because of this, there were a lot of trial and errors we did that took up a lot of time. If we were as knowledgeable as now, we could have been at the current stage couple of years ago! If at all we could start again, we would start with this gained and acquired knowledge.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”- Steve Jobs