Tourism that provides you an unparalleled experience in a sustainable manner; is that possible? With B:Live it is possible. A Goa-based startup and one of the top 10% Attractions globally by TripAdvisor(2020) that promises you an enriching travel experience and at the same time takes full accountability of the environment. B:Live has transformed the biking experience. It was founded in January 2018 by Samarth Kholkar and Sandeep Mukherjee, who quit their high paying corporate jobs to start this venture. Samarth had spent over 12 years in the corporate world in Sales & Marketing at IBM. The need to introduce sustainable tourism in Goa encouraged Samarth to come forward to find a solution. With Sandeep’s exposure to Electric Vehicles in Europe and Samarth’s knowledge of the tourism industry in Goa, they launched ‘India’s first EV Tourism’ initiative. Fast forward to today, Samarth drives growth and customer experience in a sustainable manner at B:Live.
B:Live provides tourism with the wheel of sustainability
B:Live is a travel tech platform that offers immersive experiential tours powered by smart and savvy electric bikes. It boasts of raising $1 Million in funding in such a short span of time. The e-Bike tours provide an intimate local experience coupled with the joy of cycling. The trips are run by the locals and offer a glimpse of the quintessential Indian culture. The effortless riding on e-Bikes enhances the experience and makes it enriching for their customers.
“We at B:Live provide tourism with the wheel of sustainability. B:Live connects and sets you through the course of authenticity and experiences. We Provide you with a unique view of the local culture and thus connecting you with the Soul of the place. One may return not just with experiences of a trip but also collect memories of a lifetime.”
-Mr. Samarth Kholkar
We at Entrepreneur Skill Hub did an exclusive interview with one of the Co-Founders of B:Live, Mr. Samarth Kholkar for our readers. Please find his entrepreneurial journey down below.
Tourism runs in my blood
We have always been intrigued by tourism and as I belong to Goa, tourism runs in the blood. We believe that evolution in custom mobility has created an environment for the use of electric vehicles. We took this initiative forward to bring traction and awareness in the minds of consumers.
We create beautiful experiences for our tourists
Sandeep and I did quite a lot of research in the EV-Industry online and offline with the help of industry experts and scholars. We felt that there lies a clear gap between manufacturers and customers. Manufacturers or brands are launching some exceptional options while consumers are unaware of their offerings. There is no link working in between them. Our initiative is to abridge this gap.
We are still waiting for the evolution in the mindset of consumers to see the shift from scooters to EVs. But, we cannot hard push this change on to them. However, our initiative is to make consumers aware of the gains, be it monetary or emotional. In that scenario, we have driven our venture to be the first EV tourism initiative in India, called B:Live.
Here We try to give the tourists and the locals an authentic experience of art and culture. We add unexplored spaces in our EV tours. We try to create a soft influence of the beautiful experience of seeing the unexplored place in a structured way.
The investor should be your mentor
Startups always look for funding. But, I have a quantitative and qualitative approach to capital and investment. We were very clear about the figures. Financial planning for an operational function, initiative, or expansion is a critical step while seeking funds. Ultimately, when you look at the road map of three or four years, you should be working towards a profitable business model. You should plan funds accordingly before spending on different operations.
We have always been particular about the required amount rather than asking for amounts that are substantially higher than what you need. It is better to start small. In the end, more the funding you raise more the equity you handle. Also, a lot of patience is required to target the right set of investors who will understand and contribute to your idea and concept. It is good to have some names around you who mentor and guide you throughout.
Domestic tourism will explode once COVID ends
We think this Covid-19 has been our first major challenge since we started. We were looking to expand our business to several locations in the summers. But obviously, nobody saw this coming and this is a first for everyone. But, we have seen clear indications about the potential in domestic tourism and would go with our plans once things go back to normal. The response was positive, so are we. Domestic tourism will go through the roof.
Although a few cities and places have started operating, it is going to be a slow start. It can be noted that domestic tourism is going to explode after the situation stabilizes. Moreover, cycling an electric vehicle is a naturally social distancing mechanism. I am sure that this is a short term thing and will end soon.
My mantra for creating a successful business
I would advise entrepreneurs to set milestones for your business. Make a clear blueprint of what you want to achieve in the short-term and the long-term and create concrete solutions to the problems. Ensure that your business is always scalable.
The most important factor is customer satisfaction. All ideas can go out of the window if the customer doesn’t appreciate your product/service, be it any industry. Entrepreneurs should consider incorporating feedback from multiple sources. Without these, there cannot be any success story.
Please read 9 Skills to Master Before Starting a Business