Apr 7, 2014

I saw a problem? I went ahead and solved the problem!

Phanindra Sama saw the problem and being an engineer he went ahead to solve the problem. Who is Phanindra Sama? What Problem he saw? How did he Solve the problem?  Well we are going to explain to you in the form of FAQ. Most of the Indian entrepreneur and business community might have heard of Phani , read about him or met him in business conferences. But this article is for those who wants to know about Phanindra, his Startup Idea , transformation of bus experience,  his journey and success story. I'm sure you would get inspired after reading this article.

Who is Phanindra Sama?
Phanindra Sama is the Co-Founder / CEO of the startup Redbus.in India's biggest online bus ticketing company. He started Redbus with his two  friends from BITS Pilani, Charan Padmaraju and Sudhakar Pasupunuri. Phanindra graduated in Electrical Engineering from BITS Pilani and did his Masters from IISc Bangalore. Phani hails from Nizamabad District State of Andhrapradesh.

Where did the founders worked before Starting Redbus.in?
All three worked for IT MNCs before quitting their jobs. Phani quit Texas Instruments, Charan quit Honeywell and Sudhakar quit IBM.

How did the IDEA of redbus.in sparked?
During the winter of 2005 in Bangalore, Phani planned to spend his Diwali vacation with family and friends. As it was a peak season and every travel agent in the city was fully booked he struggled to get bus tickets and couldn't make to home in time. That's when he was introduced to the problem of  bus tickets. Idea of redbus.in evolved from that problem. Phanindra realised the need for a convenient, hassle-free portal where customers could book their tickets from the comforts of their home. Additionally a bus passenger can reserve a ticket for the return journey in advance without having to travel to the destination with the uncertainty of securing a ticket. Redbus.in launched in 2006 it took one year from Idea to Execution.

Tip from Startuptimes: There was a reservation system in India for Trains & Flights but not for Bus, that's an opportunity. This is how aspiring Startups have to think about identifying the problem and the gaps and look what you can add to existing ideas.

What was the Problem Phani identified?
  • Generally when you ask a travel agent when is the last bus for Viskhapatnam today,  he'll answer it's at 9 pm, because that's the last bus of the operator he works with. That doesn't mean there isn't a bus for 10 or 11 pm from another operator. 
  • The return ticket is something you'll get only from the place where you visit and you don't have a chance to get it from travel agent at source.
How did he solve the problem of Bus tickets?
Phani and the Redbus team built an user friendly online portal for Bus reservation where customers could book their tickets from the comforts of their home. 

What were the names considered before finalizing Redbus.in?
RED, REDLINE, as Phani was fascinated by the color on the coverpage of a book by Richard Branson, so he decided to name it after a color and red being the shortest name and easy to remember and  no one makes a  typo they went ahead with redbus.

What was the software Redbus.in developed?
BOSS (Bus Operator Software System). A S-a-S based software  for bus operators and SeatSeller a software interface for travel agents.

How did Redbus get hold of Bus Operators across the country?
That's the secret recipe of Redbus.in. Startuptimes will ask Phani to share it with our readers. Well the key to redbus.in business is the support from unorganized travel sector. Convincing travel agents and Bus owners is a real challenge but redbus went through the hard days of convincing the seat sellers to use their software (BOSS) which is the DNA of Redbus.in which helps them get the Bus inventory to sell to the end user on their portal.
Initially when nobody was buying their software nor ready to migrate to computers and technology they had to block some seats from few opertors and make it available on Redbus.in portal.

What are the KPIs for Redbus.in Bus Reservation System?
  • 10 Million (1 Crore) tickets sold in July 2012.
  • 228,000 seats per day
  • It has over 2 million registered users
  • Aggregating 950 bus operators across the country
  • Covers more than 15,000 bus routes in India
  • Tickets are available at more than 30,000 ticket outlets apart from online.
What's the Business & Revenue Model of  Redbus.in?
Redbus.in operates on a hub and spoke model and makes money through following sources.
Online route of booking bus tickets
Offers tickets through the cash-on-delivery mode
Sells two cloud-based software, named BOSS and Seat Seller
Builds websites for Bus owners and integrates to BOSS ERP.

Scarcity value is high for this Business model because a passenger always has an option of booking tickets directly on an airline website, the same is not the fact when one has to book a bus ticket.

Without running TV Ad's how did Redbus.in manage to get this massive customer base?

RedBus began running their first series of Television ads in May 2013. Redbus solved people's problem and people blessed Redbus just kidding.

Tip from Statuptimes: A good IDEA doesn't need to spend on marketing. It market's on it's own freely. 

Examples: Facebook, Linkedin, twitter (you don't see them spending money on TV commercials like Colgate and Bacardi)

Since they grew so fast, did they own state-of-art offices?
Redbus does not own any plush offices, nor are the locations anything to boast about. Most of their offices are located close to Bus Terminals and not in Posh locations. Seems to be very smart and conservative company.

Are there any other players operting in the same market space?
Yes there will be always people to copy or derive from successful ideas. Following are the companies offering the same idea.
  • Mantis (Travelyaari)
  • AbhiBus 
  • SimplyBus 
What are future plans of redbus.in?
Well last month Redbus.in was acquired by IBIBO Group and the deal is worth close to Rs. 800 crores ($135 million ). However even after acquisition Redbus.in will run indpendently and as a seperate business under the leadership of Phanindra and founding team.

Author: Vijay K -Founder of Startuptimes.in "India's First Startup News Portal"
Please share it on Social Media if you liked this article! 
Thanks in Advance for motivating us to write more of these kind!

Tags: Redbus.in CEO story, Phanindra Sama , Bus reservation system business model, online bus tickets, 


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More