Interview with Sankalp Agarwal, Co-founder & CEO of Traveltriangle.com. We start with a video taken by one of their members, or one of their staff (we are unsure which) of a motorbike "safari" through Ladakh, in India.
Web site: www.TravelTriangle.com.
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the cofounder & CEO of the company. My role is in Business Development and Marketing along with my cofounder, Sanchit.
What did you do before creating your company?
Worked at Adobe Systems. All the details can be found here: http://in.linkedin.com/in/sankalpagarwal.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft MAW?
I feel amazing to be a part of the MAW event. In addition, being selected as a startup of the day is exciting and overwhelming. I think we (Sanchit, Prabhat, and myself) have worked very hard to establish a startup in the very competitive travel and tour space. It gives us pleasure to know that our sincere efforts are being recognized.
What is your company’s mission?
Going to the world’s end to customize our customer’s trips. The customers can personalize all the details of their trips, even down to the songs played in their cars.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
Traveltriangle.com is an ecommerce platform which helps travelers book personalized trips at best prices by connecting them to travel agents local to the destination.
How did you get the idea for your company?
Being in IT brings the startup culture in our blood. Building up big companies is one dream that we shared, and we were always looking out for something that could be challenging enough. We loved travel and used to have a lot of fun travelling together. On our trip to Leh Ladakah two years ago, we found that two other friends booked exactly the same package as ours from different travel agents. One of them booked with Leh local travel agent and got the best deal, where as we shelled out much more for the same package. After some research, such examples are very prominent in the industry. We realized that the tour industry is very opaque with prices and quality of services. There is no standard platform which can honestly guide travelers to book customized and personalized packages at genuine prices. Realizing the big market size that is available for the travel sector, we decided to jump in.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We are self-funded as of now. We have a sister consultancy company via which we have been able to support our product to a great extent. To take the product forward, we are looking at two kinds of funding opportunities. The first opportunity is to pick up $400K USD from an institutional investor. The second is to create a pool of small investors and raise funds as convertible debt from them. There is significant progress on both the options.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Our team is comprised of eight full time folks. Three of us are founders, and five are employees. Prabhat is responsible for complete product development and is assisted by two more developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Yes, we are looking for enterprising folks who can assist us in sales and marketing in an energetic and vibrant environment.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
We think that the mobile development space is pretty hot. In India, the smart phone market has just started to gain momentum. In a few years, we will be seeing a lot more successful companies coming out in this field. Similar opportunities are available in cloud computing as well. A lot of enterprises have already started to move on to the cloud, and some consumer products are already making their mark in this space.
What do you think about the MAW Program?
The MAW program was pretty good. It gave us a complete view from developing an app to launching it into the market successfully. It also covered various business models that can be used to market the app. The support from Microsoft and other partner teams was amazing. They helped us out from strategizing the application to roll out the phase one of the same.
You can also address any differentiation of your WP7 app from the other platforms it’s running on. Our app on WP7 is pretty different from other platforms. In WP7, our app is much more interactive and interesting with the help of Metro UI. Travel is all about beautiful places and pictures. We were able to present to the user the same feeling of travel via WP7. Freedom from icons and choice to pin tiles enable us to directly connect the user to a destination. This would in turn increase interaction of the user with our app to a much more meaningful way.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
There is no perfect time to start your own business. If you have a great idea, you should just take the plunge.
Who’s your role model?
I follow a lot of folks in the industry who are actually bringing out innovative products in the market. Instead of focusing on one, I keep many role models and learn from many.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
While we promise to provide the best services to each of our customers, we will need their support to make this a one stop solution for travel. Our request to them is to come on our portal (http://traveltriangle.com/) and try out our services for their next bookings; we assure them that they’d get the best deal available for their trip. The best way to follow our deals and updates is via Facebook (http://facebook.com/traveltriangle).