Ridenest plans to expand across India
Hop onto Ridenest; Travel together!
Anuj Dhawan, a B.E in Information Technology from Delhi Technological University (DTU), was a hardcore corporate before taking up entrepreneurship. He worked for nine years in the corporate sector across investment advisory, strategy and research segments. Eventually he plunged headlong into entrepreneurship after leaving his lucrative jobs with companies such as Evalueserve, The Smart Cube and FIITJEE.
His journey started in 2016 with the launch of Ridenest, an app targeted to ensuring women safety on public places.
This Delhi based entrepreneur’s story as shared with our correspondent is one of sheer inspiration. Scroll down for more:
The trigger for creating Ridenest was the gruesome Nirbhaya tragedy in Delhi in 2012 that underlined the vulnerability of people, especially women, travelling in the night.
The horrific incident kept me thinking about creating some distinct device for the safety of Delhi’s women. I realised that help was late to reach Nirbhaya on the fateful day, for none in the city had stopped by at the scene. Thus came the idea for the app Ridenest. It is an app that makes travelling safer and helps foster a feeling of togetherness for safety.
Ridenest is a ‘togetherness’ network. We promote people to come out from behind their screens and be with their known, in the real world. The name Ridenest signifies the intent of the platform. It is to help people 'ride' or be together with their 'nest' or the known ones. The mobile app helps you to find out who in your known network is travelling and is around you. One could then find the people around and join them. It is not a ride-sharing app. It is about staying with the known circle and it need not be only inside a car.
Ridenest is not a ride-hailing company. Instead, it is a platform that enables people to come together or travel together. We don’t charge any fee or commission. Suppose I am travelling from Noida Sector 74 to IGI Airport, Delhi. I log on to this app and post ‘Travelling to IGI Airport’. All the people ONLY in my nest will get an alert and anyone having a similar travel plan could join me. Not only will it reduce the cost but could also help reduce the boredom of the 75-minute journey.
Ridenest comes with a map where the user could exactly know where the individual in her/his nest is available. Social networks induce technology-assisted loneliness. Ridenest wishes to mitigate it by bringing about technology-enabled unions among trusted individuals — real people, closely associated, meeting in real time. This is a major differentiator for us.
Inspired by safety, it promotes face- to- face interactions among known individuals who are admitted into a circle of trust (hence the term - ‘nest’). Targeted at all mobile users, the app lets the user decide on the ‘known individuals’ for the nest, and is thus very different from a ‘friend list’ or regular contacts.
The app is freely available on the Google Playstore and Apple Appstore. It has an SOS button in case of an emergency, which notifies two individuals through SMS. It can further be customized to broadcast a message to one’s nest. Users can also hide their location on the map, just by flipping a button in the settings.
We have registered good growth since our launch in April 2017. The response has been very positive. Our journey has just begun and we have already been recognized as a startup by the DIPP, GOI. We are looking at different models. These include corporate partnerships. Companies like The Smart Cube have rolled out this product for their employees. We are also partnering with schools and colleges. Reaching out to NGOs working on gender issues, to explore additional workable aspects is ongoing.
We have a single office and have a very frugal way of running the business. Our workforce is a mix of outsourced and in-house people.
We see ourselves more of a collaboration network. Our aim is to collaborate and not necessarily compete. Also, we are happy to help anyone who has a mission aligned with us. Safety and wellbeing are not a matter of competition, but an area where all of us need to come together.
However, we have our set of challenges. Quality talent pool is the critical most. The VC-funded fat paychecks have made getting talent for bootstrapped companies quite a struggle. We have spent significant time in curating the people who would like to work with us.
Next comes user education. The amount of efforts to familiarize users with an app has been directly proportional to the exponential rise in apps. As people understand the benefits, usage continues to grow. Also, the marketing budgets of externally funded startups make marketing a fairly expensive exercise.
However, the response has been encouraging: it has been embraced by some corporates based in the NCR for their employees. Advertisement being the principal source of revenue, user enrollment will attract potential advertisers. Our revenue model is based on location-specific, non-invasive form of advertising that does not manipulate a person’s emotions.
We plan to grow Ridenest across India, followed by other emerging markets.
Which travel sharing app do you bet on blindly for commuting? Do share your views.