If movies conceptualised and executed by foreign directors and scriptwriters, rate as a reliable benchmark to understand the general perception of India among the world, images of the Taj Mahal, snake charmers, elephants, sadhus bathing in the Ganges or smoking chillums, slums in Mumbai and congested cities, keep doing the rounds time and again.
Its not that these images ought to be frowned upon, its just that the human tendency to generalise and stereotype, particularly does not bode well for India.
One, because, India is too culturally diverse, and two, the country is so vast that one could be forgiven to misinterpret the fact that India is home to geographic terrain of all types and sizes. Until and unless foreign tourists choose their guides well, they run the risk of carrying an image of India, that barely scratches the surface of what this country has to offer, ending up in the same boat as generations of tourists gone by, who did not spend some time doing research to tackle India’s plethora of experiential diversity on offer.
By interpreting the tourist market in this way, there is a product-market fit for a travel company which identifies foreign tourists through their online content, delivers and plans their end-to-end stay in India, from the airport when they land, to helping them see an India that has not been sufficiently tapped upon to experience the influx of tourism.
Enter Moto Overlanders.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Moto Overlanders is an experiential travel company aiming at providing off beat, culturally rich experiences throughout India. This might sound like any other travel company but it’s really not. Our target is to reach people who love the experiences they gain out of travel and the stories they want to collect. We are not catering to the tourist segment who want to knock off destinations from a list. Our venture aims to portray our country for the rich, diverse enigma it is and would like foreigners to take that away from their India trip. Having travelled extensively in India, we have collected a lot of experiences that we would love to share with others as well and through Moto Overlanders we want travellers to experience their own adventures in India.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
A year ago we met a bunch of foreigners who had come to India for a month long visit. We all got talking and they told me that they had covered Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Varanasi on their journey and were then exploring Kerala. This got us thinking about why most of the tourists we meet, have the same itinerary. Sadly, most foreigners who come to India are exposed to a handful to destinations in India and that is the India they take with them to their homes. We want to change that impression and expose them to a wider array of destinations throughout India. You would never hear a foreign tourist talking about visiting Ravangla or Jowai. Most Indians wouldn’t know where these are. This is the problem we are trying to address. We want every local host to experience the influx of tourism, for travellers to experience the complete India! All Moto Overlanders trips will be personally delivered by us and that’s one way its different from other companies.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Vidur – An MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, Vidur has extensively sales and marketing experience in organizations like Dell, Deloitte, AXA and has been the core member of startups like Little Internet and Loylty Rewardz. With over 15 years of experience, he has lead large teams driving revenue generation and customer acquisition for companies across domains.
Archana – An MBA from Sikkim Manipal, Archana started her career as an Air Hostess with Indigo Airlines. Post that she has worked and led expansions of organizations like Lakme, Nispana, Ykone, Little Internet etc. Her forte is in sales, customer handling and strategy and all her previous employers vouch for these skills J
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Bangalore. It’s the best place because we live here J Apart from this Bangalore is a tech hub and a lot of travel startups are coming out of our city. So this provides us with a relevant eco system to connect and learn from!
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Getting everything right!! We understand how intense and fierce the competition is and even one mistake can pull our brand down. This is the reason why we are still working on our website because we weren’t happy with the initial draft. We want to provide the best experiences to our clients – be it the site, our content, our interactions or the tours we provide!
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Well, every single travel company is our competition because they take a share of the pie. But apart from that fact, we really don’t consider most of them to be our competition because what we offer is very different from them. We are not your regular travel OTA or tour operators. We are hosts in India who deliver personalised experiential tours ourselves, hand crafted from years of real travel experience. We take you to places we’ve been to, you experience what we have experienced! Not many companies can offer this.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
It’s extremely challenging for us since while we are looking for an office space, we work from home. And sometimes it’s difficult to focus or prioritise personal vs work tasks. But Archana and I have learnt how to divide work, make checklists and focus on bigger, important tasks first. We also break up bigger tasks into smaller items to make them look simpler. And it works most of the time!
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have an offer from an investor in the US but at the moment we are holding off on it. The plan is to do a soft launch soon and then get some traction going. With 3 tours already under our belt, even before launching our site, we are confident of getting constant business soon. And once we are in a position to expand our offerings, then we will look at funding and hiring a team.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
That we plan to do something that most other travel companies are doing. Yes, we make packages and sell them. But we are not your regular OTA or tour company providing impersonal services. We intend to be Indian travel hosts for people from abroad. Think of us as a local guide who not only takes you around but also handles everything right from the time you land here, to the time you leave. Moto Overlanders is an amalgamation of varied travel services combined into one package!
What gets you excited about this company?
Meeting new people and giving them a glimpse into our country! There’s so much to showcase in India and we would love to travel with people who’d like to experience that!
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Haha, well our day is a mess. From the minute we wake up, our time goes in engaging with people who interact with us on our blogging handle, Travelmynation. We get our posts ready for both, Travelmynation and Moto Overlanders and share them online. From there onwards, we work on the leads we receive for both and reach out to prospective clients/customers. Photo editing, content creation, engagement with followers, and emailing takes up most of our time! And once all this is over, we do some reading, a little research and that’s when we call it a night!
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
For now our team consists of Archana and I. At the current stage of our company, we have allocated all our work between the both of us but we do receive a lot of support from friends and family. Archana and I met in 2015, when I hired her to lead a team at Little App. From there, we got to know each other, our common interests and soon we had tied the knot J
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