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Thrillophilia – A Thrilling Startup

Running a startup or even being a part of it in itself will get a free (startup) season ticket for an upside down rollercoaster ride which would be unlike anything entrepreneurs might have ever experienced. Now, what if the startup’s core business is also to thrill its patrons and cause them tremulous excitement..literally?!

Confused? Curious? Hang in there as we learn all about it first hand from the founder of one such startup.

Startups.in explores the great potential of adventure sports in India with Abhishek of Thrillophilia. Sit in tight as we take you on a ride you don’t want to miss.

1. What exactly is Thrillophilia.com? What are the thrills associated with this start-up?

Thrillophilia - Adventure Sports StartupThe Company THRILLOPHILIA deals with adventure-related activities on a pan-India level.

Be it rafting in the Tons or in the Kali River at Dandeli, Camel Safari in Ladakh or in the Thar Desert, Trekking around Bangalore or Ladakh, Scuba Diving in Lakshadweep or Andaman, we cater it all. We also have a number of Biking trips, Caving, Wildlife, Paragliding and many more adrenaline pumping adventure sports. India, having varied landscapes happens to be one of the finest destinations in the world for adventure activities.

Thrillophilia addresses the adventure needs under one roof and promotes India as a world class adventure destination. Thrillophilia is a one spot destination where one can find adventure information about various places of India, read adventure travelogues, share experiences, buy adventure merchandise and also book adventure trips.

2. We believe that there is a story behind the origin of every startup. Could you please share with us the motivation and the story behind yours?

There are many things that we can do with our lives. Some things are done for satisfaction; some are done for money and some to gain power. And then there are some things which one wants to do only because one believes in them. We have always been excited by adventure activities and there is nothing better than doing what we love. We are on our way to provide everyone with the one thing that we have always loved. That is adventure and thrill and that is what we do at Thrillophilia.

The story of Thrillophilia revolves around four best pals from childhood — Abhishek Tripathi, Abhishek Daga , Chitra Gurnani and Vikram Arora. All four of us used to go for weekend hikes, biking trips, Himalayan safaris, Scuba diving, Paragliding etc. Many times we had difficulty in finding the right information and the right vendors. At times we even risked ourselves a lot due to incompetence of the vendors. Then the idea struck us – why not make a complete resource for adventure. That was the day just before Diwali when Thrillophilia was born.

Because of the quality of our services Thrillophilia will not face much competition.

3. Are there any other players providing similar services? If yes, who are your major competitors?

There are plenty of service providers in adventure sports market .The number could be around 10,000 or more. Most of the competitors of Thrillophilia cater to a particular region. None of our competitors provide valuable information to the user as we do in our Adventure Bible. We have done our homework well, getting right people (more experienced, well equipped and more professional) on board. Because of the quality of our services Thrillophilia will not face much competition. Adventure Sports market is growing in India at the rate of 24% annually. Out of more then 10,000 vendors in Industry only less then 30-40 serve the industry standards. Through our experiences and extensive research Thrillophilia has identified these companies. We highly appreciate them for the good work they are doing and have also formed an alliance with some of them and will continue to do that more in future. It’s all about taking the game to next level and only people who understand the sport, the value of customer care and are not in it just for money can win.

Adventure Sports market is growing in India at the rate of 24% annually. Out of more then 10,000 vendors in Industry only less then 30-40 serve the industry standards.

4. Any significant features of Thrillophilia.com we should know?

Adventure Bible’ is a link on the website which powers under it a huge database of above 500 explored and unexplored adventure destinations of India. We share all this information on our website, “free of cost” for people to devise their own adventure trips. Not to forget that Mother Nature is our only inventory; we follow strict environment policies on all our tours. At the Merchandise section on the website, one can find a vast catalog of adventure related products that we sell. Besides this most of the places in India where adventure trips are possible have been covered in the Trips and Events section on the website. We are constantly devising newer packages for the undiscovered, leftover places and trying to come up with more trips for our customers to choose from.

5. How is your start-up doing do so far? How well was it received by the community? What kind of traffic does it see? Please share any significant achievements.

We have not launched our website yet. We plan to launch it in early August (editors’ note: the site is now live at Thrillophilia.com). However, we have adventure blogs on facebook and other social media profiles and we receive very good response from the readers.

6. Could you tell us more about yourself, your position & other key players in your start-up, if any?

As mentioned above that Thrillophilia revolves around four friends – I, Abhishek Tripathi, Chitra and Vikram. All four of us are the founders of this organization. From the development of the idea, to the involved research, experiencing the sports with the vendors, finding the right vendors, creation of the website, content, marketing plan all have been executed by these people. Each of us has been into various aspects at any point of time with specializing in one of them.

Funding should never be an issue and should not into the growth and development of Thrillophilia.

7. How large is the team behind your start-up? Are you all based in India?

Our team comprises of  7 members right now. We have offices in Bangalore and Jaipur and are working on the setting up of the third office in California. One of our team member has been in California since the last two months. He is exploring the opportunities for Thrillophilia there.

8. How is your start-up being funded so far? Did you receive any other external funding? If not, do you plan on seeking external funding?

It is completely self funded and we do not plan to go for external funding for the next one year. However if the situation demands us to go for external funding also, we have potential investors who have time and again shown interest in funding Thrillophilia. Funding should never be an issue and should not into the growth and development of Thrillophilia.

9. Did you encounter any initial hiccups while pitching the idea? Could you please explain the process you followed that might help other future entrepreneurs planning to startup?

There will be lots and lots of hiccups and issues especially when this is your first business and when you do not have the guidance of some businessmen along the way. However, this is part and parcel of the game and one should not get discouraged with this rather should keep moving till the goal is reached. I have penned down a few steps in line that can help future entrepreneurs:

1. Idea – First develop on the idea and make it sound and strong after thorough research and analysis.
2. Plan – If you are seeking external funding then a well documented business plan.
3. Capital – Work on the finances. After you are done with your finance plan arrange double the money. New opportunities, new marketing ideas and hidden costs and problems will arise. Have cash in hand.
4. Development – Start development of the product.
5. Schedule – Decide timelines and keep double the time in hand.
6. Legalities – Get all the legal stuff done like company registration, trademark, vat, tin, tan, pan card, service tax registration etc.
7. Branding – Get your logo, domain name and website up.
8. Trends – Think of Web2.0 latest features which you can add to your website. Even if you are in restaurant business or steel industry, a website is a must in today’s world. Your biggest clients will now be definitely net savvy.
9. Infrastructure – Get your bank accounts done. If selling online then payment gateway is must.
10. Marketing – Execute your marketing plan. Spend high to catch your visibility.

10. What are key technologies your service is built upon and why did you opt for them?

Web 2.0 based technologies is what we used to give better interface to our web clients. Since our client interaction is web based and gives the first impression of the company, we therefore have done immense investments on the website and getting the right material online.

11. In your experience, what has been the most effective way to market a business?

The marketing plan depends on the nature of business and the target consumer more. Though everything is transitioning to online mode and people are becoming more and more Net savvy, we still cannot say that Internet marketing is the best tool. For the Big Bazaar retail store as an example, offline marketing is still a better tool than online marketing.

So, there is no absolute answer to this and generalization is not possible. I can answer this question from the perspective of Thrillophilia. We have not started operations yet but I guess Internet and word of mouth marketing are the best way of marketing. If our customers are happy and provide positive feedback about our services on Internet as well as help spread the word, then it will be the best marketing we can ever have.

They are the foundation rocks which will help your company grow and will support you in tough times.

12.  Do you have any personal advice/suggestions for current/future entrepreneurs of Indian startups?

Just do it. You have to dive into the water to learn to swim. Success and failure are just two facets.

To take the worst scenario – even if the start up fails, the learning that one has in the whole process is more than valuable and it gives one enough encouragement and confidence in life to do anything moving forward and everything that the human mind can think of.

Also, be patient and give enough time to your company to grow. Plan things properly, execute them well, find what’s going wrong when the expected results are not coming, what’s not working and fix it. You are bound to succeed. Even before doing smallest of things ask yourself – “Why?”.

The most important thing – know your product well, if you have worked as an employee for years in a company, try to start something where you can use your experience and knowledge. Diving in new water is always difficult but not impossible.

Last but not the least – “Everyone doesn’t get a chance to fulfill his/her dreams. So, just DO IT.”

13. On a personal front, who is your role model? Also, do you follow any other websites religiously?

Lonely Planet is our role model. I personally am a big fan of theirs. I follow all my competitors’ websites very religiously.

You need to believe in yourself. If you are capable, carry the right attitude and have right set of friends and family you will certainly reach your destination.

14. How did being an entrepreneur affect your lifestyle? Do you get enough time for yourself/family?

Well, being an entrepreneur means working 14-16 hours a day even if you are the most self managed person in the universe. You will never be satisfied if you work less than this as there is no end to betterment. Thrillophilia stays in my mind 24*7. If you are not thinking 24*7, if you are not feeling it 24*7 then probably you are not the entrepreneur material.

I am a big fan of Stephen Covey and I have my personal goals as well in my “To Do List”. So, family and friends are never away. They are the foundation rocks which will help your company grow and will support you in tough times. Never miss on them.

15. One thing that you love the most?

The expected answer generally is Thrillophilia but that is not just the case and perhaps is not justified.

Family and Friends is my answer. If I sacrifice family and friends to reach the top, maybe I will eat better but I will certainly be lonely there. I have shared my most valuable, most precious, most fulfilled and most thrilling moments with them and now how can Thrillophilia replace them. We need to understand the priorities in life very clearly.

You need to believe in yourself. If you are capable, carry the right attitude and have right set of friends and family you will certainly reach your destination.

Get Thrilled.

(If you are an Indian startup and would like to be interviewed or featured on Startups.in then we’d be happy to talk to you. Contact us right away.)

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