Techie launches Hosteldunia
By Hitesh Shetty
The booming IT-BPO Sector has empowered many Techies to pursue their heart felt calling even when it involves spending long hours of their free time to build a Portal that would help solve the problem of accommodation for others. Needless to say, the catalyst of Hosteldunia was the personal experience of Techie Raju Ambaragonda when he had to look for a rental after college.
Hosteldunia.com provides its clients with an in-depth and much needed information about hostels around them. They plan to take this idea to the rest of India as well
Techgoss (TG): Tell us about your educational qualifications? Tell us about your Techie background?
Raju Ambaragonda: I graduated in B.Sc (MPC) from Kakatiya University, then went for PGDIT course in Osmania University Campus and Post Graduated in MSIT (Ecommerce specialization) from JNTU Hyderabad campus in 2011.
Later, I joined Progress Software Hyderabad (a product based company) as a Software Engineer where I am working on web technologies.
TG: How did the 'Hostel Dunia' startup come into existence? How does it work?
Raju Ambaragonda: After graduating from college two years ago, it was imperative to look out for accommodation outside my university first time in my life. Until then, I have been used to the convenient hostel facilities provided by the city colleges where I studied in. That’s when I realised how difficult it was to find a decent place to live in, especially when the online user directories provided only contact details of hostels and no further information.
The idea of starting Hosteldunia came to me during my personal struggle to find an ideal accommodation. I realised that there are so many people coming into the city every day for work, studies, and so on. I thought why not provide detailed information about hostels after personally checking them out, including what these places offer and what they don’t.
We can proudly say that hosteldunia.com is giving the best search results for hostels which are based on around 20 parameters that hostel seekers can use for a refined search to find what they want.
TG: Tell us about the serious challenges that you faced during the entire startup process? How easy/difficult was it to balance your regular IT job with a new found passion?
Raju Ambaragonda: Building the website was easy; the biggest challenge was to get people to trust us, especially owners to register their hostels on the site.
Initially I felt that balancing both my IT job and the start-up was a bit tough; however the passion I had and the great people support I had around me drove me to make it happen. I used to spend daily 8-9 hrs on office work and rest 4-5 hrs on hosteldunia.com to build the website and collect the information by visiting hostels personally on weekends.
TG: What is the demographic 'Hostel Dunia' is most popular with? Do IT/BPO employees constitute the majority of your customers?
Raju Ambaragonda: Hosteldunia.com currently features over 1,000 hostels in Hyderabad city. We have received over a 1,00,000 views so far, with 150 unique visitors every day. Most of the users are women or students moving from Bengaluru and Chennai. The most searched locations are Madhapur and Ameerpet.
Our main customers are hostel owners and we have 3 kinds of visitors - Students, Employees (especially IT) and Travellers.
TG: What is the current revenue model of the startup? What are your future plans?
Raju Ambaragonda: I plan to keep the service free for those seeking accommodation and the business model heavily depends on subscriptions and promotional offerings for hostel owners
Currently we are running the Beta version to check the response and immediate plans to include making the website live by December end and also plan to branch out this to all major cities in India.