Entrepreneurs: Simran Chavda & Ravi Kamdar
Business Name: Clyng
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 80
Sometimes your experience in life illuminates your ideas. A few years ago, Simran and Ravi, two aspiring entrepreneurs, decided to meet for a professional discussion. They couldn’t find a suitable place to sit and discuss their business plans. Their experience on that day gave them the idea of starting an online booking platform for workspaces.
That’s how Clyng, their business, was born. Clyng helps people book workspaces online. So, they don’t have to spend their productive time searching for place to work conveniently.
It is a platform that aggregates multiple commercial spaces (offices, meetings rooms & conference rooms) to fulfil short term real estate requirements for a vibrant community of freelancers, startups, entrepreneurs and corporates. The co-founders of Clyng speak in length about their startup story.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I met my partner Ravi Kamdar on one of my flights to the US. Following a brief conversation during the journey, I decided to connect with him through LinkedIn. It was a time when I had moved back to India with the plans to start something of my own.
Ravi and I planned to meet from India to discuss our business plan. I was not familiar with the city and didn’t know where was the best place for a meeting. Finally, we ended up meeting in a noisy coffee shop. We understood that there was not a professional meeting place for entrepreneurs and business. That’s how Clyng was born. Clyng is a platform that helps people book unique work space and meeting rooms by the hour, day, week or month.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Coworking industry is growing in India and it is expected to receive $400 million in investments by the end of 2018. Moreover, the industry will reach one million sq ft mark of leased ‘alternative’ work spaces by the end of the year in India. This opens a wide avenue of opportunities for aspiring business leaders with top-notch and affordable on-demand workspaces.
Besides, renting a small space in city costs a lion’s share of the capital investment. So, business leaders will always look for cheaper, reliable and top-notch workspaces where they get maximum productivity and networking opportunities. I think that the total space leased by coworking operators in the top cities could potentially stand at nearly 7–9 million sq ft by 2020. The most prevalent reasons for using shared spaces across the globe are reduced costs, no fixed capital investment and increased flexibility
Millennials will represent the largest generation in the workforce in the coming years which will result in a structural shift in the way business is done. It is estimated that by 2025, Generation Y will represent about 75% of the global workforce. A recent survey by FlexJob concluded that 82% of the millennials prefer flexibility as a major factor when evaluating job prospects. This is exactly what Clyng claims to do- provide professionals with affordable flexible temporary professional workspaces.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Both Ravi’s family and my family were highly supportive of our decision to start Clyng. Ravi Kamdar, cofounder Clyng, has also founded 2 previously companies so his experience and expertise are very crucial to the growth of Clyng. Both our families have been amazing support systems and been there right by our side along the journey. Every so often, we have Ravi’s 2 year our old, Moksh visit the office, and everyone in the office jokes about working seriously as our investor is on site.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced so far is being short sighted about our end goals. When I started off, my focus was entirely on getting funded and thus we ended up side tracking the product itself.
It is common for entrepreneurs to relate success directly with getting funded and that is exactly what happened with us. With in a few months, we realized that it was important for us to create a product/service that was valuable for our target audience to be successful. Big investments are definitely necessary to keep us going.
However, it was necessary for us to not just focus on the money. Instead, we decided to continue focusing on our end objective of actually making Clyng successful. Today at Clyng we emphasize on creating something that people truly care about and acquiring customers.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Keeping the growth stable is the most difficult part. Over the next 12 months, our emphasis will be on customer acquisition and raising funds as a part of our growth strategy.
We are also planning to bring angel investors or venture capitalists on board to pump in more investment to the company. If it doesn’t work, we would rely on our personal savings.
We will be seeking investors for funding over the next few months.However, we want to ensure that we have a sustainable product before pitching our idea in front of potential investors.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
For me time management and delegation play the most important roles for an entrepreneur. At Clyng we set timely deadlines for everyone on the team and have regular meeting between teams to ensure smooth communication.
We are a team of eight people currently, with a few members working off site, thus it is important for us to have good communication on a day to day basis to ensure quality work.
Similarly, we have set up group chats for the teams. Here everyone can update what they are working on, ask questions and collaborate. Likewise, delegation is very crucial for success.
This can sometimes be difficult as I am always trying to strive for perfection which is not possible. Thus when I achieve an excellent outcome, I accept that, and then move on the next task.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would carry out a more in depth market research before diving into creating the product. I would try to better understand the gap in the market and what the exact needs of the target audience are.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.” -Paul Graham
9) Where do you find inspiration?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. She inspires and motivates me to grow without any barriers everyday. Every morning she never fails to tell me “Today will be an amazing day at work”.
No matter what she decides to do, she will do it to the best of her ability, as perfectly as she can. It seems to me that this woman looks at life as a challenge and wholeheartedly intends to seize the day every day.
I have always seen her go through the biggest of struggles with a smile. She is an inspirational example for me on how to live life and make difficult choices, even in the most uncertain situations This strength she has, is my inspiration for Clyng and never giving up.
10) What is your favorite book?
Does the newspaper count?
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
It is important to have both short term and long term goals. Start your day by reading your goals and don’t be hesitant to add more goals to your list. Don’t ponder over what the next few months hold for you. Planning is the key to bright future. So, start planning now and work towards achieving your goals.
Moreover, never stop learning. Each day has something to teach us. Learning helps you evolve. Foster a positive relationship with your team and be a good leader with great values. That’s how you can lead a team towards success.
Entrepreneurs should always understand the pulse of the market. They must be able to foresee the requirements of customers. Simran and Ravi explored the opportunity in workspace industry, eyeing its manifold growth in future.
Workspaces are crucial in developing the startup ecosystem of the country. We have thousands of entrepreneurs working across different domains to develop their business. They all are seeking best places to unleash their productivity. This provides a wider scope for workspaces in future.
One thing that you should learn from these entrepreneurs is planning. Because planning is the pillar of your business. Moreover, having a goal too is crucial to move ahead in business, as Simran points out. So plan today to make you tomorrow better!