By Nitish Nigam
Entrepreneurship is not a one-off thing, it is an attitude, a way of thinking, and above all, it is foresight in action. Ravi Bhushan is one such young Indian entrepreneur who, since the age of 18, had been showing keen interest in start-ups, developing business plans and taking initiatives for new ventures. Today, at 22, he is one of the founding members of Locomi and You-At apart from being involved in a lot of other ventures and entrepreneurship seminars and conferences.
Ravi, having finished his high-school from Martiniere for Boys School, Kolkata with distinctions, joined Singapore Management University, Singapore in 2005 on the SMU scholarship. Alongside his dual degree in Information Systems Management and Business Management, as the Vice-President of SMU Ventures (an entrepreneurship society), he gave it new dimensions and also won the CitiBank Case Challenge, which only fueled his aspirations further more.
Locomi, is a side project which Ravi is working on with friends – Sumit Shah (USC California) and Siddharth Vanchinathan (Manipal, India) and its beta version is now on Facebook. They started Locomi because of their shared passion for good food. There was nothing more fun for them than discovering a great but relatively unknown place to eat or hang out. Despite the plethora of review sites out there there were none that allowed them to share a new discovery with their friends or see places their social circle had liked and recommended. It was to satiate this need that Locomi was born.
Users upon installing the application are asked to pin point where they stay. Once plotted, the application shows them various destinations around their localities, divided into 4 categories: Food & Beverages, Shopping, Entertainment and Utilities. Users can then review and rate places they have already been to and read reviews from others. The latest reviews and ratings are pushed out to users in a city, while an easy to use search interface means that they can easily find what they are looking for. Users can invite others to hang out at a local destination, recommend a place to a friend, or reminisce about a place they recently visited together. It has currently been launched in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Singapore and is still growing. (not true).
Before Locomi however, Ravi had founded a company called You-At with the same team. They were looking at a nascent market in India - providing online learning platforms which would be delivered at an affordable cost to educational institutions in India using Open Source Solutions.
Currently, Indian colleges have very archaic systems to enable communication between faculty and students outside of the classroom. Some colleges for example use a chain-messaging system (Professor SMSs one student, he/she SMSs ten others and so on) for informing students about class cancellations or exam updates.
Some of the best colleges do not have an email system, and notes are photocopied instead of downloading over the internet. You-At tends to these needs at affordable costs, conveniently selling convenience. Even though he already bagged contracts for 5 institutions in India, which You-At still services till date, its expansion requires full-time attention and is therefore shelved for sometime as the founding members are working abroad.
Recently graduated from Singapore Management University, Ravi is currently servicing his 3-year bond in Singapore and thoroughly enjoying his time in the Graduate Development Program atOracle. No matter how much it is suppressed, the budding entrepreneur in him will soon be scaling heights.
Disintegrate Ravi into his basic ingredients and you will find the recipe of an entrepreneur, with the right amount of foresight, initiative and motivation, along with a convincing and confident personality and go-getter attitude. He wants to be a full time entrepreneur after learning the ropes at the corporate level.
In spite of the numerous start-up opportunities in Singapore with easy access to venture capitalists, Ravi’s responsiveness to the needs of Indian colleges and quality of education is commendable. There are some people in whom we talent brewing and they must be watched. He is certainly one of them. Way to go Ravi!!
Often misquoted for leaving their country and stepping up for the globalization race, we often belittle the love and commitment of the young Indians towards their country. They may be away from home and enjoying in whichever part of the world they are in, the connection never seems to get lost; they still care and are always there to uphold the ‘India Shining’ banner in whatever small way they can, whenever they can.
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