Suyash's Blog


The Blog Comes To An End

posted 10 Mar 2016, 05:09 by Lakhotia Suyash   [ updated 11 Mar 2016, 02:25 ]

The MiE Business Showcase ended exactly 24 hours ago and it was an inspiring few hours where we learnt about all our peers' successes & failures throughout their respective entrepreneurial ventures. It was interesting to see the common problems we all faced as well as the unique hurdles the different ventures had to overcome. Overall, it was a great evening that ended in a lot of photos with everyone trying to capture the end of a great journey.

The team w/ Mr. Roderick Chia

The team w/ Mr. Adrian Chye

With that being said, this is definitely not the end for TripBuddy. The team has decided to continue with the venture even after the end of this module and we hope to launch by this summer. However, with our access to the blog being restricted tomorrow, this is going to be my last blog post here. Till next time!


P.S. For the future batches of ET 9135 - remember three very important things:
  1. Find a great team. You can overcome anything with a team that is capable and cohesive.
  2. What can go wrong will go wrong. Prepare for all (and I mean ALL) the different possible outcomes.
  3. Yes, it happens to everyone. Whatever you're going through right now as part of your entrepreneurial journey has probably happened to everyone else. You'll get through it. Don't give up!

It's Show(case) Time!

posted 4 Mar 2016, 07:45 by Lakhotia Suyash

There have always been two sides to TripBuddy. The first fulfils the academic requirements of the ET 9135 module while the second hustles to launch a successful startup. It's time to focus on the first side for a few days now as the final presentation i.e. MiE Business Showcase closes in along with other module-related deadlines.

Considering we're probably the only company in this batch of entrepreneurs that hasn't launched their main product yet, our business showcase presentation will have to be slightly different. We've come up with a presentation outline that we're pretty excited about and we're making the slides as I write this blog update. It's been an interesting four months since TripBuddy started and we're pretty thrilled to share our story.

In other news, ACRA's system is still facing difficulties and we can't seem to legally register our company. This is causing massive setbacks in our timeline because we can't launch our web platform until we have our company set up since our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy rely on having a separate legal entity. At the same time, the payment engine we're integrating will also require some sort of legal proof of our incorporation once we start accepting payments. Ben has been looking into the issue and we're all hoping for a quick resolution.

See you at the Business Showcase on Wednesday!

The Myth of a Protected Silo

posted 19 Feb 2016, 01:03 by Lakhotia Suyash

Back for my fortnightly update.

Something that has become quite evident the past couple weeks is that it is nearly impossible to work in a silo, protected from all external factors. The reality is that pretending the outside world doesn't exist and minimising buffers will always end up firing back.

During the CNY weekend, I injured my wrist badly and wasn't able to move it properly for a week. Considering I need both my hands to code efficiently, this was a massive blow. In addition to that, just a few days after, my computer completely crashed and after spending two days at the Apple Store, it was clear I had no choice but to get a new one. This meant spending another two days setting up this new laptop (with one working hand) and recovering all my data (including important TripBuddy files). And to top it off, all my academic deadlines & quizzes got set to Launch Week i.e. this week. Sigh.

While these are not excuses for my drop in efficiency, they are reasons the team has kindly acknowledged. However, now that everything is sorted, it's time to go full speed ahead. Nikhil & I are meeting later tonight to further work on the beta (that's currently live on www.tripbuddy.xyz) before he flies home for the next two weeks. We're still waiting on the deliverables from the other team members before we publicly launch the platform to our main domain - www.tripbuddy.sg

In other news, the legal set-up of the company has been delayed due to ACRA facing some technical issues. Ben is looking into it and will keep us updated on the situation. We're also looking at whether or not we can publicly launch & accept payments before being legally set-up as a company.

That's all for now. Later.

Patience is Key

posted 5 Feb 2016, 20:11 by Lakhotia Suyash

Since my last blog post a couple of weeks ago, a few major things have happened. Firstly, we submitted our application to legally set up our company as 'TripBuddy PTE. LTD.', however, Ben still has to update the team on whether the entire process has been completed successfully. Secondly, in order to increase the overall efficiency of the team, we've decided to hold weekly Skype meetings on Mondays to make sure everyone's in the loop & receiving feedback from each other.

The team has also decided to delay the launch date to the 20th of February. While this has cost us the initial marketing boom we had planned for the start of this semester, I believe this decision will be highly beneficial for us in the long run. While our launch date is the 20th, we'll be launching a beta of the online platform on the 8th of February so that we can rigorously test & debug our product before launch. However, this will require the team to honour the deadline of 7th Feb for all their deliverables needed for the beta launch.

In other news, over the past couple weeks, I've also gone to two entrepreneurship-related seminars held at NTC. The first, by Mr. Vineet Jawa, was mainly focused on the harsh reality of entrepreneurship and how to overcome these drawbacks. The next seminar I went to was the MiE Speaker Series, which had a panel of speakers from various organisations  Robert Baskerville, Executive Director of JP Morgan Chase, Melvin Tan, CEO of Equal Assets Group, Yash Shah & Wee Kee Chia, from Synpulse Management Consulting & Jon Tse, Head of Digital Zookal. The series was mainly focused on how technology is shaping the service industry and why every company must always adopt to the latest technology in order to stay ahead of their competition.

A New Semester Begins

posted 23 Jan 2016, 00:19 by Lakhotia Suyash

Since the semester started a couple of weeks ago, a lot has happened. Unfortunately, not too much to do with TripBuddy. With STARS, Add/Drop Period, Exchange Applications & Internship Applications, everyone has had their plate full the past few weeks. Next week looks more promising, though, with our schedules finally opening up and motivation to launch TripBuddy on an incline once again.

However, if we're going to do this, we're going to do this right. As a company, we've decided not to just launch a MVP and build from there. We want a fully functional product in the hands of our consumers from the beginning and continuously improve it using a constant flow of customer feedback. Thus, since the launch date is closer than ever, I believe it would be better to delay the launch as opposed to launching a buggy & incomplete product considering the dev side is taking many hits with setbacks due to unforeseen bugs.

We should be meeting next week as a team for the first time this semester and I'll update this blog once that's done. That's all for now!

Quick Update: Pre-launch Webpage is Up!

posted 3 Jan 2016, 08:10 by Lakhotia Suyash

So, while we were technically on a break for the festive season, considering our deadline, we still got a few things done before we dive back into work later this week.

Firstly, the issues we had with our domain name for the past few months have finally been sorted! We've also launched our coming soon website, which is pretty exciting! At the same time, the entire web application is also about 75% ready for our beta launch!

On the non-tech side of things, we're still waiting for the legal procedure(s) to set up the company, however, Ben is working on it.

Signing off for now. Happy New Year everybody!

Alpha Testing Has Begun!

posted 26 Dec 2015, 04:10 by Lakhotia Suyash   [ updated 26 Dec 2015, 04:13 ]

The past two (three?) weeks have just been a cycle of coding & sleeping. In order to meet our launch date in mid-Jan, we've had to put in a lot of hours on the tech side of the company in order to get the platform up and running. Over the past few days, we've completed the alpha version of our product and have begun vigorous testing on it. If everything goes according to plan, a beta version of the platform should be ready by the first week of January.

On a side note, we've also been looking deeper into the legal setup of TripBuddy.sg. After reading up and finding out more about the multiple ways of registering as either an LLP or a Private Limited Company, we've come to realise that the easiest way to register would be for Ben & Ernest to create an LLP while the rest of us join as external shareholders. We've asked Ben to find out more about the procedures, costs & documents involved. Since we'll have to setup a separate legal entity before we launch our platform, it is extremely critical that Ben comes up with a solid plan to setup the LLP as soon as possible.

Well, that's it for now. The tech team has decided on taking a well deserved break for the holiday season and will get back to the grind on the 2nd of January!

Work, Work, Work

posted 11 Dec 2015, 07:27 by Lakhotia Suyash

Aaaand the examination period finally comes to an end. After a particularly challenging set of examinations, I'm ready to get back to work on TripBuddy.sg. In fact, we've already started work at full throttle.

Exams ended last week and on the Monday of this week, the tech team met to start working on the online platform. We've decided on the technologies we're going to use to build the platform and have started coding in full swing. The goal is to get a minimal platform up and running first and add additional features as we move on, getting the final platform ready for launch in mid-January 2016.

In addition to the tech side of things, we also submitted our application for the YSE 2016 programme on the 8th. If we manage to get into that (fingers crossed), we'll have access to world-class mentors, a global network of entrepreneurs and a priceless opportunity to develop our idea and business model further.

On a side note, we've also been looking at the legalities of setting up the company as a separate legal entity, however, due to various complications, it's slightly more difficult than we imagined. But on the bright side, I'm almost done drafting up our external "Shareholders' Agreement" and we should be signing that soon as official partners.

That's about it for now. Gotta get back to coding!

Progress Report

posted 15 Nov 2015, 08:19 by Lakhotia Suyash

So, over the past couple of weeks, we held a couple more offline (i.e. not through the platform) trips, came to a consensus on a timeline for the development & initial marketing of the online platform and decided on our team for the YSE Programme.

Firstly, regarding the offline trips, I was unable to join my team due to medical reasons but the feedback we received from the exchange students who went on the trip as well as our own team's observations was extremely positive. However, we did find some minor areas of concern that we have taken note of. The purpose of conducting these offline trips is to better understand how the online platform should eventually be built as well as to learn first-hand where our quality checking should be focused once we scale up. With exams around the corner, offline trips have been put on pause but we hope to conduct a couple more here & there soon.

The timeline we came up with for the development and initial marketing of the online platform is attached to this post. While the timeline is more challenging than we anticipated, we will try our absolute hardest to achieve the goals laid out in front of us as soon as possible. Oh well, looks like December is going to be fuelled by coffee & RedBull.

The last thing on the agenda of our meeting last Friday was the YSE Programme. I decided on the team being Nikhil, Ernest and I as we make a good mix of technical & marketing skills, two things that are very important for an enterprise like TripBuddy.sg. The application for the YSE Programme is due on the 9th of December, hence, we will mostly be addressing that post-exams (i.e. 3rd December onwards). However, brainstorming for the same has already begun in full swing.

Till next time.

A New Opportunity? Maybe.

posted 1 Nov 2015, 07:08 by Lakhotia Suyash   [ updated 1 Nov 2015, 07:09 ]

So, quite a bit has happened since the last blog post. Firstly, Ernest came up with a new logo for the company! Personally, I feel it's aesthetically less pleasing than the old one but it portrays our company's mission very well, which I really like. So, on the overall, I'm quite pleased with what Ernest has come up with. :D

We also submitted our business plan as well as presented our proposed venture to Mr. Chia and the rest of our batch. The presentation went fairly well and we received many great suggestions from the group. However, as it is with any new movement/product/company, there were many skeptics as well, whose concerns we have seriously considered and built a plan to counter. The main concern from the audience was whether or not we would have enough local students signing up on the platform to become hosts. I think it's just a matter of how we spin it & sell it to them and the team has great marketing ideas in mind.

Lastly, we also went to an information session on Friday (30th October) at NTC regarding the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF). The YSE programme allows budding entrepreneurs to gain access to a massive community of mentors, industry leaders and other like-minded entrepreneurs. At the same time, selected teams also win grants up to S$20,000 for their venture. I feel this is a great opportunity for us to kickstart our company and we will be applying to this programme as soon as possible.

Attached is a picture of the team with the speaker from the YSE Information Session.

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