Team Blog

Business Showcase

posted 8 Mar 2016, 22:33 by Nikhil Venkatesh

Well.. it was time for us to focus on the mod requirements for a bit as the business showcase approached. And hence, for the past three four days we've been working on our presentation and content for the Business Showcase. We've brought about this concept of a Project Global Citizen which we will be talking about at our presentation today. Project Global Citizen is our initiative to break down cultural barriers throughout the world through our website. The concept is themed as follows - Imagine a world where you can go to 30 different countries and have friends there to show you around. This begins with a exchange of culture and tradition in one place. 

More importantly, we're also going to talk about the lessons we've learnt through the course of these 4 months and what we're probably going to face in the future.
  1. Whatever timeline we made, it didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, we are student entrepreneurs doing this for part time. Any person engaging in a startup while in university has to understand that they don't have 24 hours in a day to work. They have more like 6 hours in a week.
  2. Never underestimate the time that external factors are going to take. This point is of huge significance in our venture particularly because we've been fighting it out with ACRA to set up our company for the past month. Usually this takes about 20 minutes to set up. 
  3. We had fluctuating motivation levels throughout our venture and this is the case with our sister ventures in this MiE course. Not everyone in the team will have the same motivation level throughout the course of your time.
But all that being said, these were just lessons we learnt through these 4 months. Our venture is not over yet. We plan to continue our social movement into the future. So keep a weary eye for us as we take NTU exchange stories to a whole new level. At this point I'd like to mention a quote from Yoda that has kept us going for this long and will keep us motivated in the future. 

"Do or Do not, There is no Try"

Time is the Essence

posted 7 Feb 2016, 03:19 by Nikhil Venkatesh   [ updated 7 Feb 2016, 09:45 by Lakhotia Suyash ]

As the days have passed, the online platform has been slightly delayed due to technical concerns. We came together on the 26th of Jan to consolidate all the outstanding work the team has yet to be completed. We have also began to schedule regular meetings in view of our platform launch.

We started to increase the pace of our final stages of preparation to launch the platform in February. All members of the team are clear of their roles and responsibilities in ensuring that the company would be ready for the launch.

The incorporation of the company has begun and is awaiting the letter of confirmation from the authority.

We're Getting Close

posted 8 Jan 2016, 08:39 by Bobby Ranjan   [ updated 8 Jan 2016, 22:19 by Lakhotia Suyash ]

It's been a tough month of preparation with the online platform being built, the marketing plans being finalised and the legal incorporation of TripBuddy.SG.

The website is close to completion now, and is only being held up due to an extended development period, where we're conducting extensive testing and refining the platform to provide the perfect user experience. We've also launched our coming soon website, which we're really excited about.

The marketing plans are ready, and we're currently in the process of coming up with the material to realise these plans. We don't wanna spoil it by revealing our plans here, so you'll have to wait. But we're sure you'll love what we have in store for you.

We're also done with getting the legal documents written down and should incorporate soon. That way, as soon as the platform goes up, we can have all hands on deck for the crucial initial stages.

That's all for now!

The Social Entrepreneur

posted 9 Dec 2015, 00:10 by Nikhil Venkatesh   [ updated 10 Dec 2015, 21:55 by Lakhotia Suyash ]

So, it's been a while since our last blog update. We had to pause a bit because of the examination period, however, we have resumed operations for the startup since. The main goals for this month include the tech development i.e. building of the online platform, coming up with an effective marketing plan as well as the related marketing materials & the completion of the Young Social Entrepreneurs application.

We managed to complete the latter over the past 4 days. The YSE application consisted of 3 main parts - a 3 page business idea summary, a BMC supported with proof of concept and any additional documents we wanted to provide. Apart from a potential SGD 20,000 funding, the YSE program provides several benefits such as an excellent mentorship program and a global network of friends to support our idea.

From the tech side, the development of the platform is underway. We're looking into all options on hand to try and complete the project as soon as possible. Extensive testing will be needed before the start of the next semester so that we're completely ready for anything thrown in our way.

On another note, before our exams started, we successfully hosted two more trips offline as mentioned in our earlier schedule. These trips were a huge success because we used them as a testing ground for what our actual platform would work like. We asked the exchange students to pay the money upfront and then hosted the trips in a way we expect our future hosts to. It worked like a charm. In fact, people were happier paying the money upfront. The overall response for the trips was positive and the exchange students were quite satisfied with what they received. 

Alright then, it's time for us to get back to work on the development. Till next time!

The Plunge

posted 7 Nov 2015, 08:40 by Lakhotia Suyash   [ updated 7 Nov 2015, 08:43 ]

Over the past couple meetings, we have been planning out our timeline for the following months of November, December & January as well as considering whether to go forward with the YSE Programme.

As a team, we've decided to apply for the YSE Programme, not for the grant, but the fringe benefits that we will get if we get in, which includes world-class mentoring, international exposure as well as infinitely useful networking opportunities. However, due to the fact that YSE only allows teams of a maximum size of 3 people, we had to leave out a couple of cofounders from the programme, which wasn't the easiest decision. Since YSE's criteria for the team is the diversity as well as competency of the team, we have decided to include the CEO, CMO & CTO in the team as our product is primarily a technical platform and since we are creating a movement, marketing will play an extremely big role.

Regards to the timeline and plan for the following 3 months, we came to a consensus on the plan attached to this post. After coming up with the timeline on paper, we came to a realisation of how short of a timeline we have to set up everything for our initial launch in early January. However, we are up for the challenge and will make sure everything runs as planned.

Well, time to get started on building a movement. Till next time!

The Planning

posted 25 Oct 2015, 21:07 by Nikhil Venkatesh   [ updated 7 Nov 2015, 08:30 by Lakhotia Suyash ]

As customary with any startup, we made our first business plan in the past two weeks. Contents of these are spread throughout this site. We are done with our business presentation for the module as well. We were quite happy with the outcome of the presentation after putting so much effort into getting it right. We hope we answered the questions a lot of skeptics in the audience had about our business idea and clearly laid out what we hope to achieve - a movement.

Mr. Roderick suggested some interesting ideas that could be vital for our sustenance. His suggestions were as follows:
- Implement a review system with partial refund for poor reviews of hosts.
- Look for departments in the Government or NTU that look to support such ventures.
- Source your first hosts to start off on trips, preferably look for hosts with cars.

It was interesting to read up on the feedback from other students as well. Most of them addressed the issue of not getting enough NTU members onto the platform, which we have taken into serious consideration.

We have one more issue to flag which is setting up our company as a LLP. Currently, only 2 of the cofounders are SIngPass holders. We asked Mr. Roderick about the same and he gave us two options to proceed from here, going through an agency or setting it up with 2 locals and then have an external shareholders' agreement for the LLP.

We are going to meet up soon to discuss all these issues, look into suggestions and come up with our next steps forward. That's pretty much it for now. Until next time!

First Steps Forward

posted 22 Oct 2015, 00:00 by Bobby Ranjan   [ updated 7 Nov 2015, 08:44 by Lakhotia Suyash ]

The past 3 weeks have been tremendously long for most of us. Right from working on the idea, developing strategies to get our feasibility analysis done to actually writing the business plan on paper, we've been working hard. It's hard to believe we thought of our idea somewhere in mid-August.

We're implementing a platform to bridge the gap between exchange students and local students at NTU. In our platform, this is achieved by allowing local students to put up trips, and exchange students can then take part in these trips. This solves two ongoing problems on both segments, it allows exchange students to experience the local culture in Singapore, while also allowing local students meet new people from different backgrounds.

So we had our idea, but we needed different views on it to mitigate any basic issues we might face with this idea. We arranged a meeting with Mr.Chia through NTC's free consultation sessions, got his opinions, worked on them a little and had a couple of meetings before the start of the ET9135 course. Now was the time to get our feasibility study started. We immediately made a survey form and circulated it through facebook groups to get our feasibility study underway.

Within no time, the second session of classes came along. This is when there was a major change in our team's structure. We started off as a team of 4, and now was the time to add in the 5th member - Ernest. Over the course of the next week, we had several meetings, completed our feasibility study through both surveys and a mock trip, and getting our preparation for the business plan underway.

During the following week, we came up with details of our business model, operation plans and marketing plans and compiled all of this together to formulate our business plan.

Well, after all that effort, we hope our business plan presentation goes good. The team atmosphere and spirit is really great now and hopefully this continues. Wishing us the best of luck in our project. Subscribe to our blogs and stay tuned for more updates!

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