- February 1, 2021
- Posted by: Planet Goa Team
- Category: Startups in Goa
Talk with Sandeep Mukherjee (Founder – Blive)
You hail from?
I come from the home of the Tatas – Jamshedpur. Having lived in major cities across India and Europe now I call Goa my home
What made you start this Startup in Goa?
- Our startup is built around the concept of sustainable tourism on Electric bikes. Goa being a 365-day tourist destination was our first choice. My Co-Founder Samarth has his roots in Goa. His brother Tanmay Kholkar, a renowned real estate developer, helped us setup BLive in Goa.
- On a personal note the idea of living and working out of Goa having lived in overcrowded cities was simply irresistible!
If you weren’t building your startup in Goa, where would you be located and doing what?
I quit my Job in Microsoft to return to India and build this startup with Samarth… If I didn’t do this I would be pursuing my passion for marketing, building brands for start-ups in India!
What’s your startup about?
BLive is about experiencing a destination on Ebikes in the most fun and eco friendly way possible. Our immersive Ebike tours are curated to enable the travellers to ‘see the unseen’ on Ebikes! We also have an Online EV marketplace called the ‘BLive Store’ where consumers can buy their favourite brand of EV on a single platform.
Is your Startup about a Product or a Service?
It’s an EV experience platform offering Experiential Tours and Experiential retailing of Ebikes.
What’s unique about your product/services?
We pioneered the terms “EV tourism” – an experiential yet carbon free way of exploring a destination. The X factor of our offering is our fleet of Electric Cycles – custom built to deliver an effortless yet exciting experience. In the last years of our operations we have been rated #1 among all outdoor activities in Goa.
In a few sentences, what do you offer to whom?
- Our offering has three key elements – EV – Discovery – Fun. We offer local experiences on eco-friendly and effortless E-bikes for travellers who seek to explore Goa beyond the beaches.
- We have experiences themed around nature, history, culture, food , local lifestyle etc. We take our guests to places like Divar and Chorao island, 200 year old Portuguese houses, local podder’s (breadmaker) place, the latin quarters of Fontainhas, fishermen’s village to see shrimp farming etc. It’s an immersive experience curated around discovery of Goa without leaving a carbon footprint.
Does your startup also serve International clients from and in Goa itself?
Yes We have served guests from over 15 nationalities. We have a partnership with most international charter companies which allowed us to serve guests from across the planet.
Our startup caters to Indian as well as International guests. We operate in 18 cities across 9 States and we get a fair mix of guests.
Do you and your team head to any beach/waterfall for getting refreshed? Which one normally?
We have “work from beach” days where we get creative and have our brainstorming sessions while unwind at the beach. Goa offers a unique work life balance and peace of mind unlike any other place which helps the team be more creative and productive.
Do you have Happy Hours during the week? When? How does that help?
At BLive we are always looking for a reason to celebrate! We are either cutting a cake to celebrate a milestone or heading out for Fish-thali with the team. You can often spot us at the local taverna unwinding with a drink and getting ready for the next day’s challenges
What do you love about your team?
The BLive team radiates positive energy which defines the way we work. Our young and passionate team is never short of crazy ideas which we encourage and implement. Several of our teammates have moved to goa leaving their jobs in metros to regain pursue their passion.
Do you miss your other office locations while you are in Goa?
We have operations in 18 cities across states like Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, TN, Gujarat. We often travel to those locations but always look forward to return to Goa which has become home for us now.
How did you manage uncertainty, if any, in the early stages of business in Goa?
The pandemic was the biggest crisis we faced coming at a time when we were accelerating our growth. Our operations came to a grinding halt and revenues dwindled down to zero. However, we took a few calls.
- Firstly, we retained and ensured the well-being of our team which gave us exponential returns when we restarted in August.
- Secondly, we invested in enhancing the skillsets and upgrading our processes and assets.
- Finally, we renegotiated our contracts and drove down costs by 50%.
- As a result of these efforts we registered our highest ever revenue in Q3 post lockdown
Any challenges that you are facing or faced while building your startup in Goa?
We had our share of growing pains as well. We faced challenges in finding the right talent at times, which we managed by inviting people from outside Goa to come and join us. Finding the initial capital was a journey for us. We were fortunate that 2 of the most prominent business leaders of Goa Mr Shivanand Salgaocar and Mr Shrinivas Dempo backed our venture. Sometimes in Goa you also feel cut off from the major Startup hubs like Bangalore, Gurgaon. However, the Goa startup promotion cell helped in bridging that gap with regular interactions, webinars and industry connects.
Anything else that you would like to mention the ‘startup’ Business in Goa?
The startup promotion cell has been instrumental in our growth and promotion. We believe Goa has the potential to be a top startup destination in India. The ease of doing business, the access to the key decision makers and of course the charm of living in Goa differentiates Goa from all other Startup hubs