On the go entertainment is still in its nascent stage in India. While today we are almost habituated to using fast internet all the times, most of us must have experienced the anxiety of not being able to access internet during long travel. Long journeys become boring in the absence of something to keep us entertained and engaged. So till now, it was like either you have to take the pain of loading your mobile with songs, videos and movies every-time before travelling long distance, or get bored. But thankfully now, on the go entertainment scenario is changing, and a startup that is making a major mark in this sector is GoldSeat. Gold Seat, is currently covering the bus travel segment, and offers WiFi-connectivity on bus, plus a vast collection of movies that travelers can enjoy either on their mobile phones by downloading the GoldSeat app or on the GoldSeat screens installed in the buses.
- Startup Name-GoldSeat
- Sector-Tech-Entertainment Startup
- Co-Founders-Gaurav Kapahi, Nishchal Khetarpal
- Parent Organization-Ideagami Pvt Ltd.
About GoldSeat and How it Works
GoldSeat is a Delhi based startup that is changing the traveling experience for many long distance bus travelers. GoldSeat offers two great ways to access seamless offline entertainment. One, it offers free WiFi to passengers inside the bus. Secondly, it has a wide collection of movies that travelers can access either on the GoldSeat screens installed in the bus, or on one's mobile by downloading the GoldSeat mobile app.
In order to access the high-end entertainment services provided by GoldSeat on mobile, one needs to follow three simple steps listed below:
- Connect to GoldSeat Wi-Fi
- Download the GoldSeat App
- Enjoy free Wi-Fi and Unlimited Entertainment.
GoldSeat provide licensed content that runs seamlessly on travelers' devices without them having to worry about data costs
As a value-added to Bus Operators, GoldSeat also provides a host of live features under GoldLiv service such as Live Cameras, GPS, Passenger Information System, Automated GPS based announcements, live alerts. GoldLiv night vision cameras could carry a recording of up to 30 days and could be accessed remotely by the travel operator.
Latest HD content which runs seamlessly without any data cost and even without connectivity, multi network wifi, offline entertainment and IOT for a connected bus experience are the USPs that GoldSeat boasts off.
Founders of GoldSeat and team
GoldSeat was co-founded by Gaurav Kapahi and Nischal Khetarpal. The co-founders met each other at their common workplace, HCL technologies. It is here Gaurav discussed the idea of GoldSeat with Nischal, and soon they went working on the idea to make it a reality.
Gaurav Kapahi is CEO of GoldSeat. He is an MBA (Marketing) graduate from MDI Gurgaon with over 13 years of work experience. In his last assignment, he was the Marketing Head of HCL Technologies.
Nishchal Khetarpal is CTO of GoldSeat. He pursued marketing in MBA from Amity Business School. With an overall experience of 15 years, Nishchal has tried his hand in eight different businesses before GoldSeat. Previously, he headed Digital marketing at HCL Technologies.
The company is currently operating on the bootstrapped model. GoldSeat has 14 people on rolls, six people outsourced. This startup has an open work culture with a limited/ flat hierarchy to ensure a more agile setup and quick decision making.
How was GoldSeat Started
Gaurav Kapahi was once traveling from Bengaluru to Delhi, and the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system of the plane has stopped working. To keep himself occupied, Kapahi turned to his mobile phone. The phone, however, had limited content, making Kapahi's overall journey quite boring.
I realized how important it was to have access to entertaining content, especially if you are one of those people who can't sleep while traveling— whether on a bus or on an aircraft
This experience has sowed the seeds of an entrepreneurial idea. Now that idea has fructified to provide travelers access to quality entertainment content on their phone.
The GoldSeat team undertook extensive research to study the market. It mostly relied on secondary research while primary research was conducted in the Delhi NCR region. In secondary research, GoldSeat relied on the publicly available information concerning public transport and the sale of buses. Through the research findings, it was understood that the public mode of transportation was mostly neglected by large service providers. GoldSeat has calculated the total number of luxury and semi-luxury buses in India which are numbered at 45000 and are increasing at an average of 20% annually. This means that the market is growing faster than all other modes of public transport.
Going ahead with the idea Gaurav and his team conducted a demo for one of the largest bus services that catered to the tourist segment, mainly inbound tourists. This demo provided the team at GoldSeat comprehensive feedback, prior they commercially launched service for daily transit buses. GoldSeat with various pre-launch research and preparation was established in January 2017
GoldSeat - Name, Tagline and Logo
Idea for the name came from the fact that all journeys start by booking a seat or choosing a seat and we wanted to elevate that experience of someone's journey to a GoldSeat experience which was entertaining, connected and premium - Gaurav says
GoldSeat - Business Model and Revenue Model
GoldSeat business is B2B while its offering is B2C. The company charges the owners of buses on a monthly basis based on a subscription model. Even both the hardware and software are on the subscription model with few options that are based on the needs of the operators.
GoldSeat - User Acquisition and Growth
GoldSeat, to gain its initial customers relied on establishing a direct connection with the bus operators. The GoldSeat team went to each of the bus operators and personally explained the benefits of using GoldSeats' services. Gradually, they introduced their clients to newer technologies. Cold calling and persistent follow-ups are a few of the techniques that GoldSeat has managed to employ successfully in building a secure network of service.
Furthermore, continually adding new services to the portfolio has kept GoldSeat updated, accommodating, and relevant for bus operators. GoldSeat also partners with software providers, bus aggregators, and ticketing platforms to increase their presence across the country.
GoldSeat - Startup Challenges
Funding is a crucial thing for every startup to build a core team and begin operations. Previously, we struggled to determine the core target group, as customers are scattered and the sector is unorganized in India. Apart from that, recognizing their needs was a major barrier because they didn't give much priority to licensed content - Gaurav says explaining the challenges the startup faced
The GoldSeat team emphasized on helping bus operators understand how the solution could engage customers. Once that was done, the next challenge was to get their payments on time; the company is consistently working to improve both, compliance from the clients' side and to provide updated quality content from their team.
GoldSeat - Future Plans
GoldSeat has recently collaborated with Railyatri.in for its Intercity Smart Buses. It currently offers services to private players across Northern and Western regions, including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Delhi, and cities in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Karnataka.
Gaurav founded GoldSeat with the idea of providing entertainment services to travelers in all forms of transports. By 2020, the brand plans to be the leader in the bus segment and has already started initiating operations in railways and airlines. The company plans to have a well-established distribution network spread-out pan India over the next five years. The brand aims to have visibility in each and every part of the country and to be the top-notch player of travel entertainment.