CEL Bangalore Lecture Series - Latchaa with RedBus Founders

Written by Harsh Jegadeesan on 10:19 AM

CEL Bangalore (the Bangalore chapter of Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership) organized its first lecture (a.k.a latchaa session-laughter and chat for the uninitiated) as a part of the entrepreneurship lecture series and networking session on September 12, 2009. A similar series is organized in the silicon valley chapter of BITSAA CEL. The venue for the evening was the BITS PDC in Indiranagar.

We had the founders of RedBus.in, India's No#1 bus ticketing company to share their start-up fairy tale with a 30-odd BITSian crowd, which braved the drizzles(!) and the saturday after-lunch lethargy to attend the talk.

Phani, Sudhakar and Charan ('98) saw opportunity in a painpoint that they personally faced - getting onward and return bus tickets to their hometowns in a convenient way. Instead of cribbing and complaining about it, they created RedBus ( and a whole new industry) to ease bus ticket booking for them and for several thousand others. Their company Pilani Software Labs Pvt. Ltd. resonates their Pilani connection.

Sudhakar started off the session with how the "idea struck them", their early days and how they chose the RedBus name. The founders got so smitten by the idea that they worked around the clock after a tiring day-job to realise the idea. In fact the founders did not have any experience with e-commerce, they still learnt it all by themselves. They had to talk to a lot of bus operators to understand the domain. The RedBus story clearly shows that if entrepreneurs have the will and know clearly what they want to create, they can create it.

Charan, who currently heads engineering at RedBus spoke about the innovative marketing techniques they adopted during the early stages. The founders personally stood outside IT parks and handed out visiting cards during lunch. They handed out cards in loaded buses in majestic to gain visibility among their customer base, this caught the attention of a journalist who gave them their first press coverage. Charan, incidentally is the first employee of RedBus. He also spoke about how it was hard to initially convince his parents on this whole venture.

Phani narrated how they went to majestic to board their first customer - a lady from Infosys going from Bangalore to Tirupati. Phani spoke about the help they received from TIE and the importance of mentorship; he acknowledged the help they got from their TIE mentor - Sanjay Anandaraman, and the help and advice they continue to receive from several other mentors.

The audience was captivated and enthralled, at the same time motivated hearing the founders speak. The session was very interactive with no "powerpoint presentations", there were several questions, which the RedBus team answered with poise. Overall it was an evening to remember!

Watch out for CEL Bangalore events!

(The CEL Team with RedBus Founders: Sid, Sudhakar, Chaitanya, Phani, Harsh and Archana)

  1. 5 comments: Responses to “ CEL Bangalore Lecture Series - Latchaa with RedBus Founders ”

  2. By Santhosh Guru on September 21, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    Are the events open for non-BITS people ? If yes, how do we get to know about the future events. I'm interested in attending these lectures/events.

    -- Santhosh

  3. By Harsh Jegadeesan on September 24, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Santhosh - currently it is a very closed group. But I will get back to you on this.

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