Hostelcart - NITR’s Very Own Flipkart
Every year around nine hundred students join NITR, which means about five hundred rooms have to be set up and made habitable, which in turn means a frustrating and draining exercise in marketing to acquire the commodities of basic necessity. Given the numbers, the campus becomes a battlefield of sorts with parents and students trying to manoeuvre their ways around sellers, wrestling with inflated prices and the exhausting distances between consecutive stops. Someone to take quick notice of the situation and see an opportunity for fair business in it was Pradip Kunwar, a final year student from the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering.
Armed with an exciting idea, the next step was to find a team to put it into action. After a few initial disappointments, he finally managed to find an equally enthusiastic and skilled partner in Rachit Goyal, a final year student from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Quoting Pradip, “Rachit is the guy with the best business sense amongst us. He can negotiate and deal with people.” Presently, the team consists of two others – Shivanee Gupta and Swayanjeet.
They spent the next few months trying to obtain the various permissions required to launch their venture and it was quite some time before the authorities were convinced of their earnestness and dedication. Since then, there has been no looking back.
Today, Hostelcart.com is a favourite e-commerce portal among students of NITR that caters to all their essential needs, boasting of a prompt and efficient delivery system with a swift delivery time of just 45 minutes. The company has expanded its inventory to accommodate 120 items and the range of products is mainly targeted at hostellers. Till now they have received about 500 orders which surpass their initial target by a substantial margin.
But even then, the team shows no signs of complacency. They are confident of finding their feet in an even bigger market. According to Rachit,
We are planning to expand to the whole of Rourkela in a month and to Bhubaneswar by the end of the year.
In the immediate future, the team is launching an android app for the company.
Even though the company has now attained a sustainable level of competence in the market, the journey hasn’t always been a smooth one. Dividing their time and energy between academics and the company has been a tricky affair. “We used to leave our rooms at eight in the morning and couldn’t return until after midnight. We helped so many students set up their rooms, but haven’t yet found the time to set up our own.” Pradip remarks with a smile, when asked how tough it has been doing so. Regarding their future plans of expansion, they are still on the lookout for an angel investor.
For the budding entrepreneurs in the institute, they have a few words of advice –
Setting up a company is not an easy task; but once you decide something, never look back. Follow your interest but don’t forget the reality. Believe in yourself, your idea and work hard. There is no substitute to hard work.