Oyeweekend : Online Destination for Participatory Leisure Activities
Ever wanted to learn guitar on the weekends, go camping with friends, learn to cook a recipe or may be just explore your interests in the lazy time you have? Oyeweekend is the place for you! The young start-up is fresh with ideas and and plans to make your leisure time joyful. Here is an interview with the founder Pinaki who is an IIT Madras, IIM Kozhikode alumnus.
What is the concept of Oyeweekend and why did you start it?
Oyeweekend is a platform for participatory leisure activities and interests such as dance and cooking classes, adventure sports, photography and painting workshops and a host of other such options.
Through OyeWeekend, we strive to enable people to discover and pursue their interests in life. We believe, between the prevalent extremes of exotic holiday destinations and passive in-city entertainment like movies and wine-and-dine, exists a subdued need for participatory leisure activities and interests. And it would be fair to say that there is not an online destination that packages and offers them in a satisfactory manner. We plan to tap and package such activities and interests and present it to the casual audience both as a form of recreation as well as a means to personal enrichment.
For now, we are targeting the urban 21-35 year old, in the metros and large cities of India.
How do you ensure that the hobbyist gets a good instructor and the leisure time people spend through Oyeweekend is spent well?
That is a good question. Mechanisms that ensure that only those instructors who are able to provide a quality experience to our target audience stay in the system, are integral for the continued satisfaction and goodwill of our user base. Currently we have started by hand-picking our instructors; we have done the research ourselves to make sure the selected instructors meet and exceed the expectations of the audience we are targeting.
Going forward we plan to employ community driven features to empower our users to carry this out. Passionate users, provided with the appropriate tools and incentives will be able to do the curation themselves.
What are your favourite weekend or leisure activities?
We are particularly fond of adventure sports. We also like to dabble in playing the guitar and drumming – we are also trying to bring jamming facilities onto our platform where friends can book a jamming facility for a few hours and have a good time.
The website of Oyeweekend looks fabulous with small pictures of the fun activities which many can instantly relate to. It certainly gives a very good feeling. How did you manage to get such creative site?
We are glad that you liked the design. At places the design is aimed towards making the user realize that there is a plethora of recreation and leisure options that she is missing out on. Through the design we wanted to fuel the user’s subdued desire to make the best of her leisure time rather than see it wasted and later regret it.
We are not design experts but our philosophy is:
1. Understand your target audience
2. Pick one strong motivation/desire of your audience that your product/service can be made to resonate with
3. Devise your communication visual-design around that
How are you funding the start-up presently? Are you looking for any VC funding?
Currently our startup is self-funded. We are looking out for funding avenues, if someone if able to appreciate the vision towards which we are working. Otherwise we will wait until we have started generating respectable revenues which is the ultimate evidence that you have been able to navigate your way through the challenges of the market you identified.
Tell us about your previous ventures.
One of our previous ventures was Minkle, a mobile-ticketing platform for booking flights, movies, buses etc. which was funded by an accelerator. However because of security mandates the booking-process could never be made smooth enough to expect users to adopt it in any big way; and given the state of flux the industry was in at the time (Symbian/Android), it was difficult to anticipate what would come next. Hence we decided to exit.
What is your team at Oyeweekend and what are their backgrounds and roles in the team?
Right now, the team constitutes the three founders.
Pinaki has two years of startup experience and is a second-time entrepreneur. His first venture was Minkle, a mobile ticketing platform that was funded by an accelerator. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM Kozhikode. He handles Product and Development at OyeWeekend.
Jagadish has worked in two startups before joining Oyeweekend. He helped found an education based startup catering to engineering students. He also led sales for his first startup which dealt in software services, and is currently profitable. He handles Business Development at Oyeweekend. He is an MBA from IIFT.
Kunal is a Computer Science graduate from NIT Bhopal and has done his post graduation from IIM Kozhikode. He has prior work experience in one of India’s leading global IT firms and one of the India’s fastest growing banks. He handles Business Development.
What plans do you have in store for Oyeweekend?
We want to make OyeWeekend the preferred online destination for participatory leisure activities and interests for our target consumers.
What would you advice to other young entrepreneurs with off-beat ideas?
We have read and witnessed for ourselves that the key to getting anywhere with your startup is constant trial-and-error; because what you imagine the challenges and solutions to be, for your market, before starting up seldom turn out to be so afterwards.
In an established market, where you are a me-too player, a lot of ground-work has been done by players before you, most of which you can simply emulate. Hence the uncertainties are lesser.
In an offbeat product, you are the pioneer yourself since there is nothing and no one to emulate. Hence the job is tougher. Add to it the fact that you are always resource-crunched and have limited options to try before you run out of time, money and patience.
It is better to get some experience working in a startup before venturing to work on an off-beat idea. Some tasks such Marketing (SEO, Social Media Marketing), Design & Development, Talent acquisition (identifying right channels for finding talent) are universal tasks that every entrepreneur should be fairly knowledgeable about so that she does not spend time learning those while her core business model needs attention from her.
PS: Students interested in interning/working with OyeWeekend can get in touch with Pinaki at firstname.lastname@example.org