Hyderabad: Fresh Minds Services, a startup that has been created for ease of making business traveller stay, is all set to disrupt the way lodging happens in the country, in this space. It is all set to venture into markets across India, primarily to cater to business travellers besides tapping opportunities in key pilgrim locations, using the pay-per-use model.
Vinil Reddy, founder and CEO of Fresh Mind Services, told Telangana Today, “We want to target all business destinations in addition to foraying into pilgrim centres. We would be catering to two different segments. In the business travellers’ category we will be addressing the needs of a business traveller or a group of travellers, while in the pilgrim concept, we would be serving families. We want to design our facilities accordingly.”
The company which was incorporated in June 2016 in Chennai with a seed fund of Rs 2 crore, has created a facility in Hyderabad and Tirupati branding it ‘FreshUp’. The Hyderabad facility began operations in January this year while Tirupati facility started operations this month. It has invested Rs 1.4 crore cumulatively in these facilities. There are plans to create ten more facilities in next 10 months. It is looking for investors to raise $2 million (about Rs 13 crore) to meet the expansion needs. Discussions have begun with certain overseas investors.
FreshUp offers travellers four different variants of hourly rentals – Wing Chair, Recliner, Chaise Lounge and Bunker Bed.
Vinil explains, “Business travellers who catch a flight to reach a destination, have to wait or stay somewhere before they reach their meeting place, and after their work and before catching their return flight they have to spend few hours waiting. They can’t sit longer in a restaurant or a coffee shop and lobbies in hotels would be alien space for them. And for many, it is neither affordable to take a hotel room for few hours nor it makes economic sense. They need some place to rest, relax and re-energise.”
The company plans to enter into metros and tier 2 cities (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Vijayawada and Coimbatore) and major pilgrim centres such as Shirdi. It is scouting for suitable locations across the potential cities. “The team is equipped with the know-how of completing the facilities within two months from the leasing of property. We want to be there in every potential location,” Vinil said.
It is primarily targeting all business districts in major cities, pilgrim locations, transportation hubs (airports, railway stations and major bus terminals). The company is planning to create a new facility near Secunderabad railway station.
On the overseas interest, he said, a lot of partners are in talks with the company. The business model suits places such as Singapore and China. Opportunities both domestic and overseas will be explored.
The company is currently keeping pricing bit flexible to suit customer requirement but gradually some standardisation will happen across facilities that will come up in future. In cities where real estate is going to be high, the pricing has to take that cost into account. “For instance, in Mumbai, our strategy will be different. The pricing has to be bit high to match the real estate cost there. But we will compensate it by adding features that will make customers feel there is value for money,” he adds.
The company ensures privacy in its facilities while also taking measures to provide customer safety. Cameras are installed in common facilities and customers can keep their belongings in their respective lockers assigned to them.
Vinil adds, “Going forward, we could be looking at women-only facilities as there exists a demand. Of the ten new facilities that will come up by early 2018, at least two could be women-only facilities.”