This Startup is Bringing Extracurricular to the App market place
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Like most of our plans for recreation and leisure in our fast-paced lives in a metro, seldom do we get the time to seek out our hobbies anymore. Remember when you could seek out what you enjoyed doing on weekends or after school hours? Butterfly app aims to change that and provide an online marketplace for extracurricular activities and hobby sciences. Whether one is looking for a gym, an institute for learning foreign language, a dance studio to learn salsa, cooking classes near your house or a certified trainer to teach you martial arts, Butterfly is an end to end solution provider for everyone who wants to pursue a hobby or an activity they are passionate about.
The app factors cost, distance, schedule and doesn’t require you to make a call fill forms or wait for responses. We had a chit-chit with the Luv Gupta, CEO of Butterfly app about his story and need for shifting hobby spaces virtually. Here are some excerpts:
Tell us about your beginnings?
After my schooling from Modern School, New Delhi, I pursued my B.Com from Delhi University and started my career in 2005 as a Branch Head with Skyes & Ray Equities, a leader in financial services industry. In 2008, I took up the role of a Director with SK Beverages Pvt. Ltd who are importers of fine wines sourced from France, Chile and South Africa. Belonging to a business family, I was always inclined towards entrepreneurship.
So before an entrepreneur, how was your first job like?
As a finance guy and my first job was with Skyes & Ray Equities in 2005. I switched tables between equity portfolio management, mutual fund investment, option trading and managing prop desk too. My association with Sykes & Ray was in form of a JV where I was establishing and managing the North India operations. We were equal partners in P/L. From the very first month we were in profits and gradually raised a few lacs each month.
What’s the story behind naming it “Butterfly”?
Right from the start I had envisioned a product that helps people follow their passion that makes it easy for individuals to start doing what they truly love, anything that makes them happy. A butterfly I feel is something that everybody loves. A colourful creature fluttering around always interests people and brings joy.
What need are you addressing in the market that doesn’t exist already?
Both personal experience and research firstly led to an observation that data available online is outdated and incomplete. More importantly this market being unstructured and lacking online presence has formed a big gap where the user is unable to discover, pay and book these services online. As everyone has an utmost desire to indulge in activities they love the most, there were few platforms that help them find solutions and answer to their queries, let alone one that serves end to end service like ours.
Our idea was to create a marketplace that provides the highest standards of services and facilitates to all the needs of both users and merchants in the “extra-curricular activities” and “hobby sciences” domain along with end to end solution for consumers.
Have you raised any funding so far? What
Yes, we have recently raised an undisclosed amount in angel round funding from a group of Delhi-based angel investors. We have used these funds in launching a new product, Butterfly for Business, entering the Delhi market, marketing and ramping up the BD team.
What was it that attracted investors to your business according to you?
The sheer size of this market and the fact that it is still unexplored gives us a big advantage.
Who has been your mentor in your entrepreneurial journey?
Sachin Kapoor (Head of Business India, Linkedin; Director of Business Development, Yahoo 07-13) and Chandrabhanu Pattajoshi (Founder, Glossaread; National Head of Sales and Strategy, Yahoo 07-13) both have been my mentors on this project. It has been a fantastic experience learning and being guided from their vast experience and expertise across everything from tech to business. My biggest learning from both has been developing a vision to have a 360 degree view. Being able to assess the current situation and estimate every possible related scenario. This personal growth has really helped me bring Butterfly from an idea in my head to what it is today. Both of them happen to be early stage investors also which has been very encouraging to me and the entire team.
What is your team size? How do you keep your team in high spirits?
We are a 13 members team handling everything from developing tech, product, business development, acquisitions, servicing and operations. Right from the beginning of this start-up I have ensured the most casual and friendly environment amongst the team. Everyone is highly encouraged to voice their opinions and is always listened to even if the matter doesn’t concern their work domain. We have weekly meetings where every single member of Butterfly is involved in reviewing and planning of our activities.
How do you see the growth scenario is this business? What do predict for the future of your business?
The growth potential in this business is massive. It is a market worth more than USD 1billion/year and is still to be bought online. In the coming years I see more players entering the same domain and much like e-commerce of fashion, electronics and food tech, this becoming a huge industry in itself.
What has been your biggest challenge since its conception?
Since we have ventured into an unchartered space, educating both service providers and users has been quite a challenge. Where the users are quite accustomed to shopping for goods online, they have never had the convenience of being able to pay and book for services in the same fashion. Many times our research has showed that the consumers are a bit reluctant of paying for services online. But we understand that it’s our task to change the consumer usage first and then the consumer behaviour. Similarly, belonging to unstructured business, the service providers are not very accustomed to doing their business online in a proper manner. Our constant endeavour is to educate both the parties and show them the benefits of using Butterfly’s platform for their tasks.
What changes have you experienced in your own self since the day you started the business till now?
I feel I have developed a better understanding of every aspect of building a start-up and have built an ability to have a 360 degree view on problems and situations. All my existing skills on management, strategy, team leading, marketing and finance have sharpened to a great extent.
What’re your expectations from this year’s national budget?
As we have just seen a huge government backing to start-ups initiated by Mr Modi, I am expecting a little something for us in the national budget also. However, that might be wishing for too much.
Will you be using similar apps to find out local leisure activities? Let us know on our official Facebook page at Entrepreneur India.