Entrepreneurs: Siddartha, Aditya, Arjun & Jyotiba
Business Name: Litcabs
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 131
Advertising is all about telling brand stories in a unique, yet familiar way. Perhaps the first image that comes in your mind when you think of the bustling city of Mumbai would be the iconic Kaali-peeli taxis. The story of Mumbai is incomplete without those taxis.
Litcabs, founded by a team of youngsters- Siddhartha Shekhar, Aditya Thorat, Arjun Meghe and Jyotiba Patil- is a first-of-its-kind mobile OOH (Out of home) service provider that offers advertising solutions for brands on Kaali-peeli taxis. Imagine your brand being promoted via over 8000 taxis in the city!
“We started Litcabs with an objective to bring on unconventional options to make new-age communication innovative and mobile to target masses on the go. Advertising on cabs in Mumbai will allow brands to reach their target group within the city,” says Litcabs team. The founders talk to us about their entrepreneurial journey and discuss the challenges in the sector.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Taxi rooftop advertising is a concept that has existed for quite some time, not necessarily in Mumbai but most definitely in cities such as New York, London etc. It is something that dozens of people must have thought about, Jyotiba Patil (one of the founding partner) was one of those people, the only difference was that he didn’t just ponder on it; he acted and conceptualised this ambitious project and also figured out how viable the idea was. I was on board the moment he mentioned the idea.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
In our densely populated city, there is a huge potential for impressions with strategically placed OOH advertisements. Couple that with the mammoth budgets that companies designate for advertising nowadays; to create a new, cost effective advertising medium is a no brainer. The Litcabs will go to every nook and corner of our city to ensure maximum exposure.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
With the start-up culture booming in India, more and more parents are embracing the idea of their children taking a risk to try and become the next Flipkart, Paytm and so on. Naturally they were very excited and have been extremely supportive throughout.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
It is difficult to pin point a single biggest mistake because this is our first ever venture, we do a lot of things right but sometimes we do make rookie mistakes too. Things do not always go as planned and I think, that, is the biggest lesson here. One cannot always do things right, but one should acknowledge that and put in the efforts to rectify it meaningfully.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
The Litcabs vision is to be in the public eye constantly. This is only possible by installing our advertising panels on as many cabs as we can. Handling a larger number of taxis will require a larger team. The challenge will be training these personnel by familiarising them with our conventional system and giving them the time to acclimatise to it.
Since Litcabs is the first business of its kind, assembling a team who would be familiar with all the aspects of this business is relatively challenging. However, our existing team is accommodating and extremely motivated. We want to be renowned for the quality of our product and services. The next few months we will be an attempt to expand our team which will be capable of handling a larger fleet.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
The work it takes to build a company from scratch is immeasurable. You would be forgiven for buckling under the pressure. Therefore, Perseverance and faith are the first and foremost qualities one must inculcate in themselves. I had to be proactive, more than I had ever been, this is vital for achieving the goals we set out for ourselves.
The camaraderie and passion that we share gives us an edge because work does not feel like a task, it drives us to get out of bed everyday and work as hard as we can, not just for ourselves but also for each other.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
Once you gain knowledge through experience in a certain field it gives you a whole new perspective. I would most definitely pre meditate opportunities and possibilities much better, this would reduce the time it took us to get where we are now.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
It is difficult to pick one specific quote but the most suitable one now would be ‘Kal Kare so Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare so ab’ from Kabir’s couplets. It is something we were taught in school, something that we did not pay heed to at that point in time which is ironic because it speaks about effective time management and being efficient in order fulfil your duties, or at least that is how I remember it.
9) What is your favourite book?
I have not been able to catch up on reading for the better part of a year now but the last book I read that I really enjoyed was ‘Super Economies’ by Raghav Bahl. He talks about the history of global geopolitics and its effect on the global economics and tries to string together a picture of the future and how things may pan out.
10) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
As cliché as this may sound, do something only if you are passionate about it. I believe it is cliché because its true. It is extremely important to like what you are doing because only then will you be able to overcome the hurdles that come your way.
The fate of your business depends upon the way you project it before your target audience. Litcabs, unlike its competitors, came up with an offbeat and effective way to advertise products. They identified a new medium to popularize brands. Now they are planning to rope in more taxis to take OOH advertising by storm!
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