Camping, in India, has increased significantly yet the sector is largely unorgainsed. The drawback in itself is an opportunity for business wherein one can amass camp sites and their information to place themselves as an aggregator. Adventure travel startup Deyor Camps took note of this missing link and soon set themselves up as a B2B company curating campsites and adventure activities across India.
Speaking with Chirag Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Deyor Camps, we asked him to explain to us what it is that Deyor Camps offers and he replies with “How do you discover a campsite, how do you trust the campsite, what’s going to be your experience at the campsite?” The startup’s website allows users to discover campsites by location along with information on accommodation options and amenities.
The Gurgaon-based startup partners with local vendors to set up camps and invest in it to make it an acceptable alternative for leisure and corporate travelers. They are present in 11 countries offering 1,000 adventure activity experiences. How does their business model work? “What we do is, we go and negotiate a commission structure with the campsite that on every billing we will take 20-25% commission and when we raise the invoice to our partners we deduct our commission and pay it back to the campsite,” says Chirag.
In 2016, Deyor Camps on-boarded Naspers-backed Tek Travels, who runs business-to-business portal Travel Boutique as a strategic investor. Around three months after this, Deyor raised $500,000 from several angel and early-stage investors including Nitin Passi, Manickam Mahalingam and Rajesh Arora. Later, in May of 2017, the adventure-travel startup also raised a pre-series A fund round led by India’s first and largest integrated incubator, Venture Catalysts. The round also included investors like Dr. Ritesh Malik, Japanese VC firm REAPRA Ventures and existing investor Dheeraj Jain.
Chirag grew up as a hostel kid and camping was a mandate in his “yearly regime”, even while in college he wanted to travel but faced issues with finding out how to get to places like Rishikesh or Spiti or Ladakh. Gautam, a co-founder at Deyor also had extensive travel experience while Himanshu, who rounds up the founding team comes with a strong background in finance. “We were very particular about one thing when we started off, either it’s going to be a demand game or it’s going to be a supply game. We cannot do a mix and match of both.” That’s when the team decided to tackle the supply side of things in lieu of becoming the largest wholesaler of adventure travel inventory in India.
After doing ground work of finding out the pain points, they spent about four months on research and development and then decided to collaborate with Travel Boutique Online. Later, in July 2016, they approached investors and raised half a million dollars and diluted five percent of equity.
The company picks their campsites basis strict operating procedures. Chirag makes it clear saying, “We do not work with any Tom, Dick and Harry of a campsite, we work with a selected few.”
Speaking of his plunge into entrepreneurship, Chirag says, “I take my work home… I get my home to the office. I say eighteen hours but it’s a twenty-four-hour, round-the-clock work.” He believes that it is first and foremost important for an entrepreneur to consider the team he or she is working with. He suggests onboarding a strong co-founder preferably with a technological background. Next comes a good operations and supply team, a good product and be clarity on what it is you are hoping to build. He also advices looking for a strong mentor with a similar background of the product or service, “There’s going to be a lot of pivoting along the way,” Chirag says, adding, “but it’s always for the better.”