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Ride to Success and Don’t be Late
Brijraj Bhuptani - Ridlr
Following a trajectory typical to those of his educational background, Brijraj Bhuptani joined the corporate giant Qualcomm after completing his MS in Electrical Engineering. Driven towards building disruptive technologies, Brijraj quickly moved to work for a startup in USA. The intense desire for ownership and accountability there moved him towards starting up on his own. He returned to India in 2008, to be closer to his friends. In India, he soon encountered the appalling state of city traffic. The lack of information about public transport, more so the lack of visibility of live traffic, irked him. In 2012, to remedy this, Brijraj started Birds Eye System to provide live traffic information across Indian cities. Today, the company’s flagship product RIDLR, delivers public transport information across India and provides mobile ticketing for Mumbai’s BEST buses and metro services, with plans to expand to other cities in India.
Soon, Brijraj realised that he was not just building another product. He was, in effect, trying to change a very deeply ingrained habit of using cash for purchasing tickets and not minding the unavailability of real travel times. While ride-tracking has now been popularised by cab hailing services today, it was a radical concept a decade ago. Brijraj almost broke his back trying to convince people about the idea of tracking public transport. Despite being born and brought up in India, Brijraj could not adjust to India’s business ecosystem with its ambiguous commitments, prolonged cycle times and weak legal frameworks. These were no easy challenges to surmount. Lack of digital infrastructure added further impediments and overcoming them required significant technological expertise and innovation. Resource crunch and finding the right team added to his challenges.
Nevertheless, Brijraj knew he was solving a real problem and all good things take time. Since he was charting unknown territories, trying to change ingrained mindsets and habits, he knew he had to be in it for the long haul. His endurance and determination have indeed paid off. Today, he takes pride in the fact that RIDLR is completely a ‘Made in India’ product. It is setting global benchmarks for public transport services and its impact on the lives of people has been starkly visible during various crisis situations like strikes and natural calamities. He feels humbled to have been able to make this impact. The recent acquisition by Ola is sure to magnify the impact Brijraj aimed to achieve.
“Revenue and monetization should be your focus areas right from the start. While it takes time to get there, you need to keep them as your priority.”
Having played First Division Cricket in the South California Cricket Association, Brijraj finds entre- preneurship fairly similar to cricket: Play consistently, and don’t accept defeat until the last ball. After some starting troubles, this entrepreneur has now discovered his favourite pitch and ground. And he is definitely out there to win!