Bangalore is home to a majority of India’s startups, and also has many co-working spaces. When Shashikiran Rao and Karan Bahadur started off with the Construkt Festival back in 2013, they didn't realise it would be a phenomenal success. Four years later, they came up with Construkt hostels, an idea which would aid entrepreneurs and their start-ups. The aim was also to help like minded people get together and exchange ideas.
Construkt hostel is a first-of- its-kind initiative offering convenient, community-curated, business-friendly hostel accommodation for the travelling startup and creative community where they could work and live out of.
We catch up with Rao and Bahadur, about their newest venture and this is what they had to say.
Tell us a little about Construkt. How did it come about? Who are the brains behind it?
Construkt was started to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and to encourage trans-disciplinary thinking by hosting one of India’s biggest startup festival titled Construkt Festival in 2013.
Since then, three festivals have been organised, which have brought together entrepreneurs from different fields and paved the way for more innovation and collaborations.
The brains behind this innovative venture is Shashikiran Rao and Karan Bahadur.
Shashikiran, born and raised in Bangalore, started early as an entrepreneur. At the ripe age of 19, he decided to find out where his passion really lay. Karan Bahadur, a third generation Bangalore-based Nepali, worked in various sectors, such as retail, hospitality, media before meeting Shashi, which is when they began working at TiE, Bangalore, in 2008.
Together, they set out on an incredible journey to set up Construkt Festival. Ever since then there was no looking back.
What was the idea behind starting something concrete?
We conducted a survey for 2,000 tech startups and we discovered that there were close to 18,000 room requirements (per year). If we include other industries, it'll be even bigger.
Tell us more about the Hostels. What sets you apart from the rest of them?
Construkt Hostel is a 3,500 sq ft space, equipped with four bedrooms, shared bathrooms, a living room, a dining area, balconies, library and a laundry area and a fully equipped self catering kitchen. The design elements are all handpicked and we have used a lot of upcycled furniture.
Your space looks vibrant and fascinating. Could you tell us who designed it, please? Did you have any contribution in the design process?
The whole team helped in setting up the place. Karan, the co-founder, was the head of operations and was instrumental in setting the design elements in place. We also had an interior designer working with us as well.
What type of people do you generally get as guests? Who is this space dedicated to?
The hostel’s target customer includes outstation entrepreneurs traveling to Bangalore, city-based startups with offices outside Bangalore, who would want to bring their teams to the city for short periods of time, entrepreneurs coming to accelerator/incubator programmes in the city, and delegations and interns coming for entrepreneurship programmes organised by trade bodies and foreign offices.
Do you meet interesting people at this space? Could you share some interesting anecdotes of interesting travellers you have met till date?
Being only three weeks into operations, (officially opened) we have been receiving a good response and have hosted many entrepreneurs travelling to the city for various business reasons. Our first guest Ameet Mehta, came to Bangalore to expand his venture, having already established it in Pune and Hyderabad. Brought up in the US, he loved this concept and is returning to stay with us for the weekend.
What were the challenges that you faced while working on this project?
Operationally we faced many hurdles, but as a team we were able to overcome it. The first task was to get a spacious house located in either Indiranagar or Koramangala, as it is the most concentrated area for startup action. Other issues were dealing with various vendors and getting things done from them on time.
Tell us a little about your partnerships, please?
Construkt has partnered with Innofest, Swissnex, Power of Youth and various other organisations in hosting events that benefit the entrepreneurial community. In 2015, Construkt tied up with NUMA, a french accelerator that set up in Bangalore to help them in their acceleration process. Construkt’s founder Shashikiran Rao is the EIR (entrepreneur in residence) for the NUMA Accelerator as well as the Airbus Accelerator.
How do people react when they see this space since it's a fairly new concept in India?
Since it is a new concept in India, we have been getting really good response in terms of inquiries. People love the design, the concept, the affordability and the networking we provide.
Do you have any plans of expansions?
Yes, definite plans of expansions in the next financial year, to places like Hyderabad, Goa, Pune, Delhi and more. But keeping in mind to not dilute.
Of all the hostels that you have lived at, which is your favourite?
The Circus Hostels in Berlin for their facility and community feel.
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