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Manish Hada

Degree:

MSc Law & Finance

Location:

Netherlands

Industry:

Fintech

Year:

2008

By Manish Hada

My start-up – Bitequest

It was 2007 and I was attending Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, doing my Masters in Financial Economics. During that time, I was exposed to entrepreneurship and startups. The school had some wonderful resources for entrepreneurs: I got involved with a host of entrepreneurship activities there. I was interacting with local entrepreneurs and also headed the Entrepreneurship Network at the Business School.

During this time I came across Toptable, a restaurant listing and reservation portal. I really liked the concept and felt that India should also have a similar one. And hence came up the idea of starting Bitequest. The name was quite easy to come up with and I felt it was catchy. Bitequest – your quest for the perfect bite ends here 🙂

I started contacting some website development vendors through email. I came to India and finalised one and got the work started. Thereafter, I started contacting restaurant managers/owners through email to make them understand the concept and get them on board. We were not charging anything. We were just hoping to get discounts from restaurants and wanted to list them with us. The ball started rolling.

I realised that I should probably look at the operations and marketing. However, I was a more ‘serious-about-life’ type of guy and had hardly frequented any restaurants/bars even when I was in India. I wanted to rope in some people who were more into the social scene as I thought they must have a better idea as to how restaurants run and also had a better social network. Then I recruited a friend of mine who was studying in Melbourne. Thereafter, 2 more friends joined and we started growing the company and really enjoying ourselves in the process. We were able to scale all over Delhi/NCR and had tie-ups with more than 300 of the most premium restaurants – you can imagine the fun we had scoping them out.

Come February 2010, I started having differences with my team members about how to scale up the business. I wanted to make it an online restaurant discovery tool and expand the business geographically. On the other hand, the rest of the team wanted to scale it up by setting up a call centre where customers can call and we reserve the tables for them. Due to these differences, I eventually backed off from the business.

The website is still live (www.bitequest.com) and being run by a close friend of mine. They have some good restaurants on it and some great deals for users. This being said, they have not been able to scale the business. The business is still restricted to the Delhi market, although they have finally made a move into Mumbai now.

I moved on from Bitequest and worked in different sectors in India. I worked in Education where I helped build a K-12 school from scratch. Also I started my second venture which was an ecommerce store (www.beveragewala.com) selling exotic teas and coffees online in India.

Bitequest will always be my most cherished experience. It has made me realise the importance of building a team united by a common goal and having complementary skill sets to reach it.

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