Here is out first installment of going beyond the web2.0 entrepreneurial world ! Since I meet most of the entrepreneurs @ BrewHaHa, so it is quite natural to start off with them.
BrewHaHa is a cafe-styled entertainment lounge that apart from great coffee, features imported games designed for group audience as well as tons of fun activities. Here is an interview with Sreeraman, co-founder of BrewHaha.
Please share some info about founder’s background.
Sreeram (managing partner)- BE (Elec&Commns, Bangalore Univ), CompSci (MS, UC boulder CO), one prior startup attempt (Aborted), IIMA, Microsoft (1.5 years), BrewHaHa (1.5 years now… time flies!)
Mansur – BE (Compsci REC-trichy), IBM (3 years), IIMA, TigerTail Studios (an online gaming startup being run out of HYD)
What made you start brewhaha, especially given the fact that you guys worked in companies like Microsoft etc. and starting a coffee chain is not something that’s an extension of your earlier work ex.
Well, I basically wanted to start something in the food space cos i’m quite passionate about food & hospitality. Apart from the fact that you get to see customers satisfied in a very fundamental sense, I think its an attractive industry with good prospects, high margins, and relatively easy customer acquisition (not EASY… but people tend to want to discover new F&B experiences) and are willing to give things a try) and word of mouth marketing (which is the only kind that seems to work).
We didn’t know too much about it but felt confident we could figure it out. We’re not a coffee centric concept – we are about having fun with friends through games&food, whether that happens to be a coffee-time break, or a meal-time get together with friends. We started with a cafe-style menu mostly to control the extent of operational complexity, but having had some experience in the field we are now launching meal time options as well.
Please tell us more about your funding status.
We are a bootstrapped startup, currently scouting for angel funding for the next round.
The industry is very competitive and with rising real estate price, how do you plan to compete with biggies?
Real Estate is a challenge but remains manageable given the industry economics. We are a pull-based concept that attracts people to our store as a destination, so to that extent we don’t need prime retail like concepts that have a plain vanilla offering.
On co-founders – did you guys knew each other before starting up? What qualities do you think makes a good cofounder?
Mansur and I are from the same insti and the same dorm. But we largely got to know each other through the process. I think a good co-founder is one who has complementary skills and energy, and an apetite for hard work to provide the startup with the resilience it needs.
Given a choice, what (earlier) decisions would like to change in your startup journey?
We probably underestimated the costs of doing business, and didn’t plan enough. But it’s always a balance between planning too little, and too much!!! I think startups will always have rough edges but I think we probably should have done more homework going into it.
Tips to other Indian entrepreneurs?
This is probably a good time to start a business in India with lots of opportunities for new businesses. “Just jump” (as my old prof used to say)… but make sure you can last a while. It always takes longer to stabilize than you expect… or hope going in 🙂