Scaling up through bootstrapping

Scaling up through bootstrapping

The problem

Businesses, especially in the travel and hospitality industry lacked a means to hold price comparisons to differentiate their offering from that of the competitors’.

The solution

RateGain, founded in 2004 by Bhanu Chopra, offers software tools for companies (in the travel and hospitality sectors) to optimise and improve their revenue management system and in turn maximise revenues.

The company currently offers four solutions; RateShopping, a tool which helps revenue managers keep a tab on competitor pricing, Price Optimiser, a tool that recommends a price by studying various parameters including competition and supply/demand, Online Reputation tool, which tracks numerous social-media and review sites to analyse conversations, client’s brand image among customers and ways to improve it, and Channel Manager, which helps hotels distribute their rates to OTAs and receive bookings from them.

Today, RateGain operates across 100 countries with seven offices in Noida, Washington DC, London, Barcelona, and Bangkok. It has over 10,000 global hospitality clients on board, including the top fifty online travel agents (OTAs).

Future Outlook

Going forward, the company’s focus will be in growing its product suite, entering new geographies, setting up new offices and undertaking a number of measures to grow inorganically. With an annual growth rate of 100 per cent, Chopra envisions RateGain as a leader in offering revenue management and distribution solutions for the hospitality industry across the world.


Why Chopra believes bootstrapping is the best way to scale a company

Until 2014, the company was bootstrapped and scaled on money from personal savings and reinvesting revenues generated it. It raised its first round of (undisclosed amount of) funding in January 2015 from TA Associates.

Here, Chopra shares some first-hand insights on the art of bootstrapping and building a company;

Some entrepreneurs believe that to break the normal growth pattern and kickstart superlative expansion, they need money. But I belong to a school of thought, which says that a great product should translate in to sales, which in turn should be able to fund your growth. At RateGain, our product stood out, which led to ready adoption by clients and which in turn resulted in good sales numbers. And, I’m not a big fan of borrowing money to pay salaries. When that happens, an entrepreneur tends to lose focus.

The art of bootstrapping is quite simple. Firstly, startups should get enough sales to take care of their needs. Secondly, their product should create real value. You do not need to reinvent the wheel with your product or service, but you need to make it significantly better than what’s available in the market. Once that is done, the other half of the battle is to get your delivery and customer service right.

Big Data Bootstrapping hospitality RateGain T.A. Associates travel