His app ‘GoFloaters’ that is now active in Chennai, Coimbatore and Bengaluru as well, lets people book cafes and restaurants (and soon resto-bars) in different parts of town on an hourly basis, for as cheap as Rs 25 an hour. The best part? There is no need to order any food or drinks.
“My first start-up was to help small businesses buy insurance in the wake of Cyclone Vardah when many of them suffered heavy losses. During this period, I made a lot of connections with the hotel industry. I was trying to figure out a way to stabilise the businesses of single-owner, independent cafes that are popular for a couple of months and then face stiff competition from newer outfits. At the same time, I was travelling to meetings daily to four-five locations and not knowing what to do in the time between these appointments. If I went to a Starbucks or CCD, I’d easily spend Rs 500 a day just on two coffees. I married both these issues to come up with GoFloaters,” explained Shyam, who has a lot of experience in the tech space.
The app lists eateries in three categories: normal at Rs 25, premium at Rs 50 and luxury 5-star hotel cafes at Rs 100. Users can book the spaces for as long as they wish, and they need to pay only after using them. “They get discounts on the food and drinks as well, but it is only up to them to order if they wish,” says Shyam, adding that they have partnered with eateries in every prominent area in Chennai and now the focus is to add more places depending on the demand in each category. “Some people just want to chill over a coffee, others want to use the WiFi and work, yet others want to conduct business meetings or interviews; hence, the various categories.”
They also have options for large gatherings who wish to conduct presentation, screenings, etc. “We have also tied up with corporate and IT companies in the city with spare boardrooms, conference halls and extra capacity – people can book them on an hourly basis as well, and its much cheaper than renting out co-working spaces for an entire day,” Shyam concluded.