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BLive; promoting sustainable tourism with an offbeat but lively experience

BLive is India’s leading Electric Vehicle Experience platform. It was founded by Samarth Kholkar and Sandeep Mukherjee in 2018. BLive is a travel tech platform that offers immersive experiential tours powered by smart and savvy electric bikes. The e-bike tours provide an intimate local experience and it’s taken a notch higher by combining it with the simple joy of cycling. The start-up was in conversation with Susparsha Gaikwad, Assistant Editor at incubees.com. 

INCUBEES: Tell us about your product or services?

BLive: Launched in 2018, BLive is a travel tech platform that offers immersive experiential tours powered by smart and savvy electric bikes. The e-bike tours provide an intimate local experience and it’s taken a notch higher by combining it with the simple joy of cycling. The tours are driven by the locals and offer a glimpse of the quintessential local culture and heritage. The effortless riding on e-bikes enhances the experience and makes it extraordinary.

In 2020, we launched our second venture, BLive EV store. The idea behind this venture is to help bridge the gap between the rising demand for ‘Personal affordable mobility’ and the lack of access and ease to purchase an electric vehicle. 

Our efforts to transition to low carbon mobility have already resulted in saving 10 tons of CO2 from 2-wheeler emissions. The customers get a chance to gain a holistic understanding of the various brands and models we offer through their interactions with our EV Expert team prior to purchase. We offer the best brands of E-Bikes such as Hero Electric, Hero Lectro, Svitch, and Coppernicus to name a few, and have also recently added E-scooters to our product range.  

INCUBEES: What makes your product/services unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?

BLive: BLive was launched in 2018 with India’s first E-Bike tours. Through our tours, our guests get to experience the local food, art, music, history, and architecture of the location! We are currently present in 19 locations across the nation. Our tours are of a 2-3 hour duration led by a local guide we refer to as our ‘Captains’!  All tours are priced around INR 2000 per person and are inclusive of refreshments. Bookings can be made through OTA’S, the BLive website, and premium properties. We have a national tie-up with Club Mahindra along with other Premium 5-star properties across the country. We are the exclusive EV Tourism partners of Goa Tourism and also have MoU’s with other state tourism boards. 

In October 2020, we were awarded the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award and have been consistently ranked as the No. 1 experience in several of our locations.

In a short span of 2 years, BLive e-bike tours have successfully expanded to nearly 20 locations in India. We have conducted over 10,000 tours which have helped save nearly 10 tonnes of CO2 and over 200 trees! 

On the other hand, the EV Store which was launched at the end of August 2020, has also shown steady growth. The rising demand in ‘Personal affordable mobility’ post-pandemic in Metro T1 and T2 towns has contributed further to the Two-Wheeler EV market which is poised to reach $1.5 Billion by 2024.  

The future projections for BLive in the next quarter is 150 units generating a revenue of 60 lacs. 

In February 2021, we will also be expanding our portfolio of EScooters by launching brands such as Ampere and Okinawa.  

INCUBEES: What are the challenges you see in the market at this point in time?

BLive: One of the challenges that also has been an opportunity at the same time is the lack of category awareness. The category is at a nascent stage and we have a long way to go with getting the audience to opt and become aware of ecotourism. We offer the audience offbeat experiences on electric bikes through our platform. Sustainable tourism/ mobility is not something people make a priority when it comes to travel, so getting them to understand the potential and what we do can be a little challenging.

INCUBEES: Tell us about your team and what inspires them?

BLive: The BLive team radiates positive energy which defines the way we work. Every member has a passion for travel and providing offbeat experiences around the country. Our young and vibrant team is never short of crazy ideas which we encourage and implement. Several of our teammates have moved to Goa leaving their jobs in metros to pursue their passion.

INCUBEES: Where do you see your product/service reaching in the next five-years?

BLive: We have already covered around 1 lakh kms through our tours and saved over 10 tonnes of C02 which is a huge step. We are aiming for a pan-India national footprint. Through our e-bike tours and EV retail platform, we want to grow our presence in 500 locations in India. We believe that we want to accelerate the progress towards switching to EV which is made possible via our tours and online e-bike store, making a positive social impact with our venture. 

INCUBEES: Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?

BLive: We have a set of passionate investors who believe in our sustainable initiative and have recognized the environmental impact that we are making. We are inviting more investors to join BLive to further this initiative and goal.

INCUBEES: What are the challenges you face as a startup?

BLive: We had our share of growing pains as well. We faced challenges in finding the right talent at times, which we managed by inviting people from outside Goa to come and join us. Finding the initial capital was a journey for us. We were fortunate that two of the most prominent business leaders of Goa Mr. Shivanand Salgaocar and Mr. Shrinivas Dempo backed our venture. Since we are based in Goa, we are cut off from the major Startup hubs like Bangalore and Gurgaon. However, the Goa startup promotion cell helped in bridging that gap with regular interactions, webinars, and industry connections. Also as a startup, there can be a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic. It also took some time for people to understand our venture and back our cause.

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