Digerati50: Making every moment count
By Karamjit Singh April 23, 2017
- Focus shift from building product, getting customers, to managing talent
- Ensures everyone on the team take time out to centre themselves
Digital News Asia (DNA) continues its series that profiles the 50 influencers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy, from Digerati50 2016-2017 (Vol 2), a special print publication released in February 2016. The digital version of that publication can be downloaded from the link at the top right corner of the page thanks to the sponsorship of Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Malaysia’s convergence champion.
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THE seed for CatchThatBus came during Viren Doshi’s (pic) travels around the region, when he came to realise that the most common mode of transport for journeys across Southeast Asia was the humble old bus. “Even more so than train or air travel,” says the 35-year-old founder and chief executive officer of CatchThatBus.
Viren came from a family business, but he then moved on to work for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in India. The latter was a life-changing experience. “I feel we have the opportunity to make a difference, therefore I decided to pursue a space that has long been traditional and lacked innovation.
“That’s where the journey for us began,” he says, referring to his startup that aims to transform, and bring innovation to, the mass transport industry.
Viren founded CatchThatBus with Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, whom he met when they were both doing their A-Levels in Taylor’s College in Kuala Lumpur. The idea was simple: Build an online bus ticketing platform.
In May 2014, they raised an undisclosed sum in Singapore dollars from investors and in late 2015, announced a US$1.5-million (RM6.6 million) pre-Series A round from existing investor Jungle Ventures, as well as Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups.
It has been slightly more than five years since CatchThatBus was founded, and Viren had spent most of that time working – which also made him realise that time was a precious and extremely limited commodity. Which is why “I make sure every moment counts, both at home and at work,” he says.
“There is always something to be done, around-the-clock, so work doesn’t end in the office for all of us in CatchThatBus. However, having said that, we do ensure that everyone in the team takes some time out to centre themselves,” he adds.
Viren says that his focus for this startup has evolved since it was founded back in June 2011.
“Initially, it was all about building a product and getting customers on board with very limited funding. But now the focus has shifted to managing talent – ensuring my team is effective and, at the same time, enjoying what they do is very important to me, as I believe a team will perform well when they’re happy. Thus, continuous engagement with every member of the team is crucial,” he says.
There is also the need to change consumer behaviour, which involves educating travellers on the advantages of going online to plan their bus travels. Spreading this awareness has been challenging for him and his team, he admits.
A positive mindset is what keeps the momentum alive. Viren reminds himself every morning that CatchThatBus is working to change the face of land transportation.
“Our continuous growth has always been an inspiration. We have a vision and will certainly see it through. We have passion ingrained in each and everyone in the team, and this keeps us going.
“We have positive vibes all around us!” he exclaims.
His ride with CatchThat Bus has also taught Viren that one of the most significant drivers is the team he has in place.
“They have made the company’s vision their own – they will continue to bring us forward,” he says.
Looking forward towards 2016, he says the focus for CatchThatBus would be continuous growth, and bringing more value-added services to the business.
“We have been growing ever since we started, and our topmost priority is to continue on that trajectory,” he says.