ScoutMyTrip: Helping You Plan Those Memorable Road Trips!

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Road trips have a different charm altogether. Stopping by to click photos, trying local food on the way, and those endless chit-chats—what could be more endearing?! The experience gets even better and hassle-free when there is proper guidance for making the most of one's trip: what to see on the way, where to refuel, where the nearest viewpoint is, etc.

ScoutMyTrip, a Mumbai based startup, is doing exactly this. The startup plans the nitty-gritty details of your road trip to make it a cherishable experience.

ScoutMyTrip in a nutshell

Startup Name ScoutMyTrip
Headquarters Mumbai
Founders Deepak Ananth and Vineet Rajan
Sector Travel and Tourism
Founded 2016
Parent Organization ScoutMyTrip Private Limited

ScoutMyTrip - About
ScoutMyTrip - Industry Details
ScoutMyTrip - Founders And Team
ScoutMyTrip - How It Began
ScoutMyTrip - Name And Logo
ScoutMyTrip - Services
ScoutMyTrip - Revenue Model
ScoutMyTrip - Funding And Investors
ScoutMyTrip - User Acquisition
ScoutMyTrip - Startup Challenges
ScoutMyTrip - Competitors
ScoutMyTrip - Advisors And Mentors
ScoutMyTrip - Awards
ScoutMyTrip - Future Plans

ScoutMyTrip - About

ScoutMyTrip is a road trip planner which conflates human intelligence with artificial intelligence to help plan the perfect road trip for individuals. ScoutMyTrip works for all sorts of outings, from short weekend travels to long excursions.

With artificial intelligence, customers can create an itinerary containing the information necessary for their road trip—gas stations, toilets, restaurants, hotels to stay, and points of interest. The human intelligence aspect brings in the ability to personalize the information as per one's needs.

ScoutMyTrip envisions making road trips the preferred means for vacation.  

An industry first product has been introduced where a Scout (travel expert for the specific region) is virtually assisting the customer throughout the journey (before and during the trip). The Scouts give you the regional flavor and make one's holiday joyous. We call this 'Mark and Embark'! Our team is hard at work in building great tech and striving for customer delight each time.

ScoutMyTrip - Industry Details

As far as the market is concerned, the road-tripping industry is a subset of a much larger travel domain.  

“Our total addressable market is pegged at $6.6B with 33 million leisure road trips in one calendar year. This is growing at a very fast rate and we expect it to double in 3 years time. Globally, this market stands at $100B which is really what we are after; but we want to establish ourselves well in the subcontinent which is why we have started operations in Nepal and Bhutan as well” says Vineet.

Relevant Read: Taxidio - Takes Care of All Your Travel Planning Woes

ScoutMyTrip - Founders And Team

Deepak Ananth and Vineet Rajan are the founders of ScoutMyTrip.

Deepak Ananth is the CEO of ScoutMyTrip. He is an electronics graduate and had been in the corporate space for a really long time, his last assignment being with Verifone as a Director for South East Asia.

Vineet Rajan is the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of ScoutMyTrip. Vineet is a computer science graduate and has an MBA. Vineet has been involved with various startups throughout his career.

Deepak and Vineet met each other during a road trip organized by a bikers' club they were part of. They also held official positions in one of the most sought after Royal Enfield groups. This gave them a chance to collaborate in non-professional capacities. Their thoughts resonated since both wanted to do something unique in the domain of road trips, thus deliberating over possible ideas in 2015.

In terms of workload, Deepak is responsible for the overall strategy and public relations. Vineet looks into the marketing and sales segment. Neeraj is the CTO and manages everything to do with tech.  Soumen Bhowmick is the head of business.  

In 2015, we had started talking about putting our collective experience of road tripping so many kilometers into a tech product which can help other travelers. So a ‘road trip’ called ScoutMyTrip began!   Building a work drives us – and that is the common area of interest for us. Our team sticks with us; because of the independence we give them in their working style. We measure results; and not the means.  
Deepak Ananth & Vineet Rajan, ScoutMyTrip Founders

ScoutMyTrip - How It Began

Both Deepak and Vineet happen to be road trip aficionados. It was this love which inspired them to conceive ScoutMyTrip with a view to guide road-trippers on making the most out of leisurely travels.

We picked this idea because both of us love road trips. Having road tripped on the iconic Royal Enfield bikes in India with over 600,000 kilometers between us; we decided to build a solution that will help people road trip better. Because not everyone will have the knowledge of roads as we would do.

While maps have been the traditional go-to for navigational requirements, ScoutMyTrip is building a new category in road trip planning. The ideation process for ScoutMyTrip started back in late 2015.

ScoutMyTrip has been designed after taking suggestions from men and women consumed by wanderlust (not limited to bikers) and scouts to make the product more customer-centric. The product's features are the results of the feedback from more than 500 fellow travelers and Scouts. The ScoutMyTrip team carried out a survey involving over 1000 people (including individuals not too inclined towards travelling) to cover every possible scenario. This is imperative given the dynamics of the decision-making process when it comes to travelling. The team also reached out to members of various travel clubs in India. The intimate discussions with these travel communities have been pivotal in onboarding travel experts for helping others.

Some of the first people we spoke to about ScoutMyTrip were all kicked. From investors, the biking community, travel forums and everyone around. We did, however, get a sense that we would have to establish ourselves very quickly; and hence we started seed funded the company in 2016.

Since the startup emphasized on having seasoned travelers help plan trips, it wanted to have the essence of a 'guide' in its name. After much consideration, the name ScoutMyTrip was finalized for it captured this essence through 'Scout'.

The Logo shows an inverted magnifying glass and signifies a bird pecking when seen straight (birds usually symbolize freedom). The road in the center is symbolic of travelling. The three colors represent the brand's values—community, safety and fun.

A lot of thought has gone into the logo. A good friend Kirtee understood our requirements and came up with that effective logo. We still sometimes joke about how much we troubled her for the logo but wherever we go, we get great feedback on the logo and that is always music to the ears of any founder.
ScoutMyTrip Logo

Relevant Read: Ithaka:  Makes Customized Travel Packages For You

ScoutMyTrip - Services

ScoutMyTrip is a freemium product. A customer can sign up for free on the website and can plan their road trips using the planner for a lifetime. The planner allows the user to add 25-way points (Google allows you just 10) on their route. It suggests places to stay and eat, gas stations, and things to do—all under one platform.

Customers can choose to pay a premium in case they would like assistance with their planning. They are then assigned Scouts who help not just in building itineraries but also by providing virtual assistance throughout the trip.

ScoutMyTrip from the beginning has followed a very community-centric approach. Be it a community of travelers or that of Scouts. It's always about the people with technology which revolves around it. Scouts are the key differentiator for us. We're a marketplace of travel experts who curate the best on the road experiences.

ScoutMyTrip has partnered with travel experts and individuals from different parts of India. These skilled individuals know the local haunts, have adequate knowledge about different places to visit, and are the best people to reach out to for a well-planned road trip. ScoutMyTrip has reach all over India and also services Indian travelers visiting Nepal and Bhutan.

The company has scaled quite a few times – from being just another travel agency to doing marketing campaigns for travel brands and now fully focusing on helping people plan awesome road trips.

Itinerary Created by ScoutMyTrip

ScoutMyTrip - Revenue Model

ScoutMyTrip has a well-planned revenue model and earns revenue from the following sources:

  • Hiring a Scout: When a traveler contacts an expert (Scout), ScoutMyTrip earns a percentage of the planning fee. The rates vary from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 9000 and can go up to Rs. 50,000 for custom trips and itineraries.
  • Platform integrations: The planner can be integrated with other travel websites for a wholesome user experience.
  • Corporate tie-ups and group tours: ScoutMyTrip has been successfully doing this for more than a year now and has organized over 500 group road trips for individuals and corporate houses.
  • Road trip packages: Once the trips are planned, the ScoutMyTrip Experience team bundles the following as part of the package:

  - Hotel bookings.

     - Self-drive cars and taxis.

     - Guides.

     - Roadside assistance/insurance.

ScoutMyTrip - Funding And Investors

ScoutMyTrip raised seed funding from Z Nation Lab in April 2017.

Funding Date Funding Stage Funding Amount Investors
April 2017 Angel Round Undisclosed Z Nation Lab

ScoutMyTrip - User Acquisition

ScoutMyTrip was launched for insider access or closed beta in October 2016. It got its first 5000 signups in one month and there has been no looking back ever since. ScoutMyTrip had incidentally launched its blog much before the website came into existence. This allowed the company to build communication with its target customers. Through its blogs, the team was able to expounded the vision for its product to an eagerly awaiting consumer base.

Content marketing has been a driver for ScoutMyTrip. The company has approximately 90 % of its users coming through social media platforms powered by influencers already a part of the ScoutMyTrip community. Word of mouth publicity also has been a good contributor for ScoutMyTrip with around 10% of user acquisition from this stream.

The majority of spending by ScoutMyTrip in the marketing space are on Facebook and Instagram advertising. A lot more time is vested on SEO and building great content which markets itself.

ScoutMyTrip takes pride in being a content-driven brand and has taken ownership of three intellectual properties to keep in touch with its focus group—the travel enthusiasts.

  • The Great Indian Food Trip: The Great Indian Food Trip is an exploratory drive by ScoutMyTrip through the hinterlands of India for rediscovering some of the most iconic and largely lost gems of Indian cuisine.
  • The Highest Blogger Meet: The idea here is to take influential bloggers from different walks of life to the highest motorable roads in the world. On those roads, ScoutMyTrip hosts a blogger meet, setting a record in terms of altitude each time. The last successful attempt was at Khardung La in partnership with OYO Rooms.
  • #AageSeRight: A viral sensation on Instagram that is common amongst road trippers. AageSeRight is a Hindi phrase used as a response when asking for directions; ScoutMyTrip was able to create a medium of brand recall through this hashtag.  

Relevant Read: Guiddoo: Discovers and Books The Best In-destination Experiences To Make Your Trip Fun

ScoutMyTrip - Startup Challenges

Deepak and Vineet had the most modest upbringing, belonging to middle-class Indian families. Deepak had been working in corporate roles (at senior positions in reputed companies) for over 20 years before ScoutMyTrip. Vineet had an entrepreneurial mindset throughout his career but his only brush was by being a member of an established startup. As a result, launching a startup was no less than a challenge due to lack of prior experience as told by Vineet.

Whether such a platform would find place and apprehensions about them treading the right path plagued the founders in the initial phase.  

Our families were very supportive. Parents who heard us out asked the right questions and then wholeheartedly supported us, spouses who stood by us, ready to fight the same battles along with us, helped to make our minds up, much easier.    

ScoutMyTrip - Competitors

As Vineet says, the biggest competitors are the airlines and railways which make up for over 80% of all travel spends in India. Google Maps is a formidable opponent given its reach and popularity when it comes to navigation.

Globally, ScoutMyTrip faces resistance from Road Trippers and Furkot which are slowly building their presence in India. Desi competitors include Easy Roads and Highway Delite. However, the highly experienced Scouts associated with ScoutMyTrip are its USP and the major differentiator from its competitors.

We are different in terms of us being a very community driven space where our Scouts are the USP to ScoutMyTrip. We encourage road trips for everyone and plan it keeping in mind the likes of our customers.

ScoutMyTrip - Advisors And Mentors

ScoutMyTrip’s investor, Z Nation Labs, is also its primary mentor.

We get great support, industry connects and advice from the leadership team of Z Nation labs which includes Amit Jain, Anup Mehta and Neha Jain.  

After being incubated by NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups initiative and the Maharashtra State Innovation Society, ScoutMyTrip is getting regular support from their team as well.

ScoutMyTrip - Awards

ScoutMyTrip has had its fair share of recognition including the recent incubation by NASSCOM's 10,000 startups initiative. The honors bestowed on ScoutMyTrip in 2019 are:

  • April 2019 - Selected as one of the Top Startups by NASSCOM as part of the 10,000 Startups Program.
  • March 2019 - Recognized by Startup India / DIPP.
  • February 2019 -Winners of the Maharashtra Startup Week by the Govt. of Maharashtra.
  • January 2019 - Entrepreneur India listed ScoutMyTrip as the top 50 startups to watch out for in 2019.
  • July 2019 - ScoutMyTrip won the Conquest 2019 startup challenge by BITS Pilani which opened new doors in terms of partnerships and investor connects.
  • August 2019 - ScoutMyTrip was invited by DIGITARAYA x tiket.com accelerator programme for expansion into SE Asia.

Earlier Awards include being chosen as one of the top 20 travel tech startups by FICCI in 2017, Top 10 startups in India (Silicon India), and many more.

ScoutMyTrip - Future Plans

ScoutMyTrip has received a positive response from the traveler community; it has partnered with reputed brands to maintain the flow. Over the last two years, ScoutMyTrip has been aggressively improving its Scout and agent network to service the ever-increasing customer requirements. The company’s business partners include Treebo Hotels, OYO, Agoda, Booking.com, MyChoize self-drive cars, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Honda Cars India to name a few.

Over the next 1-2 years, ScoutMytrip is looking at consolidating the Indian market where there is a churn in the making as observed by its team.

For its long term vision, ScoutMyTrip aspires to be present in every aspect of a road trip. The ScoutMyTrip team has christened this plan as ‘Dashboard to Dhabha’, where the idea is to integrate ScoutMyTrip into cars to make it easier for car owners to conceive a journey. This comprises showing recommendations of other roadtrippers, real and live assistance from Scouts all over the country, detours to explore the countryside, and other provisions. This shall enable ScoutMyTrip to create an extensive database which would then be used to provide up to date, real-time information in assisting holidaymakers.

After spending a week in Indonesia understanding the travel and tourism industry, the co-founders are considering expansion into a new market next year. They are in discussions with partners to venture into the SE Asian markets and provide a full suite of services not limited to hotels, flights, and last mile connectivity for trips.

It is hard to navigate through the maze and there is a long way before we as a country make it simpler for startups. And advice is not easy to come by, we had to learn a lot of it ourselves- Vineet Rajan
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About Chayanika Goswami

Chayanika is an MBA in Finance and a trained Digital Marketer. SEO and content writing are her hobbies turned profession. She is a rover. In her free time, she loves traveling and cracking jokes.
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