Are you Planning a Substation Trip with your Job

Are you planning a substation trip with your job search colleagues but have no place to stay? Or do you want to go on a business trip and have a better experience than a boring hotel? New technology startups have found the opportunity in this problem exactly. Ghumo is a Karachi-based startup that aims to create an online marketplace for short stays. Like Airbnb, homeowners can build a room, and tenants can find and book accommodation.

The process is very simple

Go to the website, choose houses and service houses, choose a city and start a search. You can then filter the list by date availability and price, and then book by paying 25% of the prepaid total. The portal has several integrated payment options, including cash receipts through third-party logistics partners, Jazzcash and bank cards. On the other hand, Mezbein (called by the host) is a five-step process for entering room details, amenities, location, price and uploading five or more photos.

The Ghumo model in its current form is very similar to existing models from Airbnb and Booking com. And it raises the question: what exactly is unique about the local giant? They don't understand the Pakistan market and there's no physical presence here. In contrast, we run a customer service team and have a much easier process for hosts. In addition, the price is also expressed in dollars, which is particularly expensive and price sensitive.

Especially due to the devaluation over the past year, ”says Aun Ahmed Chief Executive Officer. However, even though I quickly searched for properties registered in the portal, most of them were found to be over Rs3,000. How do you plan to enter the mass market through these price points? Wouldn't the Oyo-like model (standardizing existing budget hotels in the service with online search and booking) of lowering costs below Rs1,000 would be more appropriate in countries where demand was created at lower prices.

Of course the hotel market is much larger in India. Jovago of Pakistan's Rocket Internet tried to build a hotel booking platform and got around 3,000 odd lists, but soon realized that the entire supply was not enough to do a sustainable business. The supply side is more abundant, but where you want to eventually implement the Oyo approach to reach the mass market is different from a private home, ”says Ahmed.

Long term and will require a lot of money

But it is long term and will require a lot of money. Until then, what are the more realistic markets they are aiming for? "We currently focus on Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and are currently looking at property prices of around Rs3,000," says Ahmed. Startups charge a 3% commission on both the supply and demand sides for every booking, so there are two sources of income. Ghumo was launched in June by Aun Ahmed, who rented real estate in the United States through Airbnb before returning to Pakistan in 2018.

He joined Atif Bin Arif, the entrepreneur of the local tourist space, as Chief Brand Officer and Muhammad. A recent graduate, Abdullah Khan, took care of strategy and operations. So far, the venture has been funded by three co-founders but wants to change that. Aun and Co plan to raise a seed round of $ 750,000 through a consortium of local and foreign investors. “We are trying to collect a fairly large syndicate because we are beyond money. We want relevant experience and partners who can relate to them, ”says the co-founder.

This money is spent mainly on marketing and building larger teams once scored, while convinced that the trio can handle three times its current load when it comes to technology. Among the local players there is a similar startup under the name Let's Home, which tries to duplicate the Airbnb model. Especially in the northern area, especially around the founder Gilgit Baltistan. Weak in technology, but more closely related to our understanding of local dynamics.

And in the Pakistan market, it's usually more important than a website or a sleek interface. But for the time being, Kumo's biggest challenge is that many Pakistanis, not other startups, still don't open their doors to guests for security reasons. Let's see how these people change the culture!
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