Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India
Varun Khona | 29Co-founder and CEO, Headout
While in Paris a few years ago, Varun Khona was inconvenienced by the lack of options for a structured and high quality tourist experience, including sight-seeing, shows, concerts and other local activities. His friend Suren Sultania, who lived in Paris, and another friend Vikram Jit Singh, joined hands to find a solution.
Within two weeks, all three quit everything they were doing and reached Bengaluru, where Headout was launched in 2015. Khona, one of the founders of the digital platform, decided to make last-minute travellers their target customers. “There was an absolute lack of a service that could provide experiences and the convenience of last-minute bookings. One had to depend on Google for everything. I wanted to change that,” Khona says.
Headout has been designed to provide curated tourist experiences for last-minute bookings. The app is powered by artificial intelligence that gathers data about user preferences to design personalised experiences and provide recommendations. Khona launched the service globally since their market study revealed that the Indian market hasn’t matured yet.
Nexus Venture Partners Co-founder Suvir Sujan, one of the initial investors in the startup, says, “The idea of a service specially curated for you was impressive and that’s why we have been investing in them for the last four years.”
Khona says the plan is to expand to 100 cities globally in this year and up to 500 by 2022. They want to introduce services in India too.
(This story appears in the 14 February, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)