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My Startup Story: In the conversation with Vineet Kumar Chirania, CEO, Trainman


Trainman started its journey in 2014, with an objective to provide simple and user-friendly interface to the complex Indian Railway rules and systems on the site and mobile applications.
According to Vineet Kumar Chirania, CEO, Trainman, Indian Railways carries 23 million people every day, which is more than the population of Australia. This means that nearly 2 per cent of Indian population is on a train on any given day.
Raghvendra Shikhrani gets in the conversation with Chirania to understand the objective behind Trainman.
Edited excerpts
. What inspired you to launch Trainman? How long did it take to put together the initial version of Trainman?
Train is the lifeline of travel in India. Indian Railways carries 23 million people (which is more than the population of Australia) on trains every day. This means that nearly 2% of Indian Population is on train on any given day. Railways system is quite difficult to understand for a normal user.
Also, getting a waitlisted ticket is quite common especially during summers vacations and festivals. This leads to confusion - will it get confirmed or not? People needed a smart system that can not only predict the confirmation of waitlisted tickets but also give all other information in a very simple and user-friendly way. Thus, Trainman was born.
It took us 6-7 months initially to devise and implement the mechanism that worked fine and started solving real life problems. We launched Trainman finally on May 30, 2014.
What are the major challenges for Trainman? How are you dealing with them?
For building a prediction engine we need lots and lots of data. Data collection is a huge challenge. Building a sustainable business model is another challenge as we do not charge a penny from user. We have a huge user base due to which we are able to monetize sufficiently through ads to keep our business running.
Please take us through your funding journey.
We are bootstrapped and running profitable. We might raise money in future if we find an investor who likes and understands our product on a whole and not just from financial angle.
What is your business model?
Trainman is an online platform which gives information and intelligence pertaining to Indian Railways. Our product can be accessed via site (www.trainman.in) and mobile apps for android, iphone and windows platforms. It is a one stop shop for all information regarding Indian railways.
A user can check PNR status, seat availability, train schedule etc. The USP of our product is confirmation chances of waiting list tickets. Trainman is the pioneer app in this segment and more than 90% of the predictions are correct.
Our major chunk of revenue comes from advertisements. We have also tied up with relevant businesses like Cleartrip (for flight/hotel booking) and Jugnoo (for auto booking) to generate and share revenues.
How dense is your user base? Which is your biggest market?
We receive 2 lakh visits on a daily basis. Total app downloads is close to 5 lakhs across all platforms - android, iphone and windows. We witnessed 10 fold growth on apps compared to last year. Our android app has a rating of 4.5/5 on playstore.
Anyone who travels by Indian railways and owns a smart phone is our potential customer. Therefore almost all of India is our market with most usage coming from metro cities.
What are your strategies to market and promote Trainman?
We have mainly used google adwords for digital promotion. Apart from this our product does marketing for us. We have got a lot of publicity by word-of-mouth owing to the simplicity and user-friendliness of our product.
How big is your team? How do you manage day to day operations at Trainman?
Started by Mohd Amir in May 2014. As of now there are three core members. All are from IIT Roorkee. Details follow
Vineet Kumar Chirania, CEO Mohd Amir, Founder Karan Kumar, VP Mobile Apps
How has the journey been so far? What are your targets for next sixth months?
The journey has been encouraging with lots of learning’s and ups and downs. The growth on android app has been phenomenal.
In next six months we want to cater to tier II and tier III cities as well and for that, we will increase the features on our app so that it becomes a one tap solution for our users. Our mid-term target is to triple our active user base by the end of this year.
What are your future plans? Where do you see Trainman two years down the line?
Think Train, Think Trainman” - This is where we want to be. If anyone thinks about trains, Trainman is the first app that should come to his/her mind.
We have a lot of other interesting features in our pipeline but we can’t divulge them right now.

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