Padhaaro is a social marketplace where travellers get to meet friendly locals, helping them get a taste of unexplored gems and also promote intercultural exchange through travel. Ish Jindal and Saurabh Jain launched Padhaaro in January 2012 in Bangalore.
The idea of Padhaaro was conceived while we were traveling to Moscow in 2011 for an International Youth Forum. “Since Russia didn’t seem to be as English-friendly as other European countries, even though we had tourist maps in hand, we were confused and nervous about traveling places in Moscow,” says Ish, a graduate from NIT Warangal. “A lady from Moscow who was a part of our camp in the Youth Forum, came over to help us walk around important places in Moscow, explaining us the historical and current significance of important places, places to dine, shop and help us skip the places that were not important. It saved us a lot of time, money and energy,” adds Saurabh, an IIT Delhi pass out.
In the end, travel really is about experiences and the relationships you make over your journey and not about clicking pictures of monuments. These 3-4 hours with a local Russian gave the founders a perspective into how the locals live, what they do, how the cultures vary.
It helped them realize the importance of having someone “friendly” in a new place with a new language and new culture. “And it becomes much more important in a country like India where the dialect changes every 100kms,” adds Ish. Thus Padhaaro started with an idea to help people get to experience something more than fixed itineraries and packages.
Padhaaro’s USP is that it connects travellers to local Indians, who can be anyone from an educated student to a working professional to housewife to a retired person who likes meeting and greeting the tourists as Friends, and not as a professional guide. The tourists get to explore and discover places which they wouldn’t have visited if they were just going by the guide books or pre-planned packages. Also, the tourists can talk to these local Indians as much as they want before arriving to India – a facility not available with the travel agents. Knowing someone in a city before going to that city actually brings in a completely new touch to the visit.
They have partnered with Holidify.com and Trip38 (an app for all your travel needs). This team of 7 people plans to add features all aimed towards making traveller’s experience as informed, smooth and local as possible. They are also working a lot on the technology and want to streamline the whole process of connecting and matching people. As a message for future entrepreneurs, Ish says, “Today is brutal, tomorrow is worse and the day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most of the people will give up tomorrow night. So be patient and keep shipping.”
Padhaaro.com is a part of Batch 10 of the Morpheus, the first accelerator in India to work with early stage entrepreneurs.