Hrishabh Sanghvi

Co-founder and CTO at Railofy
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Railofy is an early-stage travel tech startup. We are trying to solve the congestion problem in the Indian Railways. Many people from different countries may not be aware, but in India, the demand/supply gap is huge when it comes to railway travel. The railway capacity is going up, but the population growth is larger, so the demand is always going to be greater than the supply. The Indian government is trying to solve this problem by increasing capacity through international investments as well as private train operators who can bring in additional investment needed to add more railway tracks and trains. However, this is a slow process due to the cost. I believe it will take at least 5-10 years to solve this issue completely.

In India, whenever there is more demand than supply with train seats, people are put on a waiting list. If you look at the numbers, one in every two people who buy a railway ticket in India are waitlisted at the time of booking. It’s a very big problem, and this is what we’re trying to solve: to enable those waitlisted passengers to get to their desired destinations at the cheapest price possible (as India is a very price-sensitive market). To begin with, we are solving this problem with our travel protection product; when a passenger is waitlisted, we give them the option to purchase our travel protection, and if their railway ticket doesn’t get confirmed at the time of departure, we send them on a flight for the similar cost of the railway ticket. The trains in India are a public utility so the prices are lower compared to flights. Typically, a flight would cost three times the price of a train ticket, so that’s where our value comes in for our consumers.

The first product we launched is the travel protection product, which assures the passenger’s journey. In order to price this properly, we have various inputs that go into our pricing algorithm. This algorithm needs to know the prices of flights, the different flight options (i.e., direct flights or flights with connections), number of seats available, and the chances of passengers getting a confirmed seat. Therefore, I need to collect a lot of online data around railway congestion to be able to analyze the railway network in India, which is complex. We need this in order to predict both railway and airline congestion levels, and how we should set our prices.

We use the Bright Data Proxy Manager, which is very useful for us, as well as Bright Data’s Data Center IPs and Residential IPs. We have been working with Bright Data for the last year.

Our experience has been excellent. We are working with various proxy providers, but there are very few that offer us the specific functionality we need within the Residential IPs. Also, in terms of downtime or outages, if there are any, there’s very proactive communication with Bright Data, and it’s only ever for very short periods of time. It fits our needs perfectly.

For us, this first product that we’ve launched is just an entry point into the market. Our aim is to be the largest brand in the Indian Railways space. The opportunity is huge in India, as 90% of Indians travel by train compared to only 8% of Indians by flights, so we obviously want to target the 90% and build a very big company. We want to become the household brand for anything to do with railways, including tickets, food, entertainment, etc.

We will absolutely continue working with Bright Data.

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