The CEO of Georama, Nihal Advani, says that he's most excited that his company is set to disrupt the travel industry and that in doing so, he has the support of Microsoft. The company recently launched a Windows 8 app.
According to Nihal, who spent five years at Microsoft in several roles, "Georama’s mission is to provide savvy travelers with the most powerful tools before, during, and after their trips, making the entire travel process convenient and fun."
BizSpark: Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
Nihal Advani: I’m Nihal Advani – Founder & CEO of Georama.
BizSpark: What did you do before creating your company?
Nihal Advani: Prior to Georama I was at Microsoft for 5 years. My first 3.5 years I worked in multiple roles across Search (Bing/adCenter) like Strategist, Account Manager, Business Analyst, and Sales Specialist. In my last role at Microsoft I was on the Display advertising side as Program Manager for the Microsoft Media Network.
BizSpark: In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
Nihal Advani: Georama is a one-stop solution that lets travelers plan, book & share their trips on a unique interactive map. It’s visual, immersive & fun!
BizSpark: How did you get the idea for your company?
Nihal Advani: While traveling for tennis tournaments (I used to play competitive tennis) and for leisure with family (we are big travelers) I felt the pain of having to go to several different sites to plan trips. I saw an opportunity to streamline this process as well as make it more visual – and that’s how the Georama journey began.
BizSpark: Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Nihal Advani: I put in about $200K into the business and we raised an additional $300K last year. We are currently raising an angel round of up to $500K.
BizSpark: How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Nihal Advani: We have 20 people working on Georama – 15 full-time and 5 part-time. We have 10 developers.
BizSpark: Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Nihal Advani: Yes, we are looking to hire an additional Design/UX person in the near future. The position will be based in Chicago, in our headquarters at 1871 – an awesome co-working space for startups.
BizSpark: Which platform are you building on? Why?
Nihal Advani: Georama is built on the web. We also recently launched a Windows 8 app. We are now working on an updated website as well as mobile apps.
BizSpark: Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
Nihal Advani: There are tons of opportunities. Personalization based on big data is one I’m particularly interested in.
BizSpark: What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Nihal Advani: I think BizSpark is an awesome program. Getting tons of free stuff and additional help & support is great for startups. We have had incredible support from our startup evangelist partner at Microsoft (Sonal Mane) and are very grateful.
BizSpark: Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Nihal Advani: Identify a problem in an industry that you are very passionate about, go after it with everything you have got, and be persistent.
BizSpark: Who’s your role model?
Nihal Advani: Bill Gates is someone I have looked up to for a long time. While at Microsoft I had the honor of hearing him speak in person at company meetings and he is truly inspiring. Not only is he a great product visionary, he built one of the world’s largest technology companies from scratch, and is now doing an amazing job at giving back.
BizSpark: What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Nihal Advani: Georama is on its way to disrupt the travel industry and is excited about its alignment with Microsoft.