When space matters

When space matters

Startup tale

When space matters

Every other day, Bengaluru welcomes a new idea that grows into a successful venture. The startup culture in the city has been a blessing for many ventures, both big and small.

Arun Rafi tasted success within a few days of launching his venture ‘OpenOut’. His experience of working with United Breweries (UB) for three years gave him the necessary exposure required for the startup.

“During my tenure at UB, I used to do a lot of visits to different restaurants, pubs and hangouts and spoke to customers. What I realised is that there is a need for personal space for people where they can meet and share their interests with each other. This is not really possible in bars and restaurants. That was the stepping stone to work on an idea like ‘OpenOut’,” says Arun.

His idea was to create a space for people at a place as simple as someone’s house where like-minded people can gather and have a pleasant time associating with each other.

Explaining the concept, he says that while organising house parties, there are times when friends of friends tend to come along. It’s not that people are shy to meet new people, it is simply that they want to meet the right kind of people.

 “If I had thought about this four years back, it probably would have been an alien
concept. But today with ventures like ‘Ola’ and ‘Uber’ share and ‘Airbnb’, there is
an accepting attitude among people. Sharing one’s personal space is no more a foreign idea,” says Arun.

His venture brings together hosts and guests to bond over interesting at-home events.All the members (hosts and guests) are personally verified and any host who has a decent place or anyone who is willing to open their house to people and share a skill or talent they possess are invited.

“The last one we had was a rugby social open-out, where there were people from the Karnataka Rugby Federation who wanted to introduce this sport to people who didn’t know about it. There were 12 people who came and within no time, everyone was hooting for some or the other player. This space is a much more chilled out place for like-minded people to interact with each other, rather than hanging out in a public space like a bar or a pub,” explains Arun.

It is a platform for anyone who has a talent or a skill to showcase as well as to build a personal brand. An important aspect of this venture is the screening and filtering of the audience which is done directly by Arun.

With such a venture in the market, the concept of ‘stranger danger’ is slowly dying and it can be seen that people in the city are becoming more open to the concept of giving out a personal space.

“What I have noticed is that most of the people who come for these open-outs are 30 years and above. The striking part is that they are people who hail from states other than Karnataka and have settled here for different purposes. The challenge, I believe, is to get the right audience which is the fabric of this venture. The focus is to keep the crowd extremely filtered and limited to a few people,” says Arun.

He plans to organise an open-out every Saturday and Sunday for the next three months after which he will open it to a bigger audience through the app (which will again be filtered).

 “Once the ‘OpenOut’ scene is perfect in Bengaluru, I will look at extending it to other cities (not metros but places like Pune and Goa) where there is an influx of tourists and people look forward to doing something that they have never done before. That’s when this venture will really click,” expresses Arun.

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