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The OneBoard Story, Part 1: Inception and Early Days banner Image

The OneBoard Story, Part 1: Inception and Early Days

Hello, I’m Ryan Prazeres, co-founder of OneBoard, and here’s Part 1 of my story about how OneBoard came about.

OneBoard is a covid baby. It was never supposed to be its own company. In 2021, I owned and operated Piggy Hostels, a chain of hostels. At the time, which is February 2021, I wanted to build AR tech with a concierge app for Piggy Hostels and pivot to a tech-based model for my growing hostel chain. But when covid happened, I quickly came to the realisation that scaling for the future would be extremely difficult until it was tech-enabled.

I took a flight to Bangalore after setting up meetings with 2 friends who I stayed in Bangalore for 3 nights. I initially met Dwarak (whom I had met and acquired a small hostel he was running in Varkala to be part of Piggy) who had given me great ideas and suggestions as he was working on his own tech company and since he had in-depth knowledge of hostels by running the same for 2 years.

Next, I went and met Ashrith (again someone who I encountered during Piggy as he helped me set up a wifi management system across my hostels) who has been building tech and is a back-end developer. The same night I met with Ashrith in his basement office and we were figuring out I could develop an app for Piggy. The idea was simple, AR mascot acting as a concierge also selling experiences.

After a lot of coffee, food and lots and lots of gin, we quickly came to the conclusion that there is a big market for this and the hostel experience space is the right niche to enter.

Over the next two days, we met more and drank lots of beer and fine-tuned a basic idea to test out. After 3 days I returned to Goa and we continued to discuss and chat and decided that we should co-found a new venture and Ashrith would come on board as CTO.

In the meanwhile, I had decided that at this point I would want to find someone as passionate about the hostel space I was and hand over Piggy Hostels, a three-year-old baby to them. After 3 months of searching, I found a group of 4 entrepreneurs from Pune who were looking to expand pan-India and Piggy’s national footprint appealed to them. After much talk they acquired Piggy, but that’s a long story for another day.

By the following month a.k.a. March, Ashrith flew down to Goa and we planned a one-week pilot to start off with. Whiteboard in hand, Ashrith and I, along with Saurabh who headed content for my Piggy team began work. Within 2 days we had built and began testing at the Calangute hostel I was running. We had some initial success in the initial phase and came up with an MVP.

Over the next 2 months, we continued to pilot and test across other Piggy Hostels before the acquisition was completed. In June 2021 we incorporated and were off to the races.

Thank you for reading, if you’d like to reach out to us, please drop us a text on WhatsApp at +91 8766720168 Stay tuned for Part 2!