Startup Showcase: Urban Climbers

Here’s the story of Urban Climbers which makes adventure activities like wall climbing possible in urban settings

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Tell us about the story of your startup – Why did you start this, how did you start, when did you start

We are both avid adventurists. Having trekked, hiked, climbed in Indian Himalayas and the US, numerous road trips to lesser known destinations, we came back to India in early 2009. That is when we took a hard look at climbing and adventure industry in India.

Given that wall-climbing is an exciting but relatively safe adventure sport, many people were interested but had no easy access to walls to climb on. This is where we ideated and our innovation was converting unused walls of buildings and malls into climbing walls by fitting the climbing structures on those walls.

Having a back ground in climbing and being amateur climbers helped. We also tested the various options with structural engineers to ensure that the end result was 100% safe and reliable.

This innovation helped us create adventure sports activities bang in the middle of urban spaces. Of course, this innovation helped us save on infrastructure costs as we were using existing walls of buildings.

The next effort was to evolve a pool of trainers, for which we approached practising climbers from smaller towns and advanced mountaineering qualified hill people. We now have a trainer management programme that takes care of not just climbing needs but life skills like language skills and driving skills.  We also developed a comprehensive standard operating procedures helped scale the safety barrier.

We took the first prototype out in a apartment complex – a small market some might argue but we looked from a different lens – a captive audience of 2000 kids & 2000 adults that allowed us to test the concept and demonstrate to other buildings and malls that wall climbing was exciting for children and parents. And safe.

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How did the co founders come together : Marriage and a common love for the sport.

What challenges did you face and how did you deal with them

The short journey so far has been full of new learnings just about every day. Doing everything yourself was the first challenge. Unlike a corporate job, there was no safety cushion or a network or resources to rely on. Coming from corporate backgrounds, this took a little time getting used to.

Learning things way out of your comfort zone and realm of knowledge has been another challenge.

What is your aspiration for the venture: To be a brand which the consumer says “ You have climbed if you are an urban climber”

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What did you learn from the journey so far

  • Dont presume. Dont assume
  • Outputs come out of processes, input cycles – crunching those just gets your BP up.
  • Have fun doing what you are doing – don’t turn life into an emergency
  • Come what may, retain our passion – that is what people are coming to us for

If you had to start all over again, what would you do different

The journey has not even begun yet. There is wisdom of budhha raining down on us. We will continue to learn and have fun. There will always be choices to make – we will make them , learn from them and change them as needed

 

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Author: Prajakt Raut

Prajakt Raut is the founder of Applyifi.com, and author of the book for startups - ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’ Prajakt personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs. _____________ Prajakt is the founder of Applyifi - an online platform that provides startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report on the venture's investment readiness [www.applyifi.com], and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. Prajakt is also the founding partner of The Growth Labs, a platform where growth-stage companies get sharp, incisive advice from senior professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. [www.thegrowthlabs.in] Before starting Applyifi, Prajakt was the head of operations at IAN, founding member of a leading incubator, and the Asia-Director for TiE (2004 - 2007). Previously Prajakt had co-founded Orange Cross, a healthcare services company, and was part of the founding team member of Idealake Technologies. While in college Prajakt had founded a printing business and has spent over 10 years working in leading advertising agencies. Prajakt’s book, ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’, helps startups understand an investor’s perspective, and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. The book also helps entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a business.

1 thought on “Startup Showcase: Urban Climbers”

  1. very nice! in fact being a climber of sorts and an adventure lover myself, i have been seriously thinking of starting a similar venture on the side of my 5 storey(60ft) building in Jalandhar, Punjab, and even got an expert to review the plan, however, am still unsure about the commercial viability of the project – will people be really interested?
    Can you provide guidance for the project?

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