Ritesh Raj of CuddlyNest

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Ritesh Raj (co-founder and COO) of CuddlyNest, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of CuddlyNest – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

I and my co-founder Haitham Saead were both traveling out and about frequently, but we always seemed to have logistical issues. We’d be using so many different platforms for our bookings because our trip types would vary, so sometimes we’d need an apartment, sometimes a hotel, and sometimes a hostel. Because different property types are so dispersed across different platforms, all our bookings were scattered. As we dealt with one mess after another, we realized how much of a need there was for a centralized platform.

Also, many of our friends are property owners and they all had a similar pain point of high commission rates with the online travel agencies they use. So we really had a deep understanding of their struggles and built a business model that tackles those.

And that’s how CuddlyNest came about back in 2017.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

This won’t come as a surprise to any of your readers: the pandemic. While we managed to raise a major round of funding smack in the middle of the pandemic, the travel industry was drastically harmed during this time and we had to change our direction on-the-go. All the data that we had relied on to lead our strategy was rendered useless. In our four-year history, nothing really matches the pandemic as a hurdle. Hopefully it’s the last of its kind!

What does the future hold for CuddlyNest?

A lot. We’re launching the CuddlyNest Care Program to support property owners, waiving our service fee for a time period. More on this will be announced in our Newsroom soon. Looking further into the future, CuddlyNest will be localized for certain markets and that’s something I’m really excited about.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Orlando?

It’s a great city with lots of opportunity and there’s a massive talent pool to work with. I love what’s going on all around, though admittedly, we have been operating out of various hubs simultaneously, including Dubai and Berlin.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Take risks! A risk-free approach won’t bring any innovation and will keep everything in standstill, limiting how far you can compete. I think a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs don’t have an understanding of how risky risks should be!

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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