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Why choose one path when you can be awesome and take many?
Robert Frost led most to believe that when two roads fork and you walk down one, it’s difficult to come back. However, Priya Majumdar’s journey is a testimony to what really happens afterwards. She took a path that caught her eye and that has made all the difference.
“I have always loved travelling!”, she says “when I was younger and in college, my very first trip was to Bali with friends where I explored Scuba diving and nearly died. I started gasping water almost 10 meters below the surface. I didn’t think that I’d see the sun again, but I did. While I was in the middle of the sea alone, floating, recouping and waiting for my friends to come back up I decided travelling was fun and I wanted to do it solo one day.”
The induction of a traveller
What followed suit was a series of fortunate events that shaped not just her professional life, but her journey as a digital nomad too. A few semesters later, she landed an internship at Humboldt University in Berlin. That was the only ticket she needed to travel and she made the best of it!
“The internship lasted two months and almost every Friday I was out exploring Europe. I went to Paris and met a couple of friends there. We fed on beer (quite literally – lunch) and then took a nap in the gardens of Versailles, saw the Eiffel Tower and climbed it on foot – twice, and did so many other crazy things.”
While this was all in groups, she got the taste of solo travel when she found herself in Europe once again. This time, it was for a work trip that she extended, travelling from London to Scotland, Hamburg to Barcelona, Ibiza, Porto and even Lisbon.
From travelling to entrepreneurship
“Being alone in a new place was initially uncomfortable. At home or travelling with friends gives you the comfort of familiarity.” But she didn’t let that get in her way.
“In Barcelona, an idea struck me. While I was walking in amongst the old town city walls I wondered what stories these lanes held. The next day I took a walking tour and the most profound moment that moved me was when the tour guide put his hand on the wall and said ‘here you go, I am in the 14th century. Have you seen such a cool Time Machine?’”
That’s where her first brainchild – ExploreMaps – took shape. The idea was to capture all the stories in a place on a map that travellers could use to navigate – like an actual time machine! Her idea took shape when her flatmates got on board too. 6 months of work later she quit her job to really focus on building the app and taking it to the market.
Lessons from her first startup - Explore Maps
While her co-founders couldn’t follow suit, Priya had a huge learning curve on this journey. Another 6 months later, Michelle, her current co-founder hopped on to manage sales and marketing. However, just before they could launch the final product in 2019, the pandemic hit and all travel came to standstill.
“We pulled with limited funds, tried raising money in an extremely uncertain market, and eventually pivoted into building our product consulting studio. We were gearing up for some really awesome stuff but halfway through realised that we needed more funding. However, due to all the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, no one really had a vision for this. To cut costs, we had to let some people go and the four of us got to working again.”
When one thing led to another...
This is where things started changing for Priya’s business. A lot of people saw the genius behind the product and asked her if her team could design products for them. They began consulting and designing for other businesses and that’s where their first revenue came from. Since then, Priya has been overturning the world of fintech and health tech with her seamless products. Over time they got really good at building things and decided to pursue this further on a larger scale.
“Growing meant having to hire people and bind them to contracts. I hated it. So we took a thorough look at things and decided to build something for the web3 folks who in general are remote workers. Moreover, they usually handle multiple projects and aren’t tied by employment contracts.”
Her current product with Michelle – NeonSundae – was born to help give professionals in the web3 space a structure to their contracts.
Neon Sundae - her entry into the world of Web3
“NeonSundae is Upwork on steroids on the blockchain. Upwork is a marketplace for freelance talents which often does end with bad experiences. NeonSundae, on the other hand is a tool where we build connectors into these project management tools such as Jira, Trello, and ClickUp. If companies want to work with freelancers, they can connect these tools through our software and everything is done on the chain. There will always be proof of work, seamless payments across geography – a decentralised system.”
Today, NeonSundae is the rewamped version of FoundersLab, a space where work is as smooth as a sundae. The powerful tool can enable more independent travellers to work stress-free.
Priya’s love for travel led her to explore unknown frontiers, become comfortable in her solitude, make international friends and enable others to work remotely too. When Robert Frost said that the road not taken made all the difference, we think we know what he was talking about.