India’s first start-up hostel opens doors in Bengaluru
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Bengaluru: At the newly opened Construkt Startup Hostel, a young woman sprawled on a sofa that looks suspiciously like a bathtub peers intently at her laptop.
“We pulled that out of one of the bathrooms and remodelled it,” laughs Shashikiran Rao, the co-founder and head of business development at Construkt. “It is a bit of a take-off from the Archimedes story: we wanted a spot where people can jump up and say ‘Eureka’.”
Located in one of Bengaluru’s biggest start-up hubs Indiranagar, the three-storeyed building that houses the hostel is painted a cheery orange and white “because these are the Construkt colours”, says Rao, adding that the hostel is an extension of its core philosophy: to forge connections and celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship.
“Construkt has been in the start-up community space for the last four years now. We started off with a festival which is recognized as one of the largest festivals and have been experimenting with the counter-culture experiences,” says Rao, who started Construkt Media in 2012 along with Karan Bahadur.
A visit to Berlin last year sparked off the idea of the hostel.
“Although I knew no one there when I arrived, I made a lot of friends when I reached out to the entrepreneurial community. It helped me see the place so differently,” says Rao.
When he returned, Rao conducted a small survey “of founders of start-ups and realized that there was a requirement of at least 18,000 room nights per year”, he says.
Inspired by the backpacker hostel culture, Construkt decided to create a space that not only offered a cost-effective boarding facility but also created touch-points for the community to interact in the city often described as India’s Silicon Valley.
“Backpackers come together and travel together,” says Rao, “We took that inspiration and matched it with the hacker community and called ourselves the hackpackers.”
Work started on the 3,500 sq.ft rented place last November—doing up the place cost around Rs.22 lakh, says Rao—and doors were officially thrown open on 9 May this year.
A dizzying medley of colour greets you in the lounge and dining area—low settees and stools in orange, green, blue and yellow are clustered around small tables; a bright blue sofa (yes, the same bathtub one) is upholstered in an equally bright yellow—the same shade as the curtains; a large spray-painted chest doubles as a centre table; patterned throws and rugs cover the floor while colourful striped cushions add an extra zing to the space.
“There is a lot of jugaad here —it is all recycled or upcycled,” Rao says pointing out that the stools, in their former life, were once spools on which industrial wire was entwined.
A winding staircase leads you to the rooms beyond—NASA posters, smart quotations and pictures of icons like Tagore, Jobs and Da Vinci greet you as you walk up. The four multiple-seater bedrooms, priced at Rs.850/night, are equipped with orange bunk-beds, storage space, bathrooms, whiteboards and writable walls and come with access to a self-catering kitchen, free wi-fi, laundry space and plenty of coffee.
“The entrepreneurial community is a very creative one, and we wanted this place to reflect that,” explains Rao.