Team Blog

The End :)

posted 10 Mar 2017, 07:47 by BAHETY DHANRAJ   [ updated 10 Mar 2017, 07:53 ]

Its been a wonderful journey with my team. We've all been frustrated at each other at some point or the other, but we always came out stronger. It was a risk going at it with a big team (at 7 people we were the largest team in the Batch), but boy when the going got tough we got through it because we had the 7 people there. 
MiE has been a wonderful learning experience, and we will always cherish it. Sadly enough the last time all 7 of us met physically was in November, and we didn't really take a pic of everyone back then, so we dont have a recent full team photo to post here. So here's a pic of all of us from the first conceptual business presentation we gave at the start of the journey, and a pic of the 5 presenters at the Business showcase at the end of the journey with MiE, smiling ear to ear in our Dorm Buddy tshirts at all we've accomplished, and pride in our hearts for the team we worked with and the people we've grown into :)


posted 10 Mar 2017, 07:18 by SI YA PEY   [ updated 10 Mar 2017, 07:24 ]

8 March 2017

Today is the day!

After many months of hardwork, we can finally share with others some of our stories throughout the past 5-6 months :')

Here is Dhanraj explaining Dorm Buddy! These people are not from MIE,
 they came down simply because they are interested in entrepreneurship! WOW!
(spot our pot of gold bribery haha!)

Many people are really interested in our idea and some even want to start a franchise with us!!

 Our last presentation in MIE..

Qian Hui skyping with us from Shanghai!

AND TADA!! A wefie after the presentation! 
Couldn't have asked for a better team :)

Even though MIE is over, Dorm Buddy has just started. Received some feedbacks from Roderick, Adrian and the audience and we will definitely be working on them. We will also be focusing more on our expansion plans, such as customer base expansion, technological advancements as well as a some changes to our suppliers. Hopefully, by May 2017, we are able to provide an even better and memorable experience for our next batch of customers ! LEGGO DORMBUDDY!!

The numbers that count

posted 10 Mar 2017, 05:09 by GUPTA RINIE   [ updated 10 Mar 2017, 07:23 by BAHETY DHANRAJ ]

After months of hardwork, we managed to get decent returns on our investment in our pilot run. However, a closer look at the numbers Dhanraj came up with revealed that we will be unsustainable as at the current level of operation as we incurred little to no overheads like warehousing and wages. We are channeling our time to grow Dorm Buddy while keeping it financially viable as it is truly a helpful platform in a multi-national country like Singapore. 

Kindly visit the link below for the income statement, balance sheet and other key ratios (limited access):


posted 9 Mar 2017, 08:28 by QIAN HUI PEH   [ updated 10 Mar 2017, 06:56 by GUPTA RINIE ]

On the 4th Jan, Dorm Buddy had set up our very first booth and all of us were extremely stoked for it. We stayed up late the previous night just to prepack everything and get ready for the booth. We partnered up with OGEM and set up a booth right outside LT1A so that we can promote our business after their student exchange briefing. OGEM has also kindly allowed us to make a small presentation during their briefing to explain to the exchange students about Dorm Buddy and the services we are providing. It was really a busy day as we had a lot of things to do and manage. Though there were some slight hiccups, but thankfully everything went smoothly. We had to transport our packed combo packages from Hall 16 to LT1A which was crazy and we had to make multiple trips up and down the hall to bring everything down and also multiple trips from the carpark to LT1A. Time was running out and so we had to transport goods and set up the booth concurrently. Halfway through setting up, we already have a few exchange students whom have shown interest in renting, and some have placed their orders with us! (we did not expect that). After we are done setting up with booths and organising the combo packages, roles were delegated and I was in charge in the web payment area, Siya and Shengjie oversaw cash payments and Rinie had to communicate with Dhanraj on the phone, regarding the backend payments and etc. Once the exchange briefing ended, oh my, the booth was swarmed with international students enquiring about our services and placing their orders. The crowd was extremely overwhelming and positive and the response way exceeded our expectations. We stocked out our routers and combo packages really quickly, at a rate that we did not expect at all. There was even a point of time where we were extremely shorthanded and there were crazy queues. We even had to schedule a timeslot for deliveries to their hall as we didn’t have enough stocks on hand. I remember going out to the nearest store after the booth to purchase more broom sets and laundry baskets. That was how crazy it was 😊 Many of the exchange student were really happy with the goods and services we provided and that was all that matters to us. We even heard one of the exchange students saying it was a pity that he didn’t know of our service earlier and regretted not renting it from us instead as he spent a looong time searching for all the items. The entire day was so hectic and busy that we didn’t have the time to take rest. Thankfully when we went back and accounted for our stocks and invoices, everything tallied and was balanced. It took a really long time to count them!!! All in all, wefelt so delighted and accomplished after seeing the sales results of the booth and satisfied faces of the customers. All our hardwork hadn’t gone to waste! 4th Jan is the day that we'll never want to forget!! :)

Bootstrapping Dorm Buddy

posted 5 Mar 2017, 00:54 by BAHETY DHANRAJ   [ updated 5 Mar 2017, 04:25 by GUPTA RINIE ]

Bootstrapping: Start up a business or other enterprise with minimal financial resources

When all you have is a vision and no investor, all you have is all you can invest into your company. And as is easily imaginable, college students dont have too much cash left (after all beer in Singapore is expensive :P). Putting in $500 each by all of the partners into Dorm Buddy was an immense display of faith in the company, but also made us aware that we had to be extremely miserly with what we spent, else we'd end up not having enough money to actually buy stocks. 

We employed various bootstrapping techniques to save on development costs, hosting cost, transaction costs, transportation costs, salaries and warehousing. All details elaborating them can be found in the link below (with restricted access)

Exceeding Expectations

posted 15 Feb 2017, 00:09 by BAHETY DHANRAJ   [ updated 5 Mar 2017, 00:53 by GUPTA RINIE ]

So here's the accounting and statistics update we've all been waiting to share with you!
When we started off our venture, all 7 partners putting in an equal amount of cash as initial capital to start out with. We back calculated, and figured we could only do about 60 combo sets (15 basic, 30 standard, and 15 premium). However, midway in December, we realized that 60 sets would barely cover 10% of the exchange students in NTU, so we upgraded as much as we could to 100 sets. To do this, we had short term borrowing from the partners, who helped buy stock when we had no sales and no cash in the bank. This part was a bit scary, because if things didnt work out, all of us would have to incur a greater loss. At this point, we didnt have the website working at 100%, neither had we made a single facebook post or had Trailblazer's help secured. The risk was very real. 

Then came the first sale. Then the next 20. Then came the booth sales day, where we completely stocked out of the additional 40 sets we had! (because the additional 40 sets only arrived ON that day). Then we continued selling, and infact we had sales till the 9th of February!
We reached a total of 125 customers (custom and combo orders), and 20 repeat orders from them as well! 
PS: We initially expected to hit just 60 customers. This exceeded out expectations like no other. 

Our inventory costs exceeded the amount we had initially planned as we had to scale up in order to fulfill the the demand. Also, most of it has been rented out which is a testament of how well we were able to do demand speculation and inventory management. We used the "just in time" inventory model as much as we could, except for certain products where the goods were sourced from overseas. 

Since our overhead costs were lesser than expected, we were able to achieve a great return on our investments with an approximate 50% gross margin and 40% net margin. The only thing for us going forward is growing this into a viable business after incurring other business costs like warehousing, delivery and salaries. That would need us to expand to other universities to have greater volumes, as our per sale profit margin is quite low. Automation of our inventory management and accounting, and better marketing effort will help take us where we want to be.

But as a proof of concept, we reached out to over 20% of the NTU exchange student population with very minimal marketing effort, and have been receiving all praise from our customers, as well as others telling us about how they wish they had known about us earlier so they could've used our service. And we're gonna make sure future exchangers dont miss out on having an environmentally and pocket friendly exchange :D


posted 14 Feb 2017, 23:33 by BAHETY DHANRAJ

So around the 16th of January, we got an email from Dana Dwaik from the Nanyang Chronicle, telling us that "I am writing a profile on Dorm Buddy for the Nanyang Chronicle and I would love to interview some of the team members to feature your story"
The best part? She was an exchange student herself, and that means that this was something that she brought up with the team at Nanyang Chronicle, so that means that we really reached out well to the exchange student population!
Later Woie Lin took over and Rinie, Siya, Qian Hui and I were able to make it for the interview on the 21st of Jan!
We got to tell our story about how we started, all the products we offer, the overwhelming response we got from our first rental cycle, and a lot more!
They even came by on one of our deliveries for a photoshoot to see how we actually carry out our business :D
Actually, why am I even still typing. Read all about it :

Meeting of the Partners after ages.

posted 23 Jan 2017, 08:51 by JAGANNATH PRATYUM

There was a really long gap between the last time all of us meet collectively and shared our experiences and feedback and hence we decided to meet on Sunday @ NTC. There were many points on the Agenda and I shall explain most of them .

  1. Depreciation : We need to come to a consensus on a standard policy of how we plan to depreciate our products based on the feedback given to us by our customers. This was especially seen for us in the case of the laundry bags. 
  2. Sourcing for Suppliers : As we expand, the current Just in Time sourcing model will not be a very wise idea. We also see that there will be more exchange students coming in Semester 1 and it would be wiser if we have a dedicated supplier for EACH product. This is clearly one of the IMPORTANT but NOT URGENT tasks that we had. 
  3. Delivery and Collection Optimization: This was one of our main topics of discussion. All the partners agreed that this part was clearly the hardest and we had to make sure that we really optimized this by analyzing all the mistakes and tweaks that has to be made to make collections as hassle-free as possible. Many ideas were thrown around like Reduction of number of collection points, hiring some help only for the 5 days of the end of exams ( or whenever the website shows is most efficient) and so on. 
  4. Website/App: There are still portions on the website that can be made better. Some of them was the process to key in manual orders so that even they get an Email Invoice as well as a place to book collection time slots, More email sending availability ( The cap of 200emails/day is not enough for the signups) and the idea of making an App so that it's easier to contact these people as we can probably just integrate a messaging platform in the application itself. 
  5. Expansion Plan : This was one of the most exciting and fun agendas on the board. These included talks on the how to grow the business to NUS and SIT and SUTD and all the problems that we would face and need to change or manage. 
  6. Storage : This was in line with the expansion plan and showed us that we were soon running out of hall space to keep all our inventory when in time of collection and also if we plan to expand, made sense to ware house it somewhere accessible to all the universities. 
All in all the meeting was super fun and it was so refreshing and energizing seeing the team back together. 

Update of the statistics of the accounts and website will be coming out soon. And believe me , its LEGEND (wait for it) DARY .. 

Order and Delivery Management System

posted 31 Dec 2016, 08:18 by JAGANNATH PRATYUM

As more and more orders come in and as people make their delivery slots , we encountered a new problem of how to arrange this information in a way where it provided all the information at the same time not be a hassle to go through it. We were working on Dhanraj helping manually make an entry in an excel sheet every time we get an email for the order. This was really taxing on him and I took some time but I finally decided to take it upon me to help the company in making a more elegant solution to automize the delivery management system. Knowing the way in which the information is stored on the Website helped a lot to make a simple webpage in the DormBuddy to have a simple Filtered Table along with pagination and even search. A view of the following is given below.

Also on click of any of the orders , the order items appear in a modal. I hope that the team finds this useful and easy to use as the orders keep lining up for the booth on Jan 4 . We hope to see you all there and make some money. 

Our First (and second) Sale :D

posted 19 Dec 2016, 22:45 by JAGANNATH PRATYUM   [ updated 19 Dec 2016, 23:51 by BAHETY DHANRAJ ]

Our marketing efforts began a bit later than we expected, and it took a bit longer to establish a partnership with the company owning the Facebook Exchange Students group than we had expected, but after series of negotiations, we finally reached a good collaboration with them, which we'll expand on in another post. But for now, WE JUST MADE OUR FIRST SALE OF $45!!!! . 

This happened at 2 am SGT in the morning from a student from Toronto which was quite unexpected. We had a credit card payment via Stripe which excited all of us out of bed. It was THE most satisfying moment and showed all of us that we were on the right track. Infact, the first thing we had to recheck with eachother was "Hey, did any one of you create a new account and make a purchase" :P That just goes to show that even we couldnt believe that with just 2 posts on the exchange student facebook group, we already had penetrated the market! it was SUCH a confidence boost! and we really needed it! :)
The countless hours spent to make our website user friendly and incorporate all the standard features of any other e-commerce website had finally paid off! We will be moving forward to do more marketing and advertising on social media and also try and collaborate even further with the different organisations such as Singapore Uni , TrailBlazer and HAS to increase our market penetration and reach more customers. 

And not long after, we got our second sale! :D We were extra happy for this one as the customer didnt use a discount code :P
Okay, more blogs later, we gotta go count our money! *cha-ching* :D

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