SpaceBasic - The Student Housing Experience Network

Namratha Vasu Namratha Vasu Follow May 23, 2021 · 4 mins read
SpaceBasic - The Student Housing Experience Network
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This week’s deep dive is on Spacebasic, a one-stop communication and networking app that facilitates seamless information sharing within members of Universities, Hostel Management and Global Partners seeking student engagement.

It’s a platform streamlining of various day to day student-hostel management interactions, be it getting your plumbing fixed or applying for leaves.

Solving administrative tedium

If any of you have ever stayed in a hostel, you would know the pains of having uncooperative admins and unintiuitive processes for even the simplest of requests. I myself have struggled with even mundane requests like getting a hostel leave approved from my warden in college - it seemed that she was never available when I made the rounds with my permission slip which required her signature. This is just one of the many other issues that students face, ranging from things like paying the hostel dues and managing mess subscriptions. Today, most colleges use the old method of long, unruly forms and processes that don’t seem to make any logistical sense.

This is where SpaceBasic steps in - it’s value proposition lies in modernizing of these archaic systems that would hardly be cutting edge even during the colonial era.

Starting with the basics

Spacebasic fulfills a vital need of student housing in India; running hostels is not easy and they usually do not a have a good reputation. Hostel life in Indian colleges is not particularly glamorous or convenient - SpaceBasic wants to alleviate the student experience by getting the basics right by simplifying the day to day conveniences.

The platform has features like one-touch attendance, leave and mess management and also a digital briefcase containing student records without the need for tedious form filling, an activity that I had extreme unenthusiasm for.

The journey so far.

Starting up early

Spacebasic was founded by Madhavi Shankar in 2017, very early in her professional career, having graduated with an MBA in 2014.

Madhavi says her internship experience during her masters in Australia gave her an insight into how working in a startup feels like. Having worked in the capacity of a product manager, she gained a lot of confidence in her ability to manage a team and create a product. She credits her early career startup exposure as one of the motivations to start her own venture.

The story of Spacebasic as an idea began when she noticed how in India technology adoption in running student housing is not the norm, with hundreds if not thousand person hours being lost to shuffling papers about desks. There was a clear market gap that had been glossed over by current digitization solutions.

When asked how to start building your own company, Madhavi stressed that a great idea doesn’t always translate into a successful company. Any product must undergo real world validation - Is this product monetizable? Do institutions want this solution for their hostels? Does it even solve the problem at hand?

The Spacebasic team started out keeping their foundation strong and concentrated on their market reasearch, reaching out to all major institutions and testing out their pilot. They were also heavily customer driven at this point and immediately built on feedback given.

Madhavi believes that they were able to achieve that dream product market fit because they did their due diligence by spending time on researching all potential issues that could arise with their customers. She also credits their success to getting their timing right by catching the market early and utilising that early mover’s advantage.

Focusing their energy to build a small team with the right people helped Spacebasic stay in control of all decisions and took off the pressure to maintain a big team cohesively.

Here is her complete interview where she talks about her experience in building a SaaS

Inspiring the next generation of women founders.

Today, Spacebasic is being used by over 1 million users across India. Madhavi has also been recognised as the ‘Top 60 Women Transforming India’ by The Government of India as well as the United Nations.

She is a strong advocate of women employment and equal opportunities within the industry. She has given numerous talks to raise awareness for the cause, which I am personally very passionate about.

Startups like Spacebasic are what inspire me - a startup solving real world problems and creating value for its users and being the change in a market segment that seems to be stuck in the 80s.

Namratha Vasu
Written by Namratha Vasu Follow
Hi, this is Namratha. I am building a repository of inspiring women entrepreneurs and their journey towards building products and companies.