Do you find watching movies or shopping with your family and friends unexciting?
Looking for avenues to spend quality time or discover interesting facts about your dear ones and, at the same time, have some real fun? Or Frustrated with stressful office routines – be it programming and testing software or preparing spreadsheets, reports, and presentations or managing escalations? Or Fed up with boring classrooms or pressurizing study sessions? Waiting for an opportunity to bring out the hero within you?
Then Breakout, Bangalore’s first and only interactive, immersive real-life escape game gives you an opportunity to break free from your routines and be the real YOU.
BreakOut is all about providing unique and trans-formative experiences to people and re-defining entertainment and learning for them. To summarize, their value proposition is multi-fold that includes team building, adventure, fun and many more.
The startup, owned and managed by Hareesh Mothi, a finance professional with a crush on “experiential” gaming – where people indulge in interactive games that can be stimulating, social and fun – all at the same time. It is on a mission to create avenues that foster creativity, team building, and human ingenuity.
Today, in an exclusive interview with Bizztor, we got Hareesh Mothi to talk about his experiences at his entrepreneurial venture Breakout:
Firstly, can you please tell us a bit about yourself and where the things started and what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I was always an adventurer and thrill seeker. The idea of starting my own venture that’s unique always played at the back of my mind since 2011. I would constantly be on the look out for something that was exciting but at the same time could be of great value to people.
On one of my trips to Poland in 2014, I decided to seek out something innovative and exciting. My motivation landed me in an escape game where I found myself trying to defuse a ticking time bomb in a nerve-biting 60 minutes. I was hooked to this genre of real life gaming ever since and I have played these games in several countries. I was fascinated with the thought of how games could help build teams, unify families and develop a strong bond among people apart from building and developing many soft skills such as leadership, communication and lateral thinking.
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As a resident of Bangalore, I spotted an opportunity to give a face-lift to the citythrough something that combines fun and learning. Having played over 20 escape games at various locations, I felt the clues and riddles, though mentally stimulating, did not connect with the big picture and the overall story line. With this thought in mind, Breakout was conceived as the first and only truly immersive role-playing Real Escape game centre in India and probably the world wherein the clues are integral to the storyline.
Breakout has received an overwhelming response from friends, families, corporate entities, travellers and students alike. Breakout is considered as an ideal choice for team building, leadership development and employee engagement with corporate entities. Our customers have rated us highly and currently we hold the top position in all fun and game activities in Bangalore on Trip Advisor.
Some specifics about your background:
Before I conceptualized Breakout, I was an Audit Expert – Treasury, International Tax and Finance at Hewlett Packard (HP). My 4+ year stint at HP was preceded by establishing and leading the Strategy and Consulting Group at M/s. Guru & Jana, Chartered Accountants. I have also worked in the Audit & Assurance division of Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Chennai before relocating to Bangalore. I have an experience spanning nine years in a variety of fields including accounts, audit, business advisory, consulting, financial analysis and business valuation.
Which customer pain you are solving and How?
Breakout provides an opportunity for families and friends to bond like never before. It is said that “a family that plays together stays together”. Here, age is no bar. We celebrate a birthday of a 75-year old cancer patient with the same excitement as a 13-year olds. In one such party, aneleven year old girl had recently relocated to India from the US. She found it very tough to adjust to the culture and mindset of Indians. Her parents were seriously contemplating moving back to the US. It was at this juncture that the girl was invited for a friend’s birthday party at Breakout. Playing with friends in a locked room, not just stimulated her brain but also changed her perspective towards life in India. The bonding with her friends made her like her life in India, solving her parent’s dilemma.
The current team building activities have become cliché and ineffective. Breakout has redefined team building for organizations. Here, team work is the key. The team is forced to brainstorm with its members and think out of the box be effective in their tasks. This gives the team to know each other out of work, build trust and understand the other. Breakout is re-defining entertainment and learning.
What was the first thing you did to get the word out about your start up and how did you measure the effectiveness of this?
Our marketing has predominantly been word of mouth. People who have played our games are the brand ambassadors. They speak about us. They spread the message. For instance one can find numerous positive reviews on trip advisor about us. However, we are cognizant of the potential of direct marketing to optimize the visibility for the brand.
“What’s the hardest decision you’ve made so far?”
My decision to quit my cushy job with a hefty salary, promotions and achievements wasn’t easy by any standards. I was choosing uncertainty over certainty.
What mistakes have you made thus far in this business and what have you learned?
Customer perception of a business is very important. It always is a great advantage to start something early and win. We started late as we spent months experimenting. We were always apprehensive whether something would go wellor not. Right from the story line to the ambience, we had to redo many things to get it right. What we have learnt is to have patience. It is important to get it right and possibly the first time.
As a founder, what do believe to be the end goal for this start up?
My objective is to reach as many people as possible across the city and also across the country over a period of time and give them lasting experiences. We have already touched the lives of thousands and hope to provide life-transformative experiences to many more. We would love to re-design and re-invent ourselves and the games to target people at a much broader level. We would strive our best to fulfil our customer needs and there is no end to this.
What helps you when you doubt yourself?
That’s a great question. Given that we are the pioneers of this next-gen of entertainment, we define the industry. There are many situations in which decisions have to be made without any precedence. I face this challenge in almost every decision.
Initially I was apprehensive to decide and would be procrastinating. Over time, I have come to realize that I need to make a decision whether I like it or not. Some may work and some don’t. But with experience, you start developing your judgement on what works and what doesn’t. This know-how makes life easy as you start getting into the habit of deciding.
When in doubt, each one chooses a way to comfort oneself. Some brainstorm with family and friends. Some search for info.
In a world with not much data in the field I pioneer, I choose to fight my own battle. I work on myself to identify the reason for the doubt. Some of these doubts could be intrinsic – could be a fear that I am venturing out into something that I am not used too or have no experience at all or because I am not comfortable doing something as I don’t have sufficient experience – and some could be practical. When it is something intrinsic, I work on myself to identify why such doubts arise and resolve them. When it is a practical question, I search for the right answers.
Finally, would you have any inspirational tips for aspiring entrepreneurs about to kick-start their start up dreams?
If you have a dream, chase it. It is an experience and one needs to travel the path to understand how it could shape you and what you could make out of it.
What does it take to start an online business nowadays? A unique innovative idea? Know-how? Long working hours? People? What is your recipe?
Breakout is built on the principle of fostering inter-personal relationships. I will therefore refrain from commenting on this question.
Last question for everyone – Before we let you go, where can we find you online?
Having read about us, we are a part of you just as you are a part of us. You can reach us at www.breakout.co.in
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