Tech Disruptor & Founder of sysotel.ai
Today we know the young and dynamic Raj Sahu as a hotelier, entrepreneur, advisor and tech disruptor. His name is synonymous with his pathbreaking platform – sysotel.ai, yet, few know about the multi-faceted man behind the name.
Raj’s story began in the small town of Rourkela in Odisha, India. Born in a loving family, he remained in his hometown till he completed his schooling. When he turned 18, he left home for the first time to pursue hotel management from Fakir Mohan University in the nearby town of Balasore in Odisha.
Destined for bigger things, Raj landed a job at the prestigious Taj hotel in Mumbai. With stars in his eyes and a determination to match, he landed in the commercial capital of India. Starting as an apprentice, he grew into a seasoned hospitality professional over two decades. During his tenure, he worked with the biggest brands such as Royal Orchid, ISTA, Cambay, and others, with proven expertise in the areas of hotel operations, sales and marketing, data and marketing analysis.
At the same time, he rediscovered his passion for computer technology. He recalls: “Passionate about both hotels and computers, I could pursue an education in only one. But my interest in computers never died. All hotels use softwares for their day to day operations. Whenever a new software launched, I used to be the one most excited to see how it worked.”
Innovative and focussed, by now Raj had realised that he was better cut out for entrepreneurship, and not service. “Since childhood, I knew I wanted to be my own boss,” he says with a smile.
The thought of starting his own venture consumed Raj’s days and nights. He actively started looking for an idea, or a solution in his domain, that resonated with him. This is how he came up with sysotel.ai, with friends and co-founders Ravish Patel and Kiran Suthar. “With more than 20 years in hospitality, we zeroed in on a common problem – there was no software for automated yield management. This was our Eureka moment!” he says with pride.
Raj began dabbling in yield management manually. But the pandemic provided him the time and opportunity to work on his brand and enhance it. Come 2021, he officially registered sysotel.ai, a SaaS firm that provides end-to-end hospitality solutions. Speaking about its USP, Raj tells us, “Sysotel is an automated yield management system especially targeted at mid to small hotels. Such a system in the open marketplace is very expensive. Only the luxury segment hotels use it, and even theirs is often manual. The one we have built is highly automated.. It integrates Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning without hitting your pocket.. Thus, it is a highly advanced yet cost effective solution.”
Sysotel.ai may well be the pathbreaking platform the hospitality industry needs. In its first year itself, one of its module engines is out in the market and doing wonders. With a tech office in Bangalore, they have also collaborated with big brands and renowned companies. For instance, sysotel.ai recently became an official partner of Google Hotels by promoting visibility and website traffic for partner hotels free of charge.
Speaking about his passion project, Raj says, “My vision for sysotel is to turn it into a Unicorn very soon, within five years. On the other hand, my personal goal is to be listed in the Top Ten Entrepreneurs of India.”
Prior to sysotel, Raj had also co-founded Rev Matrix, GoXplore and stayplans.com. A self confessed workaholic, Raj says he unwinds by coming up with something new: “If something comes in my mind, I always scribble it, explore how it can help the company to grow, and figure how it can be a learning ground for my team. The bottomline is always the customer experience, and how we can ease it. This is what excites me a lot.”
It is rare to see such business acumen and discipline. We can’t help but ask Raj who his role models are. His answer is unexpected: “Not one person, but all the ex-bosses I had throughout my career. They groomed me and taught me everything I know. I’m here because of them and my parents.. my family too has supported me every step of the way.”
Young and successful, Raj strives to achieve all his milestones within a self defined time frame. This has made him an inspiration and guiding light for many. What message would he like to give the youth? “I will say only one thing – You need to believe in what you are doing!”