04 June 2008

Yasmin Sanie-Hay of Silkmotel on HighTechFever

I hosted Yasmin Sanie-Hay of Silkmotel on my HighTechFever TV show tonight. Yasmin shared the backstory and latest prospects for her venture idea of a motel chain along the roadways of Central Asia, starting in Kazakhstan, the northern way of the ancient Silk Road and key state in the contemporary MENACA region! It turns out that she knows the business need from personal experience: this past Summer 2007, Yasmin and her younger cousin Tina Roshdi participated in the Mongol Rally -- a 16,000 Kilometer, 20 country, 1 Litre engine-car road race for charity from London, England to Ulan Bator, Mongolia -- driving together as the Yaksi Taxi team! That was a delightfully crazy experience in its own right, but the central lesson-learned was that while there is tremendous road traffic -- i.e. truckers, businessmen, tradesmen, families visiting relatives, and, of course, Mongol Rallyists -- there are few proper hospitality accommodations. This spells "Market Opportunity" and Yasmin focussed on this in the MIT Developmental Entrepreneurship seminar I co-taught in Fall 2007. Her next step is further market research and partnership development this Summer 2008 with the partial support of an MIT DE-IDRC Seed Grant!

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