Deep Kalra

Man behind Makemytrip.com

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Gone are the days when you had to stand in long queues in order to organise your trips and travels; this absurd unending process has been greatly optimised and made compact yet intuitively easy by Mr. Deep Kalra. He has indeed, brought a remarkable effortlessness in the world of online travelling.

Deep Kalra is the proud founder of Gurgaon based MakeMytrip.com making him the pioneer of online travels in India. MakeMyTrip, the Million-dollar company is actually an Indian online travel company. It provides online travel services like – domestic and international holiday packages, flight tickets, and railway and bus tickets, hotel reservations among many other prolific services.

Deep has been brilliant since his early days, to be honest. He owns a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the renowned St. Stephen’s college, Delhi. After obtaining this prestigious degree and completing his graduation, he pursued his Masters in Business administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIM-A).

Deep currently lives with his wife Amrita, his daughter Manya (who is 11 years old) and his son Armaan (who is 9 year old). Deep loves adventure yoga, sports, quizzing, swimming, and travelling to unusual places.

Early Life

Deep gave his career a kick start after completing his Masters and he soon devoted his services to companies like ABN AMRO Bank, GE Capital. In 1995, Deep Kalra took the tough decision of quitting his steady but tedious job at ABN Bank and joined AMF Bowling (an American company whose aim was to enter Indian market to setup billiard halls and bowling alleys).

Putting all his commitment and hard work into the job, he managed to open more than 200 lanes; though most of the lanes could only be opened in small countries, sigh. The appalling part here though, was that he realised, this was not his cup of tea. He was managed by a remote boss who failed to provide him with proper assistance and mentorship and he soon realised that he needed something more; something huge in order to display his enormous talent.

This was the time when his career began to take shape. In this period, he started noticing that the internet industry was growing with swiftness. It was captivating people with its speed of fire. He took this as an opportunity and decided to quit his job. He then began with the brain storming session. With this, he inferred that the process of online travel booking was way messier than a man’s bedroom!!

Thus, in the year 2000, Deep began his new journey with MakeMyTrip.com (which was earlier known as India Ahoy) with a back up of USD 2 Million from eVentures and co-founders like- Rajesh Magow, Keyur Joshi and Sachin Bhatia.

make-my-trip

Image Credit: www.makemytrip.com

Entrepreneurship

There comes a time in everyone’s life, where one wants to be a free bird; live like there is no tomorrow and travel like he is the king of the universe. But unfortunately, we are not birds; we are humans and unlike them, we have to pre-plan our trips and destinations and no doubt, the process involves huge expenditure.

Fortunately today, many websites which can ease our travel have come up to our rescue. The latest to enter the queue is MakeMyTrip.com!

Let’s break up this wonderful journey into 4 stages –

Stage 1: Shaky Up

A close observer of the Indian market, which was yet to develop and progress in the field of internet industry; Deep Kalra, decide to play safe and initiated by serving the overseas Indian community for their US-to-India travel needs. But sadly, the business doomed in just two years of its launch and as a result MakeMyTrip.com was blown away to bits.

Thus, began a tough time for each and every person associated with this e-commerce website. The worst hit were the VC’s; The VC’s who were once all set to render an immense amount of capital to them now even abstained from giving them USD 1-million!

Not only this, but the jinx had far reaching effects. Deep had to cut down his employee strength to half and also waive off the salaries of his top-management for the next 18 months.

Stage 2: Shaping up a Steady Rise

Even after hitting the ground hard, the company never gave up. By analysing the situation powerfully and economically, MakeMyTrip took firm yet clever and quick decisions and successfully survived the exorbitant storm.

By god’s grace, fruitful decisions and some sublime efforts; their business started to pick up and grow. Moreover, at this time IRCTC (Indian Railways and Tourism Corporation) enabled the Indian travellers to purchase railway tickets on the internet by launching their first online business model.

The new model of IRCTC was very well acknowledged by the Indian customers and turned out to be a massive success. By then, Low-Cost carriers also made its mark in the Indian aviation space, which thus, created more new and tremendous opportunities for the Indian travel market.

Thus, this was the accurate time for Deep to widen his assortment. Finally, in September 2005, the company launched their services for the Indian market officially. Even though it involved high risks as the venture was too ahead of it’s time for the Indian market and some other obvious reasons like trust issues for non-established brands, credit cards online, among others, the company managed to stay put.

Quiet soon did MakeMyTrip start catering to the customers’ needs of online flight booking and also established a tie-up with IRCTC online business model and started offering holiday packages and hotel bookings as well.

This provided a boost to the company and hence, the company started earning remarkably, awe-inspiring revenues. It was not astounding that 1-out-of-every-12 domestic flights in India were booked via MakeMyTrip.

The company took the world by storm at the time of recession in 2008 when it crossed Rs.1000-Crore  mark and possessed 2,00,000 pleased customers. It also recorded profits worth $5-Million in the same year.

Since then, many new add-ons have been made to their current profile like chauffeur-driven online cab rental services, multi-city flight booking services like the “Alootechie.com,” creating several travel related Apps. All these services have made a remarkable mark in the online travel industry.

But the most astonishing and biggest news which turned all heads came in August 2010 – their listing on NASDAQ. This provided a stiff competition to all the potential competitors and threw up competitive pressure. This was a proud and happy moment as MakeMyTrip became one of the very few Indian Dotcom companies which was listed on the US stock exchange. Moreover, this happiness knew no bounds, when this helped in bridging the gap between the foreign investors and Indian businesses which ultimately opened the doors for a pool of foreign investments in India, especially in the IT sector.

Stage 3: Expansion

In life, nothing is permanent; neither success nor failure. Thus in December 2013, MakeMyTrip.com was faced with yet another tough situation. At this time; the wealth of the company was cut by half and the net revenues also declined by 5.5% as well. Hence the company run into losses worth $2.6-million.

Their strong determination, courage and the experience to tackle the problems well, helped their cause immensely. Being prepared this time round; MakeMyTrip, in the next quarter itself, got back to winning ways and proved their mettle by reporting a 27.7% rise in revenues.

If that wasn’t sufficient for them, in 2014, MakeMyTrip announced a $15 million innovation fund for new entrepreneurs in the travel circuit. And according to the recent statistics of the NASDAQ listed company; with a current market cap of $934-million, they too were growing considerably.

MakeMyTrip raised $10-million in 2005, $13-million in 2006 & $15-million in 2007 from investors such as Helion Venture Partners, SAIF (Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund) Partners, Tiger Global and Sierra Ventures.

Stage 4: Mergers, Acquisitions & Investments

Here are the list of several successful mergers, acquisitions and Investments taken up by the company:-

MyGola – A start-up travel guide firm; bought by MakeMyTrip for an unrevealed sum in April 2015

com – A Gurgaon-based online health store; Deep Kalra invested $6 million along with other investors such as Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, Omidyar Network, and Kae capital April 2015.

TrulyMadly –This matchmaking website attracted huge investments from Deep Kalra in March 2015.

Com (ETB) – MakeMyTrip recently acquired an online hotel operator based in Amsterdam in February 2014.

Hotel Travel Group (HT Group) – A Travel firm with operations in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia was acquired by the company in November 2012

ITC Group –MakeMyTrip acquired a tour operating company based in Thailand in November 2012

My Guest House Accommodation – A Delhi-based Budget Lodging / Hotel Operator, bought by Deep in November 2011

Le Travenues Technology Private Limited – The Gurgaon-based parent company of Ixigo.com which performs ‘online travel meta search engine’; acquired by MakeMyTrip in August 2011.

Luxury Tours and Travel Private Limited – A Singapore based Travel Agency, bought by Kalra in May 2011.

Achievements

  • Chairperson of the NASSCOM Internet Working Group
  • Member of the Executive Council of NASSCOM
  • Member of CII’s Tourism sub-committee
  • Awarded as the “Best Travel Portal India” by World Travel Awards (2014, 2013)
  • Awarded as the “E-tailer of the Year” by ET Retail Awards (2014, 2013)
  • Awarded as the “Best Online Travel Service Firm” by Times Travel Honours (2011)
  • Listed as “Ten Best Companies to Work For in India” by Great Place to Work Institute (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010)

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