MakeMyTrip Limited (NASDAQ: MMYT) is an Indian online travel agency. MakeMyTrip is the pioneer of the Online Travel Industry in India.
After doing his master’s in business administration, Deep Kalra took the seemingly conventional route and started his career with banking job. GURGAON, INDIA– Back in 1995, Deep Kalra knew that India had burgeoning consumer promise. So he took a risk, quit his safe-but-boring banking job and joined AMF Bowling—an American company that was aiming to bring bowling alleys and billiard halls to India for the first time.
It didn’t quite scratch his entrepreneurial itch: The hobby was ahead of its time for Indians. He managed to open about 200 lanes, most of them in small centers. Worse, Kalra was in that business-man’s-limbo: The venture wasn’t really his own thing, but he had a remote boss back in America who didn’t give him much mentorship or guidance.
So after four years, he headed back into the safe world of banking. And then, in 2000, with some money saved up, he decided to leave again and do things his way. His life changed after a meeting with a friend, a venture capitalist, at a Mumbai mall when the duo excitedly jotted down a new business plan on a napkin. That was ironical as they had a course on entrepreneurship at IIM-A and Deep did not opt for it. The blueprint was drawn, with a friend, on a napkin and in the year 2000, Kalra launched one of the biggest and most flourishing businesses in travel web portals-Makemytrip.com.
The first year of MakeMyTrip was a fairytale. They got early-stage funding, and launched the site in October 2000. But in mid-2001, they were hit by a triple whammy – the dotcom meltdown, exit of venture capital from India and the 9/11 attacks. That venture too was ahead of its time. After the market crash and September 11, Kalra’s foreign investors reneged on $1 million in funding commitments. Then there was the triple whammy of SARS, which made everyone want to travel in Asia less. He was 31-years-old with a wife and a baby at a time when starting a dot com was insane and in a place where it was downright suicidal. But Kalra and two senior managers bought back their equity in the business and agreed to go without salaries for 18 months. He called a meeting and asked the staff to take 40% paycuts. Twenty-five of them stayed and 17 balked and quit. Kalra decided to focus on selling travel to NRI market, but he kept an eye on that sleeping giant of a domestic market.
While they broke even in 2003, the turnaround really happened in 2004, when Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) launched in India. As travel agents did not book tickets on LCC flights, they became the travel agents for these carriers. It was a symbiotic relationship for both. The timing of the launch of low-cost flights could not have been better for them. Then Indian Railways launched online ticketing and did a lot of vangelical work for online booking, which helped them a lot. Ordinary people realised it was safe to book online.
They had decided, during the tough years of 2001-03 when they were not getting any funding, that they would never again go to venture capital funds. But in 2005, they decided to raise funds to finance growth. The growth then on was fantastic. A blockbuster IPO in the US, where on the first day of listing, the MakeMyTrip stock closed 89% up, the best listing in the US since the pre-recession year of 2007. In 2010, MakeMyTrip has acquired ticketvala.com online bus ticketing playform provider started in 2006.
On November 6, 2012, MakeMyTrip has acquired the Hotel Travel Group (HT Group) for $25 million. The HT Group, under the brand ‘Hotel Travel’, has been operating the website www.hoteltravel.com for more than a decade in South-east Asia, although its booking platform offers hotel reservation across the world. The acquisition will help MakeMyTrip to further strengthen its presence in the hotel and holidays segment internationally, especially in the South-east Asia, a market that comprises a good chunk of outbound travel from India. In November 2012, MakeMyTrip has acquired majority stake in Thailand-based hotel aggregator and tour company ITC Group for $3.2 million to expand its presence in Thailand, a key market for its outbound holidays business, by establishing more direct hotel relationships in the country. In June 2013, MakeMyTrip launched an SMS MakeMyTripbased bus-ticket booking service.
Its major competitors are yatra, cleartrip etc.