How Deep Kalra Booked His Entrepreneurial Journey Through MakeMyTrip

An ambitious dream begins with a huge risk, courage and self-confidence. This is the story of a man from India who put everything on risk to become one of the leading business giants. This is the story of Deep Kalra, the founder of MakeMyTrip.com, a leading Indian online travel company that ensures smooth travel and comfortable stay.

Deep is a MBA graduate from India’s pioneer business school Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephens College, Delhi. Soon after completing his MBA, Kalra took up the job opportunities with big MNCs like GE Capital, ABN AMRO Bank, etc. But the entrepreneur inside him had already started to sprout.

Deep Kalra

Image Credit: MakeMyTrip

In 1995, Deep left his job with the Bank and joined hands with an American bowling company. With the boss not around, Deep was bit lost initially. But, he took full ownership and led the team. In the coming years Deep Kalra would manage to lay more than 200 bowling lanes across India on his own. This single handed experience boosted Deep’s confidence by multiple folds and he decided to put a foot in his own start-up.

The Start-up Story
Deep soon resigned from AMF to focus on his own venture. It was this time when he realized the magnificent potential that Internet platform held in its store. And this boom in the online community was a perfect place to launch his big business idea.

India was still getting used to the internet platform but the percentage was growing day by day. On one hand, there was a super fast platform which connected the whole world in seconds and on the other hand people were still standing in queues to buy travel tickets. The other problem Deep observed was the messed up online travel booking platform. These observations then altogether gave birth to an organized online travel booking platform ‘India Ahoy’,in 2000, which later was renamed to MakeMyTrip.com. Deep received an initial fundimg of $2 million from eVentures and was in the market to lead the travel industry along with his co-founders Keyur Joshi, Rajesh Magow and Sachin Bhatia.

The Ups and Downs in MakeMyTrip Journey
Launching an online travel booking platform back in 2000, when Indians were still not clear about the basic concept of Internet, was a challenge in itself. So, the founders had to play the game strategically. Therefore, MakeMyTrip’s initial years were dedicated to serve the US-to-India travelling community. This was a baby step towards success but added value to their status in the market.

The Fall
Kalra faced his biggest fallback two years after the launch of MakeMyTrip.com when the dotcom market crashed taking down every last piece of information. This resulted in a drastic crash on all the company’s team. As the head of the company Deep had to take some difficult decisions to save the company. The decision included reducing MMT’s staff to almost half the original number and put a complete halt on his and some of his colleagues’ salary for 18 months.

The Rise
The crash of dotcom market taught Deep Kalra some valuable lessons which he would implement in his company’s future. The coming years proved to be the Golden Period in MakeMyTrip’s career. This was the time when Indian Railways, Indian Aviation and other domestic and international flight companies were stepping into the online platform. Deep Kalra, without wasting any time, grabbed this opportunity and decided to broaden his business spectrum. MakeMyTrip was no longer just an overseas travel booking platform. It was now for the Indian domestic market too.

The company provided added features like holiday packages, hotel bookings, and railway tickets. The company’s customer base and revenue was increasing at an unimaginable pace. In 2008, when rest of the world was facing the demon of recession, MMT was entering the 1000 Crore club. But Deep marks the company’s biggest achievement till date as its listing on NASDAQ, an US stock exchange.

Setting an Example
Launching MakeMyTrip was the biggest risk that Kalra took. But this risk is what made him a pioneer in the travel industry. The success of MakeMyTrip, has in turn, tremendously boosted the confidence of young entrepreneurs in India. So be it from bridging the gap between Indian and foreign investors, revolutionizing the traveling industry in the country to inspiring Indian youth to take risks and succeed, Deep Kalra has proven himself to be the man whose vision and ambition created history.

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Harshal Pawar

Harshal Pawar is an avid reader, a TV show addict, and a writer. He has a personal blog brainwork.wordpress.com where he jots down his articles and poetry about love and life.
He is currently pursuing film-making and wishes to bring the words written on a paper to the screen. More of all he is a scorpio.