Background 2008: Brothers started EaseMyTrip from their home garage in May 2008. Within 3 months they lost all investments (incurring losses due to fraud conducted by some miscreants). To heck with it, they thought, & decided to give it another try.
Fast-forward to 2016: EaseMyTrip is among the top-5 travel portals in India with an annual turnover of Rs 1400 crores & 28 offices across the globe. EaseMyTrip is the only travel company that is bootstrapping (non-funded) and yet profitable, even though all of our competitors are well foreign-funded and yet in losses!
So how did David actually beat Goliath?
1. The patient game for the last 8 years. Instead of burning money and spending INR 1500 to acquire every new customer (like all our well-funded competitors still do), we just never charged convenience fees & focused on giving great services. Even when we were growing cash-positively every year, we still decided to not invest in marketing.
2. Amazing Retention. 83% of our customers have booked via EaseMyTrip more than 4 times. Plus our customers referred us wholeheartedly to their friends. During a few dinner occasions, founders have overheard (conversation at a nearby dinner table), where someone would informing their friends about zero convenience fees at EaseMyTrip
3. No crazy hiring. We are still a lean team of 280 employees, which are directly managed and supervised by the founding team. Ironically we have never hired folks from IIT or IIM. eCommerce is a wafer-thin margin business and frugality is the only way to keep it successful.
4. Keeping a low profile. You would have hardly heard about us in the media till now. We never hired a PR firm. We hardly visit startup conferences. We hardly ever get time to mingle outside of our business & customers.
5. Quick Decisions. Most of our experimental decisions are taken very quickly. We don’t allow delay or overthinking to kill the enthusiasm. Plus founding team being brothers, we don’t have to wait for approval from investors or external parties.
Unique features of EaseMyTrip, which made us the preferred choice without marketing?
1. EaseMyTrip.com is the only portal that doesn’t charge convenience fees on air tickets, hence everyone at least saves Rs 200 per passenger on air tickets!
2. In order to reduce holiday costs & provide Indian services, EaseMyTrip has its own staff, cars & food arrangements in Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, Maldives, Bali & Mauritius
3. EaseMyTrip has handpicked & partnered with the top 868 hotels across India (avg TripAdvisor rating for these hotels is 4.68 out of 5). EaseMyTrip only sells these handpicked properties @ unbeatable price
4. Using EaseMyTrip mobile app, now airplane co-passengers can chat with each other (even without the internet). Passengers are finding travel buddies & networking on the air-plane itself
5. To help tourists in cases of emergencies (medical or theft), EaseMyTrip is tied up with 450+ NRIs across every major city in the world. Recently an NRI helped an Indian tourist, as his daughter needed to be hospitalized at midnight in Budapest
Promoters behind EaseMyTrip
Nishant Pitti, Co-founder – A seasoned travel mogul with more than 8 years of experience in the travel industry. Nishant looks after the finance dept & relationships with airlines, hotels, and agents. Nishant recently forayed into the movie industry and has successfully co-produced movies like Madaari & Freaky-Ali
Rikant Pitti, Co-founder – A tech wizard with more than 8 years of experience in managing the entire technology of EaseMyTrip. Rikant also manages marketing & customer support at EaseMyTrip. His hobbies include traveling, cars & remaining abreast with technology
Prashant Pitti, Director –Prashant looks after corporate, holidays & expansion opportunities at EaseMyTrip. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras, has worked in a few banks in Chicago & has multiple startup experiences. Prashant’s hobbies include meditation & running.
Bootstrap to IPO! EaseMyTrip way-
EaseMyTrip has now remained profitable for over 13 years! That too without any VC funding.
But, that’s not to say that they didn’t try to get any funding. In 2008, the brothers did approach a few VCs but they failed to raise money.
The reason was:
- Investors were not keen to give money to a B2B startup centered around agents.
- If EaseMyTrip were to pivot to B2C there were too many players like GoIbiobo, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Ixigo, and Cleartrip to even have the chance of competing and winning.
So, EaseMyTrip pulled it off the bootstrapped way!
As a major flex, EaseMyTrip at the start of 2021, successfully filled for a Rs 510 Cr IPO. A first for an online travel portal startup in India! The stock has generated over 183% returns in just a year.
But, surely there is more to come in this startup’s journey. Next stop – building a complete travel ecosystem!