Just imagine a person who combines the fearlessness of a pirate, the daring spirit of a leader and the unyielding passion for adventure of an explorer. Does Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean come to mind?
You are close but not quite… We are talking about Indian founders of travel & tourism start-ups. Just like a pirate seeking hidden treasures, they scour the vast seas of the industry in search of unexplored territories and untapped opportunities. They thrive on the thrill of discovery, constantly pushing boundaries to unveil unique experiences for travellers. And they bring out the best in their teams to win against even the mightiest of competitors.
PC – Fesechko on Putty & Paint
These are the inspirational stories of successful Indian entrepreneurs who have made a mark in India’s travel & tourism world:
Chitra Gurnani Daga – Co – Founder & CEO, Thrillophilia
Chitra has overcome numerous challenges as an entrepreneur, but her passion and relentless focus has led to her company Thrillophilia acquiring more than 2 million+ customers today. Chitra’s journey started with a Bachelors in Information Technology & after her MBA she was so determined to realize her lifelong ambition that she relinquished attractive placements offers to pursue her venture. Thrillophilia started in 2011 when the global market online travel transactions was in its nascent stage. Ever since, they have grown to become India’s largest online platform for booking affordable travel experiences like Scuba Diving, Camel Safari, Biking, Caving, Paragliding, and Wildlife Explorations. Today she has been recognised as one of the most influential travel entrepreneurs of India.
Naveen Singh – CEO, Lavato
Lavato, India’s first branded toilet service outlet is raising the bar for hygiene and cleanliness along India’s highways. According to Naveen, “Lavato isn’t just a business but also a service.” The improvement in the road network in India has led to an increase in the number of people traveling by road in their personal vehicles. This has led to entrepreneurs setting up restaurants on highways but there is a huge lack of public toilets. For women and people with disabilities, the challenge is even greater. In this scenario, Lavato comes as a very pleasant surprise to bring state of the art toilets to travellers.
Sunil Abhilash, Co-Founder, GoMowgli
The idea of GoMowgli was born when Sunil was backpacking in New Zealand and realized that his experience was completely different compared to traveling in India. “There are cities you are born in. There are cities you are forced to be in. And then there are cities you feel drawn to again and again and again.” This is how the idea of GoMowgli was born. It is a hop-on-hop-off tour bus service for travellers. Once you buy a GoMowgli pass, you can travel whenever you want within the validity period, which is generally 180 days. They have a guide in each bus who helps you in coordinating your travel, giving you various options on stay and local places. They also help you plan your itinerary and not only give you the information but the much-needed tales about the places you are visiting.
Hari Ganapathy, Co – Founder, PickYourTrial
PickYourTrail is India’s leading online travel company that delivers tailor-made international holidays. It provides you with an AI-powered feed that gives you smart travel tips, personalized packing checklists, and other essentials to enhance your holidays. Hari admits that the sheer idea of building a tech product with no tech co-founder was “outrageous”. A vacation unlike a train or a flight booking is not a transactional purchase. It’s an involved, multi- party, emotional decision. This translates to reassurance, empathy, and trust being the key drivers. This is where their unique touch + tech model helps. PickYourTrial has won one of the top 50 disruptive start-ups awards in India. Luxury at unbeatable prices is what PickYourTrial offers.
Sabine Heller, CEO, ASmallWorld
“My first job [at now-defunct entertainment website UGO Networks] took four years of my life and defined my career.” Sabine is one part creative, one part business, one part Indian, one part American, one part culture vulture, one part nature lover. She is a leader who empowers and promotes people. ASmallWorld is a subscription based network that provides insights on beautiful places and lets like-minded people connect. From showcasing the world’s best offerings to being on top of all the travel hotspots, the company has grown immensely.
The travel and tourism industry in India has witnessed remarkable growth over the years, making it a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures. If you have the right ideas, the ability to work hard and the determination to succeed, there should be nothing to stop you from starting your own business. In the words of Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder & CEO, “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”