The story of Make my trip and its founder Deep Kalra

Make my trip

The story of Make my trip and its founder Deep Kalra

Back in 1995, Deep Kalra quit his steady, safe, good-paying & boring job of a banker to join AMF Bowling, an American company that was trying to setup bowling alleys and billiard halls for the first time in India. Kalra managed to open about 200 lanes, most of them in small centers.

Worse, Kalra was in that businessman’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. After serving there for four years, he decided to return to the safe world of Banking. Then in 2000, with some money saved in his bank, he began to get that entrepreneurial itch again and decided to quit again.

kalra was amazed by the power of Internet and also knew how hard it was to travel to India. He opened to address this issue. For Indians, the venture was too ahead of time as people were reluctant to using their credit cards online and didn’t trust non-established brands.

Like any other venture, MakeMyTrip was successful in raising venture capital; but post the dot com bubble, the VCs refused $1 million in funding commitments. The times were really bad for Kalra.

Kalra 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. Kalra says, “It worked out, so we can say we were resilient. But at the time I worried I was just being stubborn. But I figured you regret the things you don’t do in life, not the things you do.”

Kalra’s company is now making $5 million in US dollars of profit this year and doing more than $500 million in gross bookings. Revenues are up 88% during the recession and one-out-of-every-twelve domestic flights in India is booked via After airline tickets, the second biggest category is railway tickets—the site sells 2,500 of them every day. Kalra is busy interviewing a lot of US-trained management types to augment the team. Don’t look now, but MakeMyTrip could be India’s next dot com IPO. (Like most well-behaved CEOs, Kalra wouldn’t comment on any immediate IPO plans.)

Ahead of his time or no, Kalra is glad he took the risk when he did. He’s not sure he would today even with more money in his savings. He’s also glad he didn’t give up on India’s domestic market, “If I’d been in Silicon Valley I’m convinced we might have reached scale in half the time, but we also probably would have been obliterated by the competition.”

Some life facts of Deep Kalra

Deep went to St.Stephens College, Delhi in 1987 to pursue Bachelors in Economics from where he went to IIM-A for an MBA Degree. “I was 23 and fresh out of an MBA and it was a fairly obvious choice to go with the flow which people are trying to change now but back then, I took up a banking job,” says Deep. He worked with ABN Amro Bank and as most of us are, was really excited about his first job. But after 3 years, a sense of incompleteness set in and he decided banking was not something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Deep quit ABN Amro and took a break for about a year to figure out what to do next.

You can also read about OYO Rooms

This period made Deep realize the importance of doing something you really like. If you’re doing what you love doing, you give your best. And hence, you need to follow your calling.

While on his break, Deep got a number of well-paying marketing jobs but he decided to pick the craziest of all. “I wanted to do something touch-feel, on-the-ground kind of a thing and hence I took up the job of bringing AMF Bowling Inc. to India,” said Deep. The task was a herculean one as no one in India was really ready to invest in a bowling alley in the 90’s.

Deep went around from place to place measuring places and setting up bowling alleys but the competition was just too tough. There were hardly any returns and competing against the giant chains like McDonalds’ was proving out to be impossible in terms of returns on real estate. Deep ran it for four years but decided to quit. “It was a great entrepreneurial experience but a financial disaster,” said Deep.
How did it help? The AMF stint taught Deep some of the nitty gritties of how a business is run and basically how to setup a business from scratch (rolling in the mud all the while).

Post AMF, Deep could have started up something else but he felt he needed some more corporate experience before diving into it. He felt that he was missing out on the learning part and the self-development part had plateaued after ABN. Looking out for companies, he got a lucrative offer from GE Capital to head Business Development.

The year was 1999 and looking for opening up new avenues, the internet was the obvious answer. Deep met almost all the top players in the Indian internet space and helped GE grow via the internet and during this time, Deep also had a couple of incidents that formed a strong faith in the internet- he managed to successful sell a car for INR 20k more than what was being offered online and he was able to book a hotel in Thailand for a trip with his wife and the vacation went off really well.

And after a little over a year with GE, Deep felt he was ready to take the plunge. Entering travel was not only because of the good experiences but a very clinical thought-out decision: it was too early for eCommerce back then and travel seemed like the right direction to move in. Mixing the idea with a proper business model, Makemytrip was born in the year 2000. And the rest, as they say, is history…

advertise with us

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Message’ type=’textarea’/][/contact-form]

Sharing is caring! Share the post to your loved ones

54 thoughts on “The story of Make my trip and its founder Deep Kalra”

  1. Whats up very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also¡KI’m happy to find so many useful info here in the submit, we’d like develop extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  2. Pingback: Milan
  3. After study many of the blogs in your internet site now, and i genuinely as if your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and you will be checking back soon. Pls check out my internet site also and inform me what you think.

  4. Thanks so much for giving everyone such a memorable possiblity to read from this website. It really is so brilliant and as well , packed with a great time for me and my office colleagues to visit your website at least thrice per week to read the latest issues you have got. Of course, I am always impressed concerning the magnificent creative ideas you give. Selected 1 tips on this page are unquestionably the most suitable I have ever had.

  5. Hi everyone! Magnificent article! I really like how you
    specified The story of Make my trip and its founder Deep Kalra.
    Wonderful! The manner in which perhaps you have take advantage of
    similar beneficial writing skills?

  6. The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to learn, but I actually thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could repair in case you werent too busy in search of attention.

  7. I simply want to tell you that I am just very new to blogging and absolutely enjoyed this blog. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You actually come with good articles and reviews. Cheers for revealing your blog.

  8. I have to express some appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of such a scenario. After browsing throughout the the web and meeting strategies which were not productive, I thought my life was done. Existing minus the solutions to the difficulties you have solved through your main site is a critical case, and the kind which could have in a negative way damaged my entire career if I had not come across your website. Your actual natural talent and kindness in taking care of almost everything was tremendous. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this time relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for the specialized and amazing guide. I won’t think twice to endorse the blog to anybody who desires care about this topic.

  9. Heya outstanding blog! Does running a blog like thiis require a massive amount work?
    I have no expertise in programminng but I hadd been hoping to start
    my own blog soon. Anyway, if you have any recommendations or techniques for
    new blog owners please share. I understand this
    is off subject but I just needed to ask. Maany thanks!

  10. Great article! This is the type of info that are supposed
    to be shared across the web. Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this put up higher!
    Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thanks =)

  11. Hello very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing ..
    I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?I’m satisfied to seek out numerous helpful info
    right here in the put up, we need develop more strategies on this regard, thank you
    for sharing.

  12. Heya excellent website! Does running a blog similar to this require a massive amount work?
    I have very little knowledge of programming however I was hoping
    to start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions or techniques for new
    blog owners please share. I know this is off subject but I simply wanted to ask.
    Appreciate it!

  13. I have to show my appreciation to you just for rescuing me from such a crisis. As a result of surfing around through the internet and obtaining tips which are not helpful, I figured my entire life was over. Living without the strategies to the problems you’ve solved as a result of the website is a crucial case, and those which could have negatively damaged my career if I hadn’t noticed your blog post. Your actual training and kindness in handling all the pieces was precious. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a point like this. I am able to now relish my future. Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and effective help. I won’t hesitate to refer the sites to anybody who wants and needs guide about this area.

  14. Wow, marvelous blog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you make blogging glance easy. The total look of your site is great, let
    alone the content!

  15. I want to express appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular setting. Because of looking out through the internet and seeing tricks that were not beneficial, I believed my entire life was well over. Living without the presence of solutions to the problems you have fixed all through your good write-up is a critical case, and those which may have adversely damaged my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your web blog. Your personal expertise and kindness in maneuvering all the pieces was helpful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a step like this. I can at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your reliable and results-oriented help. I will not hesitate to refer the website to anyone who needs to have guide about this matter.

  16. magnificent post, very informative. I ponder why the opposite
    specialists of this sector don’t understand this. You should proceed your writing.
    I’m confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  17. Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours these days.
    I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  18. I would like to express my appreciation for your kindness for all those that really want help with this one situation. Your special commitment to passing the solution across ended up being really powerful and has enabled professionals much like me to reach their dreams. The informative guideline denotes a great deal to me and extremely more to my peers. Best wishes; from everyone of us.

  19. Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, fantastic blog!

  20. I have to point out my appreciation for your kindness in support of individuals who really need help on this one area of interest. Your real dedication to getting the solution all through was surprisingly invaluable and has all the time encouraged people much like me to attain their ambitions. Your own insightful useful information means a whole lot to me and additionally to my colleagues. Thank you; from everyone of us.

  21. Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I would like to put in writing like this moreover ?taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article?but what can I say?I procrastinate alot and not at all appear to get something done.

  22. I precisely wanted to thank you so much all over again. I do not know what I would have made to happen without the actual solutions documented by you on my subject. It actually was an absolute distressing circumstance in my view, but understanding your specialized way you processed that forced me to jump over joy. Now i’m happier for the help as well as have high hopes you are aware of a powerful job that you’re putting in teaching some other people using your web site. Probably you’ve never met any of us.

  23. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I
    am trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok
    to use some of your ideas!!

Leave a Reply