Ashish Hemrajani – Booking Your Shows Seamlessly

Remember the days when you had to wait patiently in long queues to get a movie ticket? Or the time you were put on a waiting list for a live performance you so desperately wanted to attend? Luckily those days are behind us (mostly), and we have none other than Ashish Hemrajani to thank for giving us BookMyShow.

Ashish Hemrajani, who spent the entirety of his educational life in Mumbai, graduated with a masters degree in business administration from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in the year 1997. He joined the advertising company J. Walter Thomas (JWT) the same year.

Ashish has been an avid traveller, and it was during a backpacking trip in South Africa that he was struck by an idea while listening to a radio programme which was promoting rugby tickets. He was sitting under a tree in South Africa’s Cape Winelands where he was struck by the idea, and thought the same could be implemented back in India. This inspired the name BigTree Entertainment, the precursor to what would eventually become BookMyShow.

Soon thereafter, Ashish made the expensive mistake of sending a Rs.186 text message to his boss saying that he was quitting – a mistake he realised only the following day. Without a job, Ashish returned to India and started speaking to potential investors, presenting his business plan. He sent a fax of the business plan to JP Morgan Chase, and managed to secure funding worth Rs. 2 crore. This happened at a time when the dot com industry was booming.

By 1999, BookMyShow had more calls than online bookings and may well have been one of the first few to start using cash on delivery. BookMyShow also received funding from Newscorp in 2001. Then the dot com crash happened, and BookMyShow, like almost all the internet companies at the time, was badly hit. Being on the verge of collapse, their workforce reduced from 150 to only 6. BookMyShow’s operations had to be moved from a 2500 sq.ft. office to a house in Bandra.

During those years, Ashish Hemrajani focused on building the ecosystem for the online ticketing business. 2006 onwards, Ashish focused on building the consumer business and it was then that sales started to pick up. BookMyShow is today the foremost platform that Indians think about when they book their movie or show tickets.

The ride for Ashish Hemrajani has been anything but smooth. But he has persevered and overcome obstacles in his path. He is our Xpert on entrepreneurship. Learn about Ashish’s journey, his tips and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and so much more, only on Xpert! Xpert is an online Q&A platform that brings you closer to the people you admire and look up to. Sign up on Xpert and ask Ashish Hemrajani a question!

 

 

 

Meet the Man who Made Your Trip: Deep Kalra

We do not think twice before booking flight or train tickets, hotels or package holidays on MakeMyTrip.com. For most educated Indians, this website has become almost synonymous with travel. Meet Deep Kalra, the man who pioneered the concept of online bookings in India. With humble beginnings in 2000, MakeMyTrip is now the go-to website for Indians, for business and leisure travel alike. What started out as a travel company catering to the overseas Indian community in the United States for their travels to and from India is now one of the most awarded online companies in India.

Coming from a management background, a steady climb up the corporate ladder seemed the most justified course. Upon his graduation from IIM Ahmedabad, Deep joined ABN AMRO, where he worked for three years before taking a break for a year. He worked with AMF Bowling Ltd., and attempted to popularise bowling in India, setting up bowling alleys, but it didn’t do too well. He then joined GE Capital in 1999 before the idea for starting an internet business struck him in 2000. That was when he decided to launch MakeMyTrip, after realising the wealth of possibilities the internet afforded him. Deep realised that a lot of money could be saved in travel bookings by eliminating the middleman in booking transactions, while making the transaction seamless and hassle free.

MakeMyTrip was launched in the middle of the dot com crash. Times were so bad, venture capital companies didn’t want to fund any more online companies. MakeMyTrip was one of the last companies that managed to secure funding from eVentures before it itself shut down shortly thereafter.

Deep brought MakeMyTrip to India in the year 2005, at a time when Indian Railways had launched online reservations and when India was in the midst of a low-cost airline boom. He managed to secure further funding, and the future started to look bright again for MakeMyTrip.

Eighteen years on, Deep Kalra has successfully weathered the turbulence he faced in his early years as an entrepreneur. Today, MakeMyTrip has an annual turnover of more than $650 million and employs more than 3000 people.

An entrepreneur who has surmounted formidable odds to make his company come out stronger than ever, Deep Kalra is our Xpert on entrepreneurship. At Xpert he shares with you his journey, the ups and downs, the lessons he learnt and his own tips to anyone aspiring to become an entrepreneur. At Xpert, you can ask him your own questions about his life and journey, as well as seek his guidance and advice.

Xpert is an online platform that seeks to make learning from the best free for all. Offering an extensive selection of celebrities who are at the top of their respective professions, Xpert helps to bring you closer to the people who inspire you through a Q&A platform. Besides entrepreneurship, Xpert offers you content from leading personalities from fields as diverse as film acting, Bollywood singing, cricket, cooking and so much more. Sign up today, and ask your first question!

Ritesh Agarwal: taking the hotel industry by storm!

1993-born Ritesh Agarwal stirred up the hospitality industry with his OYO Rooms becoming the largest hotel network in India, offering more than 100,000 rooms across more than 230 cities. Lack of a college education being no bar for him, he founded what has today become the largest aggregator of hotel rooms, bed-and-breakfasts and homestays, and OYO itself is worth $5 billion.

Often for a lot of travellers, a room that looks good on a hotel website often turns out to be far less glamorous in reality, leading to disappointment and frustration. OYO became a platform that delivered on its promise of offering branded hotels with no nasty surprises for guests. Starting with only one property in Gurgaon in 2013, OYO has over 8500 properties under its umbrella today.

It was while Ritesh was travelling across India on a budget and staying at some appalling accommodations did the idea for OYO strike him. He realised that a trustworthy database of affordable quality hotels and guest houses was something India needed. He also learned that aggregating a list of hotels on a website wasn’t enough – they’d need to be repaired and done up so they can be brought up to par with other hotels of the same class. Ritesh even spent a year doing all sorts of jobs at a hotel, which gave him a deeper understanding of how the hospitality industry works.

In 2013 Ritesh received a $100,000 fellowship from the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, who subsidises students who drop out from college to start their businesses. Ritesh got his big break in 2015 when he got $100 million in venture capital from Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corporation. OYO is now the largest accommodation chain in South Asia, and it is now venturing into the Chinese and UK markets.

Ritesh Agarwal is India’s youngest millionaire, and being only in his mid twenties, he is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in India. His success story is indeed a tale to tell, and that’s what makes him our Xpert on entrepreneurship. Learn about his journey, his experiences and so much more only on Xpert!

Xpert is an online platform that seeks to make learning from the best free for all. Offering an interactive Q&A platform where you can ask questions to the people you admire the most, Xpert has a selection of renowned celebrities who are at the top of their respective professions. Ranging from Bollywood dance to cricket, from cooking to makeup, Xpert has something for everyone. Sign up today, and ask your first question!