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Late to enter ticketing business, we grew on emergent learning: Ashish Kashyap, Ibibo

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Late to enter ticketing business, we grew on emergent learning: Ashish Kashyap, Ibibo

When Ashish Kashyap set out to become an entrepreneur in the year 2007, he was flooded with ideas that he wanted to try out in the digital space. “Online bookings were popular, but the volume and quality of Internet assets at that point of time weren’t there. Every fifth engineer that I met wanted to be an entrepreneur and this led me to launch an incubator that could seed a lot of ideas and at the same time invest in some of them. That’s the starting point for us,” says Ashish Kashyap, Founder and CEO, Ibibo Group.

After “intrepreneurial” stints at Google and Times Internet, Kashyap went on to seed almost 40 to 50 ideas and a few of them took off while he had to junk the others. Ibibo started off as a social networking company in 2007, but as the travel business started gaining traction, the company decided to focus on them from 2009.

The travel and tourism industry is one of the thriving sectors in the country and the total contribution of the sector to the Indian GDP was Rs. 7,642.5 billion (6.7 per cent of GDP) in 2014 and expected to rise by 7.3 per cent in 2015, according to the annual 2015 report by The World Travel and Tourism Council.

However, the sector is extremely fragmented with multiple stakeholders and Kashyap says technology has played an important role in improving things.

“India is very unique because it is like almost 40 countries rolled into one. “Every state, territory has its own transport policies, presence of airports are limited, which basically makes the transportation eco system highly fragmented and the use of technology is helping bridge this fragmentation to some extent. I feel there is a huge roadmap ahead to solve many problems in the industry”. Today, the company is one of the leading online travel aggregators in the country with businesses like redBus, Ryde, and goStays in its portfolio.

With Ibibo, Kashyap says he has not only solved a lot of problems that consumers face, but also addressed a lot of issues on the supplier side. “To give an example, one of our portfolio businesses, which is redBus, solved not just the bus ticketing problems for customers, but also enabled thousands of bus operators to be able to manage their fleets real time,” says Kashyap. Ibibo acquired redBus in 2013 for about $140 million.

As online travel moves from merely booking flight and train tickets to solving transportation problems within a city, Ibibo has recently launched Ryde, a real-time carpooling service provider. “With rising fuel bills and so much traffic, we have launched Ryde with the basic idea of consumers being able to save money by sharing the ride and also socialize with new people,” says Kashyap.

Despite several challenges and being a late entrant to many of the segments it currently operates in, Ibibo is seeing $ 2 billion GMV of top line sales and almost 3.2 million consumers transact across its different platforms every month. Kashyap says as he built the businesses a lot of things happened by accident and through an emergent learning process. Kashyap adds that his biggest challenge was to convince the constituents that he can get a good share of the market.

“The earlier you take the plunge, the better it is. The entrepreneurial stint can see a lot of failure and the chances of doing well is higher you start early. Young entrepreneurs will have the stamina to reinvent and course correct to find the winning formula. If you delay this, your stamina reduces,” says Kashyap.

Watch the episode: My Big Plunge feat. Ashish Kashyap, Founder and CEO, Ibibo Group on A My Big Plunge & Economic Times feature

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