The market is currently saturated with various travel and booking search engines. However, ixigo has been in the market for over 11 years now and it makes us wonder what it took to sustain against other players! Their journey has been full of ups and downs, but it’s safe to say, it’s been worth it. Aloke Bajpai (CEO and co-founder, ixigo) worked at Amadeus SAS, France before deciding to start ixigo. He is an IIT Kanpur alumnus with an MBA from INSEAD. So what lead him to leave a cushiony job in France to start his own company, you ask?
“The inspiration behind the inception of the brand comes from a personal story involving our other co-founder, Rajnish and I. During our stay in France, we planned a trip around Europe, during which we faced a lot of difficulties getting around. From booking tickets and hotels at the right price, to simply figuring out the best places to visit and things to do, it all seemed like a challenge. This is where we got the idea for ixigo,” says Aloke. “ixigo is a friend who helps you plan, book and manage your travel while being accessible 24×7 with any help that you need,” he adds. Who knew that simple inconveniences in life could become someone’s entrepreneurial start-up? Maybe yours is right around the corner. Pro Tip: There could be an idea right in front of you, all you have to do it look out and go for it!
When we asked what led to naming your company ixigo, his prompt reply was, “We wanted to inspire people and that is why we came up with the concept of I explore, I go – ixigo.”
As we’ve already established, the competition in the travel industry is in abundance, but staying on top for ixigo has been a result of focusing on their customers rather than competition. In India, they are the market leaders and they have achieved this by partnering with travel companies to get the best deals to their customers. Their only aim is to create long term value for their customers, shareholders and employees. That explains their presence for over 11 years, right?
As a budding entrepreneur, everything is not always rosy and nice (we are sure a lot of you can vouch for that) just like Aloke. “I failed to raise any institutional money for nearly 4 years after starting ixigo. Perseverance and putting the user first is what kept us going,” he says. (Pro Tip: There may be a lot of times when you want to give up, but just remember to keep the dream alive and continue to fight for it every single day.)
If there was any takeaway he could give to budding entrepreneurs from his success story, it would be:
1. Do not give up on your dreams, keep pursuing them with full dedication.
2. Always put your customers first, you do not exist without them.
3. Hire great people and get out of the way – great people do not perform within well set boundaries. Give them their freedom.
4. Predict the market – you never know what is going to change in the market scenario, so learn to drop a few projects and pick new ones up as and when time demands.
5. Play it forward – help others succeed, mentor other entrepreneurs, motivate others to venture out and bootstrap their businesses.
If there’s something you can take away from Aloke and his story is to ALWAYS believe in your product. If you believe in what you’ve created, that’s half the job done!
Now let’s go believe, shall we?
Or for now, let’s at least believe in ixigo for planning your next vacation: Website