Ashish Kashyap founded GoIbibo and drove $2 bn in Online Travel sales

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Goibibo, the fastest growing travel website in the country, has taken the internet by storm. Despite entering the market at a much later stage when players like MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip had already established themselves, Goibibo did not crumble under pressure.

Over the years, it has positioned itself as a trusted online booking portal as well as a travelling consultant that offers the cheapest fares on flights, buses, trains, hotels and cars.

Goibibo’s core differentiator is the most trusted user experience, be it in terms of the quickest search or booking, fastest payments, settlement or refund processes.

Their customers enjoy a standardised stay experience at certified hotel properties through Gostay. With the industry’s first virtual travel booking currency, GoCash, and travel social network, GoCash+ Rewards – GoIbibo is the number one choice for new India on the move.

The parent organisation of Goibibo is Ibibo Group which is backed by Naspers, a huge investor. Their unique selling proposition is ‘Cheap fares and packages.’ Goibibo’s main target group is the people who use the Internet for fiscal transactions.

Goibibo takes pride in having the biggest consumer base amongst all the other online booking portals owing to its affordable ticket prices. It is the largest booking engine and has been ranked in the first position in the travel sector through mobile apps.

Recently, Goibibo has added two vital features to its product kit. Anywhere to Anywhere flight bookings help in getting the best fare options for international destinations to and from anywhere in the world. Flight Advice is a search engine that helps users in finding results of their personal choice. It includes price options, preferred destination routes and the duration of a flight.

Goibibo has spread its presence to every part of India and is accessible through an online portal and through mobile apps. It was founded in 2007 and has its headquarters in Gurgaon, India. Goibibo has a network of several offices located in various cities such as Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai.

The startup was founded by Ashish Kashyap, Deepak Tuli, Sanjay Bhasin, Vikalp Sahni and Uma Shankar, as we see it today, in 2009. Ashish Kashyap recently founded IndWealth, AI-based Wealth tech platform. He is also the Founder & ex-CEO of ‘Ibibo Group’ (Goibibo, redBus & PayU India)

Prior to founding ‘Ibibo Group’, Ashish was the ‘Country Head’ of ‘Google India’, wherein the set up the India facing operations from the ground up. Before joining Google, Ashish founded the e-commerce and online travel business at Indiatimes.com and drove them to a profitable position.

Deepak Tuli is the co-founder and COO of Goibibo.com. With over 10 years of e-commerce experience, Deepak has expertise in Mobile Platforms (Android / IOS / Windows / HTML5), Digital Marketing, Product Management, P&L management, CRM etc. He has built multiple online businesses/business units in India.

Prior to launching Goibibo, Deepak was part of Yatra.com launch team, wherein the set up the Non-air business. Deepak is a graduate of Naspers Harvard Program

Sanjay Bhasin, a veteran for 23 years in the media industry, covering all segments Print/Radio/T.V and now new media e-commerce, has been instrumental in launching many successful ventures across the media.

Not content with an Economics Honours degree, Sanjay studied further and equipped himself with Management theories and tools, which he could apply in business and completed his Management Degree. He set foot on the corporate ladder in the year 1990 and has not looked back ever since. With a consistently soaring career; Sanjay has contributed to New Media resiliently.

Sanjay has been a media person throughout his career. As an individual, he has had many accomplishments. Sanjay, when he is not working, loves reading and travelling with friends and family.

Ibibo initially started as a social networking service in 2007 and later changed to become an e-commerce and travel organization. In 2009 Goibibo.com was launched. According to YourStory, within the first year of its inception, the Naspers-funded company had grown more than 200%.

“We had started Goibibo as an experiment with only a $50k seed capital but over the years we have built a successful OTA business,” says Ashish.

In 2011, the platform grew about 180% over the previous calendar year. In the same year, Goibibo became the first OTA to launch instant refund in India. In 2012, the company’s team size grew to 25 members and it launched new features like online rescheduling and international flights. Importantly, the platform also launched a bus booking facility for last mile connectivity to its users.

A year after, Goibibo surprised industry pundits, journalists and the startup ecosystem by acquiring the poster boy of Indian startup saga – redBus for an estimated amount of INR 600 crores.

The company also launched hotel bookings, which at present, contributes significant revenues for Goibibo. Besides this, Goibibo unveiled Flight Advice – a recommendation engine for international flights in 2013. The feature aimed to eliminate the problem of going through a plethora of options, which ensures that the chances of choosing the best flight option are high.

In the current calendar year, Goibibo has so far grown over 140% compared to the same period from 2013. This year also witnessed acquisition of YourBus, a Bangalore based bus tracking and analytics company.

In October 2016, India based online travel company MakeMyTrip, a Nasdaq listed firm and ibibo Group, India’s largest travel group agreed to merge in a stock transaction, to form the country’s biggest online travel company.

ibibo Group has raised a total of $250M in funding over 1 round. This was a Venture – Series Unknown round raised on Feb 24, 2016. Their investor was Naspers.

Goibibo has tie-ups with 400 airlines and has access to 52,000 routes. More than half of its bookings are via mobile apps and done through Mobile-Web, Windows Phones, Android and iOS and the rest through the desktop.

Goibibo’s Facebook page has over 1.5 million users. It offers various deals and incentives to its customers like rupees 2000 cashback if booked via Goibibo coupons, 60% discount on domestic air-tickets with coupons and discount of Rupees 800 if the coupon code is used.

Goibibo has been the recipient of several awards in recent times. It was awarded Best Tech Travel Award by The Economic Times in the year 2015 and India’s Best Website in the year 2014.

The Goibibo app has been downloaded more than 10 million times on the Play Store and its annual turnover stands at $65 million.

As Goibibo faces stiff competition from several rival companies it has adopted a competitive pricing policy to maintain its customer base. Its top competitors are ClearTrip and Yatra.com. MakeMyTrip used to be a massive competition before the merger.

Cleartrip is an online travel platform where travellers can search for and book flights to any destination. Based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, the company was founded by Hrush Bhatt, Matthew Spacie and Stuart Crighton in January 2006.

Yatra online offers a booking service that enables individuals to find and book flights, hotels and holiday packages. Yatra has its headquarters in Gurgaon, Haryana. It was founded by Dhruv Shringi, Manish Amin and Sabina Chopra in 2006. The company currently has 500-1000 employees.

The CTO, Vikalp Sahni, while advising emerging entrepreneurs, said in an interview, “There are two things; one is skill — you have to be skilled enough to build the product. And the other is the attitude — it’s not always about being the best, but also about being empathetic towards the team you’re working with and the consumers you’re solving the problem for. This attitude is the X-factor that will take you till the end.”

Goibibo has grown in leaps and bounds over the years despite the rigorous competition from existing online booking portals. The journey is a testimony of the fact that persistence and resilience lead to success.

Do you agree with Vikalp’s statement? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

So, what are your thoughts on this story?
Tell us in the comments.

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Vasundhara Dhadiwal
I'm quite gauche, tbh. I despise texting abbreviations and Internet acronyms and the fact that I find myself guilty of using them every once in a while. I study mass communication and photography gets me by. I am as old school as they come. I devour books while a plate full of food is waiting to be eaten. Life is quite okay but I struggle with the in-betweens. I'm just a regular girl but I believe that I'm going to be a very big deal someday.

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