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My entrepreneurship journey
For me entrepreneurship is about creating innovation and making it accessible to as many people as I can. My journey as an entrepreneur has been very exciting and eventful. My wish was to start a company in college itself but I didn't understand the head and tail about companies at that time. I waited to gain enough experience in the corporate sector and see how things get done in big corporates.

ALONG WITH the job, I travelled a lot as I love visiting new places. One time, I and Sanchit (in white shirt in the picture, Sankalp is on his left) went to Leh, Ladakh, together and found that two other friends had booked exactly the same package as ours from different travel agents with a price difference of 12,000 INR. One of them had booked with Leh local travel agent and got the best deal, whereas we gave 12,000 more for the same package. After some research we found similar more examples. We realized that tour industry is very opaque with prices and quality of services and there is no standard platform that can guide travelers genuinely to book best services at genuine prices. Customization of packages was something which no one offered. There used to be a set of fixed packages and you have to choose one of them.

We wanted to create a solution for the same. Connecting travelers to trusted travel agents local to the destination was the obvious answer for us. It helps travelers in getting best prices, services and customization. We realized that the Travel market is big enough market to start a company. Hence, we thought we can try it out. We soon left our jobs and created TravelTriangle.com.

The journey wasn’t as easy as we expected it to be. The hype of being an entrepreneur soon faded away. We faced a lot of initial challenges like building up the right core team, hiring right people, and getting initial customers, etc. We figured out solutions to each of the problems over a period of time and solved them. Our initial traction of customers came from forum posting, where we offered help to travelers and told them about our products. Once we had initial traction of customers, they started referring their friends to TravelTriangle.com, which we operate from Gurgaon and Noida, and asked them to try it out. We became an instant hit among the travelers community with a lot of customers on our website. With zero marketing spend, we started generating revenue. This is when we realized that customers do need this product and they are purchasing from our website in spite of the fact that they are aware of big players in the travel segment. It was an amazing feeling and the biggest proof of concept for any startup.

To pump more growth into the company, we started marketing of our website. To sustain growth, we built up a bigger travel agent network. We currently have around 125 trusted travel agents onboard spread all over India and abroad to help travelers plan their trip. We are serving customers for almost all the tourist destinations of India and abroad including Europe, SE Asia, Central Asia. Travel agents from various countries are contacting us to register themselves on our platform. Moving forward, we are looking to expand across various national and international destinations to help more and more people making their holidays into their dream holidays.

I would also like to share few insights (important and non-obvious ones) that will help out new entrepreneurs:

  • Never start alone. There are way too many tasks to be done by a single person.
  • Release your product early in the market. Get version 1 out then improve it based on users’ reactions. Users hate bugs but they don’t mind them in minimal versions.
  • Understand your customers and their problem. Customers should feel delighted to use your product as they should be able to solve their problem in a hassle free way.
  • Always know pros of ideas/features you hate and cons of ideas/features you love before rejecting or implementing them. It is one of the most difficult and important tasks to do.
  • Hiring and training right employees is an important and a time-consuming activity.
  • Spend money wisely.

(CJ: Sankalp Agarwal studied in Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and along with Sachit Agarwal, who's a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, co-founded TravelTriangle.com. Both are 26 years old and childhood buddies.)
 

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