Friday, April 18, 2014

How I met Aloke Bajpai, CEO of Ixigo.com?

It was in April 1995 that I changed schools and with it a lot of things. I studied in an "only boys" school, St Aloysius in Kanpur and as it was only till 10th Std, I had to shift to a new one after ICSE board exams. There were 2 choices - Jaipuria School (which was for the rich guys) and Methodist High School (more affordable, convent style). And both were "co-eds", so all the more fun! I chose MHS.
It was in MHS that I first met Aloke. He was one of the toppers of his batch, and also the "khurafati" types, so we immediately connected. I had anyways little hopes of striking it with the girls gang at MHS, being an outsider having just 2 years to go together. Like majority of students, we decided to prepare for JEE (India's popular joint entrance examination which gives you entrance to IITs). And like lot of other student groups - we joined forces. We joined the same coaching for PCM (to get group discounts), took different correspondence classes (and shared material), did co-studies alternatively at my place or his and took turns cycling to coaching classes (with one driving and other as pillion rider).

After school, we had parallel journeys - he went to IIT Kanpur, I went to IIT Delhi; he joined Amadeus after graduating, while I joined Infosys; he did MBA from INSEAD, and I chose IIM Indore; he started Ixigo.com and ...this is where I did not match him. I joined Asian Paints, then Onida and Mumbai Angels and much later Nurture Talent Academy.

Today, Ixigo is one of the most loved travel venture in India, with millions of downloads of its apps, daily visitors to its website, 1000s of airlines and hotels as partners and almost 100 employees. It has really taken off from the humble beginnings, then went to raise angel funds from Singapore investors, and later selling strategic stake to Makemytrip and SAIF Partners. Success has not changed Aloke much, and he continues to be warm and omnipresent in almost all entrepreneurship initiatives in India.

1 key lesson that I learned from Aloke
In one word - "Persistence" - I have closely watched Aloke since inception. In 2008-09, a leading venture capitalists gave him a term sheet and promised to invest a few million dollars. Just few days before giving money, they backed out. That did not make Aloke weak, but strong. Every business goes through this crisis some or the other stage in their life cycle, what matters is how you react.

I wish Ixigo and Aloke thrive and take many more people together with to a grand success.

If you wish to connect with Aloke Bajpai or Ixigo team, I will be glad to make an email introduction.

I have met over 30000 people personally, and everyday I will tell a story about someone who has been a part of my life.

If you have a suggestion or feedback, feel free to connect with me on my social networks or mail me.


Till then, just be awesome!