Deep Kalra – How He Builds India’s First Online Travel Company

The days are gone when we had to stand in queues to book bus and flight tickets or pre-book hotel rooms of our choice with the rise in booking websites. However, many companies entered this area of work but failed to capitalize and survive in this competition. But there is only one company that never give up and held its nerve and grew steadily to become the leader in the online ticket booking sector i.e., MakeMyTrip. We are talking about the owner of the company MakeMyTrip – Deep Kalra. He is the group CEO and group Chairman at MakeMyTrip Ltd. Let us now take a trip on Deep’s Journey of becoming an entrepreneur.

Early Life Of Deep

Deep Kalra was born in the city of pearls-Hyderabad. But grew up in Delhi and Ahmedabad. He completed his school at St. Columba School, New Delhi, and graduated in Economics from St Stephen’s College,  Delhi University, in 1990. After his graduation, he did MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) in 1992.

Journey of Baker To An Entrepreneur

After completing his MBA he started doing a job at ABN Ampro bank and was really about his first job and was really happy. But just after 3 years, he felt a sense of incompleteness and decided that banking was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Then he quit ABN Ampro bank and took a break for about a year to figure out what to do next. In 1995, he got a lot of high-paying job offers but he takes a huge risk and joined AMF bowling.

AMF Bowling was an American company that was hoping to enter the Indian market to set up a bowling alley. However, at that time very less people in India were interested in investing in Bowling alleys. Yet deep put his blood and sweat into visiting places and trying to set up a bowling alley. But the competition was too tough as they were put against big brands like McDonald’s which was making things more difficult in terms of return on real estate. Despite of that Deep plans to open 200 lanes and most of them in small centers. He plans the business for four years but later decided to quit. He said ‘ It was a great entrepreneurial experience for him but equally a financial disaster to’.

Entering Into The Travel Segment

Later he took up a job at JE capital as vice president of business development. He grew JE capital via the internet in those days. After working for a year and with some money saved in his bank he began to get that entrepreneurial issue yet again and likewise he decide to quit JE capital. In 1999 he observes Google and Yahoo’s heights on the internet. He was amazed by the power of the internet and he know how hard it was to travel in India but entering the travel segment was not only to provide a hassle-free experience but a clearly thought-out decision. Back in that time E-Commerce was still an alien subject and travel looked like the right choice to offer.

After mixing the idea with the proper business model makes MakeMyTrip was born in the year 2000. However, for Indians, the venture was too ahead of time as people were reluctant to use their credit cards online and did not trust the non-established brand. But Deep and industry believed in their plan and MakeMyTrip was successful in raising fires.

Ups And Down In Making MakeMyTrip

After the .com bubble the investors refused 1 billion in funding commitments. Those times were very bad for deep as he was 31 years old with a wife and a baby. At the time starting a website was insane and downright suicidal but deep and his 2 managers brought back their equity in the business and had to reduce employees’ salaries to half, which was even worse that he along with his partner had to let go of their salaries. And decided to work without salary for next 18 months.

People thought I was crazy – Deep Kalra

After so many intelligent decisions MakeMyTrip turned out to be one of those few companies that managed to survive the .com sunami as time passed the situation got better and their decision turned out to be very fruitful. Their business also began to put up and reached a decent customer base.

That was the only time when IRCTC their first online business model unable the Indian traveler to purchase railway tickets on the internet. This model of IRCTC was well accepted by the Indian masses and turned out to be a great idea. All these events opened a whole new level of opportunities for the travel market in India. 

The Great Changes In MakeMyTrip

It was time for MakeMyTrip to broaden its portfolio and although this venture was hard it was time for the Indian Market. They took a risk anyway as a first apart from flight ticking Makemytrip began to offer holiday packing and hotel booking which was followed by the tie-up with IRCTC online business model.

This move not only increased their presence in railway ticket bookings but also gave a most desired boost to the Indian market which India was looking for and in a matter of no time, the company started making revenues. The demand was so high that one of every 12 domestic flights in India was booked through MakeMyTrip. Within a year the company acquired 2 lakh, happy customers.

Matter of fact when the recession in 2008 the company was crossing its 1000 crore valuation mark. The same year company had also recorded a profit worth $5 million dollar with gross revenues being approximately 500 million dollars. After this company brought great changes to its business profile. And is now the greatest company in the era.


  • Deep Kalra is one of the finest members of the executive council of NASSCOM.
  • His company MakeMyTrip is awarded as the best travel portal in India in 2013 and 2014.
  • Also one of the members of Cll’s tourism committee.
  • Recognized as “the best company to work for India” by a great work institute from 2010-2014.
  • Chairman of NASSCOM internet working group.
  • Deep Kalra is one of the founding members of the ‘ I’m Gurgaon” NGO.
  • Founder of Ashoka university and is part of the governing body.

Deep Kalra is one of the best examples of being hardworking, dedicated, and motivating. He always believes that one should first find out what they wanted to do in their life then only they will plan big for their life.

The Success Story of Deep Kalra makes the biggest impact on people’s life.

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