Ixigo, one of many key on-line journey businesses (OTA) out there, has maintained a low profile however ensured a sluggish but regular progress through the years. The portal, which has been within the information after submitting a Rs 1,600-crore DRHP in August this yr, has come a good distance since being bootstrapped for the primary 5 years of existence. The IPO will assist it achieve wider capital swimming pools, and nullify the potential of liquidity constraints sooner or later. If cleared by SEBI, it will likely be the fourth Indian firm of its type to develop into public.
But the street to attaining deep penetration among the many subsequent billion consumer market and stability hasn’t been straightforward for the journey portal. “Being one of many least funded gamers within the class, we had been very frugal in our strategy. We didn’t spend a lot on ads and didn’t provide reductions. Rather, we centered on giving extra detailed and correct data to our clients than our rivals,” says Aloke Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, ixigo.
Surviving throughout the pandemic wasn’t as tough for ixigo, which had some expertise in dealing with a disaster – the worldwide monetary meltdown in 2008. “Even then, we didn’t hearth anybody. We decreased prices, took wage cuts, and survived,” says Gupta. As the pandemic struck, the corporate as an alternative of firing folks went for voluntary pay-cuts and decreased different prices. Once the journey bans had been lifted in June, the corporate was in a position to restore everybody’s wage by August-September. “We additionally gave a spherical of appraisal in September and esops. In truth, we gave away about 2% of the corporate (when it comes to worth) final yr,” provides Gupta.
To deal with cancellations, ixigo employed a crew of fifty folks to attend buyer calls. “There was a time when for per week, everybody in our crew was doing buyer assist together with myself. But we made positive that we referred to as again each buyer and solved their question.” That wasn’t all. The firm additionally needed to crowdsource about Rs 40-50 lakh from its staff to place in its cost gateway account because it ran out of cash due to heavy cancellations.
It’s that empathy and belief that ixigo has constructed through the years. “If you assist folks throughout a disaster, they all the time keep in mind you and belief your model,” says Gupta. Such measures helped the portal surpass its pre-Covid gross sales quantity within the third quarter of 2020. It additionally added rather a lot clients from the tier 2 and tier 3 cities with many adapting to the digital mode of transactions. “We noticed extra resilience coming from these markets,” says Gupta.
Bootstrapped for the primary 5 years of its existence, ixigo went for its first spherical of funding after that.
“In at the moment’s world, folks would increase 5-6 rounds by them. In these days, it was a lot more durable to lift cash as there have been only a few traders,” says Gupta laughingly. What differentiated ixigo from its friends was it resolved points that nobody was – significantly within the practice section. Between 2013 and 2017, the corporate got here out with a bunch of utility options, which helped it develop quickly. Also, its concentrate on the following billion consumer market – train-first sort of customers – additionally proved to be a very good alternative to penetrate deeper.
“We by no means actually spent a lot on advertising and marketing – you wouldn’t have seen us going with any Bollywood celeb or a cricketer. But we did a variety of quirky video advertising and marketing. So, we had been constructing a model very slowly as an alternative of pushing it by your face,” says Gupta.
The firm additionally acquired Cofirmtkt and Abhibus – two start-ups – this yr by its two rounds of funding. Even after the IPO, the corporate plans to take measured bets. “We will take steps to deepen our penetration among the many subsequent billion customers and see how we will increase our verticals. We will proceed to put money into expertise and usher in a very good crew of engineers as a result of we do a variety of AI/ML work. Plus, we are going to proceed our progress trajectory by investing within the model and the product,” says Gupta.