What happens when three childhood friends, who also happen to be tech junkies go on a trip to Ladakh? A business idea is born. But isn’t every second person in India is having a business idea, only to toss it off? Well perhaps that is the differentiating factor for the three ‘marus’. They didn’t toss off the idea to the bin. Rather they toyed with it and polished it till it shined enough for them to leave their jobs at Adobe, Yahoo and Oracle and pool in their savings to start India’s first holiday marketplace – TravelTriangle.
The Jaipur Days
Like most great friendships, Sankalp, Sanchit and Prabhat became friends at school. The friendship that started because of their roll numbers and hence seating arrangement, grew stronger for their love of science (who says geeks can only be friends in the Big Bang Theory?!). All of them came from business backgrounds but their parents wanted them to have well settled lives.
Off to IITs
After school, the trio went to separate IITs. Sankalp to Kharagpur, Sanchit went to Mumbai while Prabhat took admission in Guwahati. However, all of them studied computer science.
Well Settled Jobs
IITs usually mean meaty jobs, and so Sankalp started working for Adobe, Sanchit showcased his talent at Yahoo while Prabhat got busy at Oracle. Those were the days when Ladakh had caught everyone’s imagination. So the friends packed their bags for a holiday at hill desert. They got the trip booked through a travel agent. Upon reaching there, they met other tourists who had booked more value added deal, and boom the idea of holiday marketplace was born.
The Garage Office
TravelTriangle started from a Garage which was attached to a three room paying guest accommodation in Noida where Sankalp and Sanchit stayed with another friend who thought that they were stupid to plunge into entrepreneurship while the world economy was going through crisis, but was magnanimous enough to let them use the space for their venture.
Armed with their love for technology and knack for solving puzzles, problems and accepting challenges, they started slowly but surely. They researched to find what travelers wanted, met and understood how travel agents worked and found many many gaps in the market.
After in depth research and oodles of common sense, the e-commerce platform came into existence. The technical part was done. Now was the need to get business and human capital.
Of First Employee, Old Bike and Consultant Jobs
Travel blogs and travel forums helped TravelTriangel get their first leads. The ‘Nukkad’ tarvel agency was the first vendor. The only thing needed was employees. After scouting job boards and calling some candidates, two people came for interview. They were interviewed in the same PG apartment and asked to come back the next day (and we thought rolling placements happen only at IIMs!) . There was a drop of 50%. Only one person turned up. So happy were the friends to see him, that they prepared the offer letter in a jiffy and welcomed their employee No.1 on board. For the record, he is still employee No.1 (pun intended).
As the potential energy changed to kinetic, more people joined. The three friends had been using up their savings so far, which was steadily depleting. To pay for the operational cost, Sanchit started taking consultancy assignments.
Remembering the old days, employee No.1 says that when TT was a five person organisation, everyone did everything. Right from dusting to making tea to riding the dilapidated bike in order to pay vendors far and wide.
High on Passion, But what about Junta’s Confidence?
The product was top class, the team was dedicated and the pitches were charismatic. People wanted to book their holidays through TravelTriangle but many of them dropped citing trust factors. They were apprehensive that three young boys will probably dupe them. If not that, then perhaps online banking would expose them to cyber fraud. But the ‘Triangulars’ stuck to their guns and the fat lady sang.
Persistence paid and many travelers took to TravelTriangle. WOM brought many more. With time, hard work and good wishes the company grew and got venture funding by SAIF Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners.
500% Growth Yet Fun at Work
The small garage has given way to a plush office, but the drive remains same. The team has grown. Past couple of months have seen more than 500% rise in monthly bookings and the team has grown by more than 100% month-on-month.
And the core value has become stronger – to create value for travelers and agent partners
The organisation encourages free thinking and risk taking. People are welcome to test their ideas and run pilots. If they succeed that is wow, if not, there is learning. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people are encouraged to communicate across teams rather than work in silos. The townhalls are fun events.
Some facts about Triangulars
- 20% like to work with their earphones on, and the rest enjoy silence while working
- 7 different languages spoken in traveltriangle, by people coming from 20 different cities
- 85% yell for party on every occasion, while the rest sit and wait for a party to happen
- 60% think that super commando DHRUV is better than NAGRAJ
- 3 out of 5 pick their phones every 20 minutes to check their whatsapp notifications
- 40% are coffee addicts