TheNFAPost Podcast

Chennai, NFAPost: “India is at an interesting point. Fundamentally, COVID has been the biggest blessing that the Internet economy could get in India,” said MakeMyTrip Founder & Group Executive Chairman Deep Kalra.

He was speaking at this year’s TiECON Chennai 2020 with an intriguing fire-side chat. In his conversation with Mahavir Pratap Sharma, Founder and Owner of Oscar Expo Design LLP and Swishin Events LLP as well as the Chairman of TiE Global Board of Trustees, Deep Kalra shared his experience as a first time entrepreneur who set out to revolutionise the Indian hospitality industry and the many challenges he had to overcome along the journey of building MakeMyTrip.

TiECON was conducted virtually with over 1000 delegates participating in the first day of the conference. Dwelling deep into the several impacts of COVID on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Deep Kalra shared insights on how the situation has opened plethora of opportunities while also uplifting the Internet economy to a great extent.

“At the end of COVID, we would have jumped from 110 to 200 million buyers online because there is no other way to order or pay. Everyone has become comfortable and it is a one way street. I think it has doubled our addressable market suddenly because many more people have been brought online,” he said.

Further sharing insights on the future of travel industry in India, Deep Kalra said, “Travel is uncomfortable today but it is not unsafe. We have to convince a lot of people that it is safe and that take time. Only 25% domestic flights have opened despite the government allowing 60% operations due to the low
demand. People are slowly stepping out to travel for work, meeting family and pleasure.”

“It is going to take time in India for travel industry to open up. There is a silver bullet but we don’t know when it is going to come. It is time for us to dig down deeper into our resources. We have used this time to work on the all the projects we wanted to do, but never got the time to do because of the daily pressures of business,” he added.

Drawing on the panelists’ experience across diverse industries, the conversation touched upon the need for R&D and innovation particularly in science and technology, the ability to cater to local as well as global markets, and the role of a supportive ecosystem.

The first day of the conference came to a conclusion with a chat between T V Mohandas Pai, CoFounder and Chairman of Aarin Capital and Chairman of Manipal Global Education, and Viiveck Verma, Founder and CEO of UpSurge Enterprise Solutions and Senior Advisor to Telengana State Innovation Cell.

Pai traced his experiences in finance, HR as well as social impact roles in Infosys and beyond. Helping build Brand India for the last many years, Pai described his efforts both in the private as well as public sector as an advisor to many governmental committees.

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