Over the last few years, Yatra.com has been the leading online travel service provider in India. With the help of this service, people around India are able to easily book their flight tickets, hotel rooms and bus tickets at the best price. Yatra.com was first launched in January 2006 by co-founder Dhruv Shringi along with two other members. Ever since its inception, Dhruv Shringi has been successfully leading the company’s initiatives and operations and is among the top entrepreneurs in India. Read this blog to find out more about Dhruv Shringi and his eventual journey towards the creation of Yatra.com.
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Early Life of Dhruv Shringi
Dhruv Shringi was born on July 14, 1973. As a young child, he wanted to join the army. However, he was more passionate about travelling, which is how he eventually went on to create Yatra.com. When he was just 18, Dhruv Shringi ventured out into the business world by convincing his father, an officer for the Delhi government, to sell their small plot of land in order to fund a chemical manufacturing unit. Just three years later, the venture had failed. It had a huge drain on his family’s financial resources.
Early Career and Education
After his failed venture, Dhruv Shringi wanted to make another attempt at entrepreneurship, but he knew that he first needed a professional degree. In the year 1994, at the age of 21, Dhruv Shringi joined as a trainee at Arthur Anderson, an American consulting firm, for a salary of Rs.2000 per month. Around this time, he also started studying to become a Chartered Accountant. By 1998, his dedication and hard work had led him to land a position as Senior Consultant in the UK.
However, just two years later, Dhruv Shringi quit his high paying job in favour of pursuing an MBA degree from INSEAD, an international business school. Although his parents were livid with his decision, he knew that he needed a professional management degree to fulfil his dreams. He even took a loan of Rs.30 lakh to finish his degree. In February 2002, he then went on to work with Ford Motors, as a part of their business strategy team based in London.
Then, from 2003 to 2005, Dhruv Shringi worked as Director Group Operations and Technology for the Ebookers Group, Europe’s leading online travel agency, supervising its sales, technology and infrastructure team. He led a team of more than 600 people and was responsible for sales of $850 million, which was achieved through various channels including online, call centres and retail shops. This was his most recent role before he went on to start Yatra.com.
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The Start of Yatra
It had been more than 10 years since Dhruv Shringi’s first attempt at entrepreneurship failed. He had yet to realise his dreams of setting up his own online travel agency. He realised that Ebooker had no plans to diversify their business in India, hence he decided to launch a travel portal for online air, rail and bus tickets as well as car rentals and holiday bookings in India, targeted at the middle class which was untapped at that time.
“To be able to manage my time effectively, I choose what to focus on and what to delegate to my direct reports. This clarity allows me to focus my energies on important tasks, rather than being mired in day-to-day operations.”
He understood that there weren’t many Indian companies who were into online ticket bookings. Excited to pursue his newest venture, Dhruv Shringi discussed his potential idea with Manish Amin, the head of technology at Ebookers. Three other colleagues also joined his potential idea. However, after proposing his idea to almost 25 venture capitalists, he was unable to secure enough funds for his startup, Yatra.com. Since he and his colleagues were still employed, venture capitalists saw the risk of them backing out in case their venture failed. Hence, Dhruv Shringi decided to quit his job in June 2005 with enough savings to tide over a few months.
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Soon after, Dhruv Shringi was met with a couple of challenges. First, he had to relocate to India after eight years. Secondly, three of his four colleagues had backed out. Now, left with only a team of two, venture capitalists delayed giving them the needed funds. Since he was planning to shift to India to start Yatra.com, the lack of funds posed a huge problem for Dhruv Shringi. By December 2005, he had been without any salary for 6 months.
Fortunately, by early 2006, he got Norwest Venture Partners to put money in Yatra.com. Additionally, Reliance Capital and Television Eighteen (TV18) also came forward with funds. Now, Dhruv Shringi’s total funding for starting Yatra.com was Rs.20 crore. By this time, he had also roped in Sabina Chopra, another colleague from Ebookers, as co-founder. In 2006, Dhruv Shringi, Manish Amin and Sabina Chopra launched Yatra.com. With 25 employees, they hired a 300 sq ft space in Gurgaon. While Manish Amin focused on the technical front, Dhruv Shringi and Sabina Chopra concentrated on tie-ups with airlines and hotels.
“To retain the culture that we created when we were a 20-person startup, the key step we took as we scaled up was to be very rigorous with our hiring process. We hired only those people who truly believed in our values and shared our vision of creating a great travel company focused on delivering wonderful experiences to Indian travellers.”
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Success of Yatra
Since its successful launch in January 2006, Dhruv Shringi has led Yatra.com to grow from a 3 member organisation to a 1,400 people strong organisation, thus making Yatra.com the leading travel brand in the country. The main aim of Yatra was to provide a quality experience to its customers in the capacity of a travel planner. In 2011, Dhruv Shringi was listed by Fortune magazine amongst the top 40 CEOs in India and he also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India from April 2011 to June 2013.
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Dhruv Shringi along with the other co-founders of Yatra.com had won a number of awards and accolades for their startup which is given below :
- On January 19th 2012, Yatra.com was felicitated as the ‘Best Travel Website’ by the prestigious Internet and Mobile Association of India’s (IAMAI) ‘Annual India Digital Awards.
- Yatra.com was awarded PCI DSS Compliance Certification on August 17th 2012,
- On November 21st 2012, Yatra.com has successfully crowned the title of the “Best Online Travel Brand” for the year 2012, for the third time in a row.
- The company was felicitated as the ‘Best Online Travel Agency’ by the industry’s most prestigious ‘CNBC Awaaz Travel Awards 2011’ on August 17th 2012.
- On April 12th 2010, Yatra.com got nominated for the 17th Annual World Travel Awards under the category of ‘Asia’s leading travel agency’ for the year 2010. Yatra.com was the only online travel company to be nominated under this category for the fourth year in a row.
- Yatra also received the second position in the ‘Domestic Tour Operator’ category of the year 2008-2009 at the National Tourism Awards.
- Yatra.com was awarded the prestigious’ ‘CNBC Awaaz Travel Awards’ in the category of the ‘Most Preferred Travel Portal’ at ‘CNBC Awaaz Travel Awards 2010’.
- On December 8th 2008, the travel company was announced as the winner of ‘2008 Red Herring Top 100 Start-ups’ in Asia. This is a prestigious award that recognizes startups that will lead the next wave with innovative and potentially disruptive technologies.
Personal Life of Dhruv Shringi
Dhruv Shringi is married to Tania and has two kids. His wife has done a course in architecture in the UK. He prefers to spend his Sundays with family. Dhruv Shringi enjoys playing golf in his free time besides reading and solving puzzles. One of his favourite tourist destinations is Iceland, which is known for its mesmerising scenery.
This was all about Dhruv Shringi and his successful journey towards the creation of Yatra.com. To read more successful and inspiring stories like this, you can always check out Leverage Edu for our other success stories.