This UnPluggd, Co-founder & CEO of IXIGO- Aloke Bajpai shared the ixigo story and gave some valuable insights on how to build a cockroach startup.
Ixigo Story: Early days
Four guys left their high paying jobs in Europe and returned to India in 2006 to follow their dreams. They rented an apartment in Gurgaon and set up their office.For a year, they worked with no salaries. Through their perseverance, Ixigo was born.
Ixigo officially launched in 2007. They reached out to many investors but were turned down despite showing a growth of 100,000 users without spending a single dollar in the first 6 months of the company’s inception. To make matters worse, one of the co-founders quit in 2007, but Aloke still believed in his idea and refused to give up.
“Entrepreneurial spirit is about the undying belief in your idea. You believe in something, then you go ahead and do it”
In Early 2008, they received seed fund from a Singapore based fund. This came at a time when they were in the death zone and had little money left in the bank. The debate was whether to buy that Singapore ticket or pay the bills.
Later in 2008, series A deal fell through a week before the money was about to hit the bank. Existing employees volunteered to work with a pay cut and as a team they managed to survive the tough times.
Ixigo continued to show month on month growth, which led their existing investors to put in another bridge round to support them.
Today Ixigo is one of India’s leading online and mobile travel search and planning website. They have managed to achieve 10 million app downloads out of which 92% are Non-Paid with no ATL Marketing.
Some valuable quotes from Aloke’s Talk:
“Money buys you time, but not the ability to execute!”
“Focus on the core values to users. The core value is about experience, service and ease of use”
“Money can buy you techies, but not innovation.”
“If you don’t disrupt yourself, then somebody else will”
“Money can buy traction, but not real customer love.”
“Discount or Cashback is a way to get new user, but not a way to retain them.”
“Money can buy you growth, but not product market fit.”
“Hire great people, set lofty targets and get out of the way.”
“Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity & cash is reality”
“Build a great culture. It lasts the test of time”
“The number one growth hack is to build a killer product”
“Word of mouth is still the number one marketing channel!”
Aloke ended the talk by addressing the fact that the time has never been better for entrepreneurs and the best of the companies such as Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb were built in a downturn.
So go ahead and build that killer product!