MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra

MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra

Battered by the coronavirus pandemic that crashed its revenues to zero, India’s largest online travel booking company MakeMyTrip was forced to let go of 350 people, which is nearly 10 percent of its staff, in June.

Initially, around March-end when the country entered into the first phase of the lockdown, the company had hoped it would not have to fire any of its employees, having affected pay cuts across the board.

“But then, two months into the pandemic we realised this is going to take longer and we had to take a very tough decision. I think it's fair to say the toughest decision we have ever taken, which was a large scale retrenchment — almost 10 percent of our staff, which was 350 people — we had to ask to go,” MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra said during a recent chat with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma. The company has around 3,200 employees on its rolls.

The layoffs were from businesses which the company thought would not come back in a long time or at least would not be done the same way. These were primarily the retail businesses, which the Nasdaq-listed Gurugram company is in the process of converting into franchises and hopes people will still have gainful employment in these functions when the stores come back in their new avatars.

“But I don’t think we want those (jobs) on our rolls, we were anyway talking about restructuring this (retail business). But it was a tough time. I know for Rajesh (Magow, MakeMyTrip Co-founder and CEO) and myself, we had many sleepless nights. As did our HR, as did every leader, actually. It’s very hard." 

“I think for us, the way we are wired — we are Indian, we don’t have that hire-fire mentality — at least, we certainly don’t. Asking one person to go for (a) reason (that’s) not his or her fault is hard and when you do it mass-scale, it’s very hard,” Deep said.

In March, the World Travel and Tourism Council had warned that 50 million jobs in the travel and tourism industry could be lost worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. It projected Asia as being the worst affected with the possibility of 30 million job losses in the continent.


Deep Kalra started MakeMyTrip at the age of 30 in 2000

The 50-year-old founder of one of India’s early internet successes who went on to become a poster boy for the Indian startup ecosystem and the online travel industry, said, the company wanted to ensure the separation process, albeit painful, was made as easy as possible.

“It’s the right thing to do. So we did extend the benefits and perks, whether it was medical insurance till a whole year, we did let them keep the laptops [sic]. For people who had done long service, we did even more, like linked to how long they had served us." 

“And then, even on a personal front, both Rajesh and I wanted to help anyone who had done a long time with us, more than 10 years, which we did. But it’s the worst thing to do and hopefully we never ever have to do that again,” he said.

At the peak of the pandemic, as travelling came to a standstill, MakeMyTrip’s revenues plummeted from $500 million a month revenue run rate to zero. “We did $6 billion gross booking (in) the last year, the last fiscal that we reported and we were suddenly down to zero,” Deep said.

He reflected on the irony that 20 years after the travel company was launched on April 1, 2000, it found itself in a position where on its anniversary there was virtually no travel happening, with everyone locked down inside their homes.

“We had our earnings call for the worst hit quarter, which is April, May and June, which is the first quarter of our fiscal and it’s open knowledge, since we are a public company, we were 95-96 percent down on revenues. So I was half jokingly saying, this should be called a lack of earnings call not an earnings call,” Deep said.

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After assessing the initial damage to the business, the MakeMyTrip management got down to figuring out the things they could control to salvage the situation. “We are in travel, not really diversified. So it’s been great for us for so long. We can sit and mope or fret and get into a panic, but neither of those are going to solve our problems,” Deep said.

The management figured the “only thing” it could do was act on two fronts — cutting costs and keeping employees’ motivation levels up, which became even more critical in the backdrop of the job cuts.

Deep elaborated: “How could we be completely maniacal about cutting down on cost wherever possible? So variable costs were (a) little easier, most of them were related to marketing and sales promotion. Semi-fixed cost, which was outsourced partners for post-sales service, call centres was a little harder, but again we gave notices, we negotiated, and we cut back. And the toughest of all, of course, was when it came down to people-cost.” 

According to the company, it tried to do everything possible to avoid the layoffs, especially through the deep pay cuts at the top, but eventually had to take the tough call of letting people go after an extended phase of little or no business.


“So, we took cuts, personal cuts in salaries at all levels, literally starting with managerial level at 10 percent, going all the way up to the top where Rajesh and I are still basically going 100 percent cut [sic] because it was not only symbolic but it was the right thing to do. "

“Our entire leadership team, I think it was creditable (that) they took a 50 percent cut and they continue to do so. And even though travel is coming back and now we have started restoring, it’s been (a) good four-five months of being like that,” Deep said.

Also ReadStarting Apollo Hospitals at the age of 50, Dr Prathap Reddy was called a ‘fool’

MakeMyTrip started restoring salaries of employees till the senior manager level by July end, once the business started to come back. “Some of our lines of business have definitely started like domestic flights, I think we are back now at 15-20 percent capacity, which is a start,” Deep said. For hotel bookings, demand is at 10-12 percent of the capacity, as is the demand for bus and other inter-city travel modes, he added.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 7, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump signed an executive action on Saturday to enact a $400 weekly boost to state unemployment benefits, a cut from the $600 level it once was during the coronavirus pandemic.
But a closer look at the text of the order reveals the administration is actually setting up a “lost wages” program.
“This is outside the UI system entirely,” said Michele Evermore, a national unemployment expert, adding it could take months for overwhelmed states to design.
Governors are being ordered to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to set up the benefit system, and distribute benefits alongside existing state systems.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump signed an array of executive actions on Saturday to bypass Congress and implement economic relief measures on his own.

Among them was a $400 weekly supplement to federal unemployment insurance through December 6. Trump claimed the relief would reach Americans in a “very rapid” manner, but neglected to say how.See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: How billionaires got $637 billion richer during the coronavirus pandemic

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How $600 unemployment benefits to jobless people helped rescue the American economyHere’s how the abrupt end of the $600 federal unemployment benefit will wreak havoc on jobless AmericansTrump indicates support for renewing boosted unemployment insurance payments, says he wants to ‘get funds to people so they can live’

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Money is a fundamental necessity; we need money for food, for clothing, for education, for healthcare and for sustaining our lifestyles. To make money, we need to put in the dedication and the hard work into our jobs.

We are all so actively engrossed in the process of making more money that we often put other important things like our passions, hobbies, families and friends, in the backseat. Aren’t all those things the very reason we were earning money for, in the first place? What if people could have a secondary, or passive source of income that didn’t require active involvement?

For most people, the concept of passive income has an element of mystery and intrigue to it. For others, it's the way of life. In simple words, passive income is the money earned on an investment — or work completed in the past — that requires little work or no active involvement to generate ongoing revenue.

Active income, on the other hand, is the hard-earned money that one earns in exchange for performing a service. This includes wages, tips, salaries, commissions, and income from freelance projects. 

There are many ways to earn a passive income. Display advertising, ebooks, e-courses, YouTube channels, etc. But they require skill, and not everyone is skilled for the same. One surest way of earning a passive income is from wealth, which can be taught using skills and systems. 

Having a source of passive income can completely turn things around for people. Think about it — if you could put in some upfront work into a project that would generate income for years to come, would you pass up on that opportunity? If you are inclined to put in the early efforts, passive income could prove to be significantly beneficial.

It could help sustain your lifestyle, and it could give you that extra money you need to buy something you have always wanted. Most importantly, it could give you a financial cushion to fall back on in times of need, such as the present economic downfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may consider investing your existing wealth in various assets like equity, debt, real estate, gold, and insurance in a way so that you make sure that there is a cash inflow of certain amounts at regular intervals in the form of passive income.

Investing your existing wealth into various assets according to your needs and risk-taking ability and making money out of it is easier than trying to learn a new skill altogether. 

However, generating a passive income from existing wealth cannot be achieved through a shortcut. It still requires involvement and hard work in the initial stages, but if you are willing to make the effort, you could end up making money while you sleep. And that’s the goal of passive income.

passive incomeWays to earn passivelyInterest earned from investments/lending

Earning interest on investments is one of the most common yet effective forms of earning passively. Most people open Fixed Deposits and start contributing to a retirement fund early on in their careers. The interest earned on investments can add up to a significant amount in the long run.

Contribution in PPF, EPF, NPS, etc. all are classified as long term investing with a goal of regular savings and future income from interest earned. Even lending money just like banks to other institutions in forms of debentures fetches higher rates of return versus the banks. 

Also Read14 passive income ideas for earning money as you sleepRental income

While most people invest in property for the outcome of appreciation of property, it is an outcome they can't control. They often forget that making money from rental income is a great way to create monthly passive income.

Although investing in property presents its own challenges, like finding a tenant who can pay the required rent and maintaining the property, it can still be a strong source of passive income and worth the initial effort. One could pull in some significant money in the form of rent money. Investing in stock markets

Dividend stocks are one of the easiest ways for people to create a passive income stream. As public companies generate profits, investors earn a portion of those profits in the form of dividends. Investors can then decide whether to keep the cash or reinvest the money in additional shares.

This style of investments gives investors long term growth along with annual dividends from the companies they have already invested in. Many people nearing retirement like to buy PSU companies that are known for paying high dividends but are weaker in comparative growth. 

Also ReadThe science of stock trading during volatile times

Precious metals

Over the last five years, investing in gold has also generated passive income for a lot of people. Investing in gold bonds is a new style of investing, which can fetch from 2.5-2.75 percent yearly interest income, which is at par with the bank interest on many national banks on date.

This is a unique way to not only enjoy the benefits of investing in gold digitally but also getting interest to do so.


Many people consider using the traditional style of investing in insurances as a part of their tax deduction and buy insurance plans that start paying yearly income back to them after a certain time. The most interesting thing about this is that the investment is tax-free, and so is the income received from it. Hence, this arrangement is very lucrative for the individual, especially in the high tax bracket.

Passive versus active incomeUnlike passive income which takes years to build, an active income ensures that you have a consistent income stream and allows you to make money in a short and defined period of time i.e. your salary. Often, an active source of income is necessary in order to lay the foundation for a passive source of income.

For instance, to earn passively from investments, you need to first make enough money to invest. However, a lot of people still look at active income as the only option and are oblivious to the notion of earning passively. In this day and age, people should be looking at both revenue streams in combination.

There comes a point in life when one starts feeling the financial pressure of balancing savings and expenditure. If implemented correctly, passive income can certainly provide that extra stability that one may be looking to achieve.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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The Logistics industry has emerged as one of the heroes of the pandemic. With people increasingly dependent on ecommerce to meet both essential and daily needs, the sector has witnessed a huge surge in demand. Although this has put the spotlight on the key role Logistics plays in our economy, there is unprecedented pressure to scale up and increase efficiency while optimising costs.

The past year has also seen the sector benefit from tailwinds such as being granted infrastructure status in 2017, which opened up several institutional funding opportunities; and increased interest from investors. There has also been increased support from the government with a Logistics division created under the Department of Commerce to formulate policy changes, update procedures, identify bottlenecks; and scale the deployment of technology-driven solutions.

To understand the pulse of the sector and what some of the major players in the Logistics sector are saying, YourStory and Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted a roundtable discussion with 14 Founders, CTOs, CEOs and business leaders to understand Disruption in Indian Logistics & Transport-tech Ecosystem. The session was moderated by Guru Bala, Head of Technology and Solutions, AWS Specialized Services.

Changing dynamics

The session began with a fireside chat with Thejasvi Bhat, Head of Engineering, BlackBuck, and Pankaj Risbood, CTO, Zendrive, who spoke about how the dynamic in the sector had shifted with the onset of the pandemic. Both agreed that their number one focus was on safety.

“Safety has become this top thing that is driving business value. At Zendrive, we focus on solutions around transportation safety, understanding how drivers are driving, behaviours that may increase the risk of collisions, and risk mitigation such as roadside assistance and emergency assistance and even insurance follow-ups in the event of a collision,” said Rishab.

He added that there is an increasing need for road safety solutions, and that several online cyber safety players were also getting into the fray.

Speaking about how the pandemic had affected the industry, the majority of which is still unorganized, Thejasvi said, “The pandemic has created some amount of disruption. Prior to its outbreak, things worked like a well-oiled machine because you knew where the trucks were going, and hence, you could predict demand and supply. With a dip in demand, truckers started exploring their own routes. We gave fleet owners a suite of services from tracking services to fuel capability, insurance and so on and so forth. We are also connecting customers who want to move tonnage with the right supply partners.”

Another area that was likely to see disruption was insurance. With most people driving only a fraction of what they used to, many are questioning why they need to continue paying the same premium.

“Insurance has always been a 3 to 5 percent margin business. And now, insurance firms have to reduce costs further because there is downward pricing pressure. Then, it makes it very difficult and we are seeing increasing demands for usage-based or behaviour-based insurance as opposed to a blanket annual insurance,” said Pankaj.

Safety for all

After the fireside chat concluded, the rest of the panel also weighed in on what their focus areas would be. It was no surprise that once again it was in providing protection against contracting the virus. Anoop Menon, CTO, redBus said, “We are transporting hundreds and thousands of passengers every day. A sense of safety has to be brought into the business. Our safetyPlus programme has evolved into a completely different animal. We have hired external auditors to check that we maintain the highest level of standards, and 60-70 percent of our operators have already signed up for the programme.”

Akash Maheshwari, Co-founder and CTO, MoveInSync believes that a huge fear psychosis exists and people will not travel unless they are compelled to. “We built a site called to identify affected zones in the city, but that has gone for a toss as there are so many containment zones in Bangalore. So, I think it’s important to strategize every week. We should not expect any transport of people for the next few months. Most of our customers feel that not even 10 percent of their employees will return till there is a vaccine.”

The ecommerce wave

While the transport of people has fallen, the number of people ordering goods online has skyrocketed. Dinesh Dixit, VP, LogiNext said that they have seen a lot of traction in deliveries. Dinesh, who is based in the US, said that there was a 60 percent increase in furniture delivery as people have been trying to improve their homes under the lockdown. “Delivery companies are already dealing with razor-thin margins, whether it's quick-service restaurants or even third-party logistics carriers. They have now been categorised as critical service providers, so they are among the few who could actually run their businesses. A lot of it is around messaging, and with concerns around safety, many are reaching out to us to provide tracking information so the customer gets visibility in real-time,” said Dinesh.

Naveen Dachuri, Co-founder and CTO of Yulu agreed that more people would be choosing to stay home. “Indoors is the new outdoors. There will be more demand for food services or delivery services because people simply don't want to go out. The second thing is we have to somehow make our users feel that whatever the services they are using are safe,” said Naveen.

Another interesting trend that could emerge is brands reaching out to customers to establish themselves as safe. Santosh Desai, CTO, Blowhorn said, “A lot of brands that were in the B2B sector are now connecting directly to the customer rather than go through another omnichannel partner. It could be as simple as connecting with them over WhatsApp.”

On-time delivery

In addition to allaying customer concerns over safety, logistics providers have also been working to streamline their processes to ensure on-time deliveries. Kashyap Deorah, Founder and CEO, HyperTrack said, “Hyperlocal package delivery has been doing well. Maps are more accurate, and today, there is less traffic on the road. As long as you can make sure that the address is accurate on both sides, ETAs should be accurate. The biggest pain point in delivery from an ETA perspective is the first 100 metres and the last 100 metres, when you factor in waiting times, parking, etc. So modelling that has always been the bane of the industry.”

Delivering custom solutions for businesses will be way forward. Gaurav Bubna, Co-founder,, said, “The main challenge is that problems can also be very unique to both transportation modes and geographies. The way addresses are given also vary vastly from one country to another. In India, detailed addresses are provided; in some parts of the Middle East, we get instructions to meet the recipient at the tree near the bus stop. In such situations, Google Maps is just not enough. So, we are hoping to build something that offers much higher performance at a better price point that will be tailored and customized to each business.”

Accurate timing is especially important when it involves transport for people going to work. Sriram Kannan, Founder & CTO, Routematic, said, “People plan their schedules around these timings. My favourite thing to say is: you wake up because you have to go to the office, you don’t wake up and decide to go to the office. This takes a fair amount of time series analysis and we routinely process around 300 million samples a day to get a predictive model that is 95 percent accurate to within 10 minutes.”

Delays can also occur when a relationship of trust has to be built. Gautham Muthuravichandran, CTO, LYNK logistics said, “We have started doing something called distribution as a service during the COVID period. We have made partnerships with FMCG companies, and we have rented out some warehouses to deliver to retail stores. Because we've been in this space for only three months, we have seen that whenever we go and deliver a package to a particular retail store, they open the box and check everything. We have tried various things like transparent packages, but they don't believe in the concept of returning things and are not very sure we are coming back. This process of waiting at the store can take more than 20 minutes.”

Data sharing and efficiency

Jaggi Ayyangar, CEO, Yakit believes that cross-border and B2C commerce will definitely benefit. “Our main problem is supply, not demand, as the latter is huge. Currently, our delivery date algorithms have been thrown a curveball because there is not enough data and things are fluctuating widely. Geolocation is very important and we will be happy to use any APIs that AWS has to help us with that.”

In terms of sharing data, some of the participants expressed the view that common information such as routing and ETAs could be part of a common store that they could all tap into.

Prashant Gupta Co-founder Clickpost said that they were already using data from third-party logistics providers rather than using more popular APIs. “This includes tracking shipments, ETAs to show end customers and with hub-to-hub movement. This has worked really well for us and we have had over 90 percent accuracy with this.”

However, a key factor that needs to be taken into consideration before creating a data lake where everyone can contribute is the need to standardise the data that is being generated. “With data flowing in from different IoT devices, it has to be streamlined and put in a format that can be consumed by everyone. So I think the focus should be more on first standardizing the platform itself from where the data is coming in,” said Naveen.

According to the "Indian Logistics Industry Outlook, 2020”, India’s Logistics sector is set to see growth driven by development in the transport sector, demand for eCommerce; changing consumer patterns; a shift in service sourcing; government reforms, and most importantly the adoption of digital technologies. Current players and future entrants will have to hit the road running, innovate and adapt to these evolving stay relevant in the future.

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The global Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us in ways that we could not have imagined. With countries going under lockdown,  businesses and entrepreneurs have been among the worst hit. It was inevitable that the global markets would also follow suit. The Sensex, which peaked at 42,273.87 points in February 2020, crashed over 38 percent by March 23 to 25,638.90 points, making it one of the fastest crashes in stock market history, even worse than the 2008 market crash. While existing investors will feel the pinch, this could be a great opportunity for first-time investors. The pandemic has also resulted in a significant increase in mobile trading., which recently became the first Indian fintech firm to go public, has been supporting its investors by focusing on customer-centricity; innovation; expansion to Tier 2 and 3 cities; and using technology to serve customers looking for a  broker-free and secure platform. The platform currently boasts a daily turnover of over Rs 30,000 crore,  over 450,000 clients, over 3.5 million downloads, over Rs 1,000 core in  Assets under Management and more than Rs 500 crore in Market Capitalisation.

As part of YourStory’s new series, ‘Money Matters with Shradha Sharma’, we talk to experts, entrepreneurs, and investors for insights on investment opportunities, savings, spendings, and more. In this episode, YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma was joined by Founder and CEO, Prakarsh Gagdani, who spoke about the changing face of broking, the new-age investor, and tapping into unchartered markets. Here are some of the highlights from that session.

Investment grew despite the dip in the market

Prakarsh says that they noticed some very surprising trends following the pandemic.  Despite the market not being favourable for nearly a year-and-a-half, retail investors were still coming to market and showing interest in Systematic Investment Plans (SIP) and mutual funds were booming. After going public, 5paisa was optimistic about retail investors coming. “But suddenly the COVID-19 outbreak happened and we thought interest would fade.  But we saw a completely reverse trend. The markets were going down, but people started approaching stocks at twice the speed.” He adds that  March, April, May, and June have been among the best in terms of people coming to capital markets and the highest number of Demat accounts were opened in the months of March and April. 

With people spending less during the lockdown, and the future being uncertain, Prakarsh says that there has been a huge shift in the mindset of the investor. “That's why they're coming more towards investment. It's a very healthy trend, and a very good trend, which I feel that it will continue for a long time,” he says.

Catering to first-time investors

“A lot of our investors are first-timers. So they come with basic queries about how to transfer funds and what documents to give,” says Prakarsh. To address these queries, has created an instructional video in Hindi that they share with their introductory email. “Video consumption is high. So, we focused our entire energies on building our video inventory, training, and imparting process knowledge to people. Our YouTube channel has more than 1.1 lakh subscribers, one of the highest in the industry. We have five to six million views a month on these videos. We decided to make these videos in Hindi from the start so that subscribers from the Hindi belt should not face any barriers,” he says.

When it comes to giving investment advice, Parkarsh says, “Let me state my disclaimer that I am no expert in advising, so please ask a financial advisor.” He says a few sectors like anything agri-related are logical choices because, “People don't stop eating. In fact, they may be eating more since they are stuck at home.”  Fertiliser, which is an allied sector, private mobility, oil and natural gas and pharma are all sectors that Parkarsh believes are likely to see traction. 

Exploring new avenues recently entered the peer-to-peer lending space. “This is at a very nascent stage in India. However, lending itself is age-old in India. There are businesses that require short-term loans. There are people who need three-month, six-month, one-year loans. On the other hand, there are people who want to give money. I mean, if you talk to any business guy, he must have lent money to someone as a short-term loan at some point. The entire peer-to-peer lending platform makes it organised and under the purview of the regulators, which is very stringent in India,” says Parkarsh. He acknowledges that this is a difficult time, and people are currently loan-averse. “But I think in some time it might change because the moment we go back to our normal lives, the requirement of money will come. I'm pretty optimistic about this business, and we're promoting it internally with our customers and externally as well,” he says.’s objective has always been on financial products that can be digitally served end-to-end and doesn't require any human intervention or paperwork. “We started with equities, then we had mutual funds, personal loans, and now peer to peer lending. We sell gold and health insurance. Our energies are focussed on equities, which is seeing a great momentum,” says Parkarsh.

The future of Fintech

Parkarsh believes that most of the disruption in Fintech is happening in the payment space along with digital lending, banking and broking. “But because it is highly regulated, they needed to become an intermediary to come into Fintech. One interesting trend is neo-banking. There are players who are not full-service banks and or registered banks, but offering services. I think that's an interesting space. Secondly, how do you get international investment in India? It's tedious and it's highly regulated. But I think that's an interesting space,” he say

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

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