She beat cancer and now she will win your heart; Kanika Tekriwal’s JetSetGo story
True strength is keeping everything together when everyone expects you to fall apart.
The first doctor I met told me: ‘Kanika, you have very little time. I was 22 at that time and I said, ‘really doc, I am going to come and see you here after 40 years not for treatment but to prove that I am alive and kicking.’ I then said goodbye to this doctor and found one who believed in hope, in his practice and most importantly me.
This didn’t happen easily of course. I travelled across the country meeting recommended doctors. The first major lesson I learned here was choose your people right, keep looking till you find them and believe in them completely and vice versa. Together, my doctor and I fought the disease as a team. To my benefit, that one year of chemotherapy and radiation taught me a lot and gave me the time I needed to think things over and come up with a plan.
“Cancer made me a strong person ready to face any challenge, and most importantly to never give in. So when we began work on JetSetGo and things didn’t go my way – I didn’t get upset, but just focused on what we could do next.
“Today, when I am unable to sell a plane after investing 6 months of time and considerable resources in a customer — just because the economy is not doing well and he’s had a change of mind – I don’t give in. I don’t get demotivated; I look for more customers. I look for solutions to make these planes cheaper for my customers, and I go to sleep thinking very soon I am going to be on the list of 100 most powerful women in the world,” says Kanika Tekriwal, Founder of JetSetGo.
Meet Kanika Tekriwal, an entrepreneur who is a relentless pursuer of hope, positivity and drive. Her energy is infectious. A marathon runner, a painter, a traveler and more, she is redefining her life every day.
Read her story not just to be inspired but to revisit your own strength and renew your hope.
Jet, set and go
I’ve been working in the aviation industry for the past 8 years since I was 17 years old. I started working when private jets in the country were far and few! Besides India, I have also worked abroad and seen the industry grow (and shrink, of course, over the past year or so) and learnt a thing or two about the industry. JetSetGo is the result of this varied experience.
Over the past few years I noticed the frustration of customers while dealing with charter brokers and operators.
Anyone wanting to use a private jet would ideally contact a broker or an aircraft operator either based on personal recommendations or on the results Google showed them. These brokers recommend jets or helicopters which give them maximum commission irrespective of the client’s requirements. Due to sheer lack of transparency and non-availability of charter planes, customers pay astronomical amounts. Similarly, if the customer contacts an operator, he would be pitched an aircraft solely operated by that operator.
Customers felt that there was a need for a professional and comprehensive charter service providing a variety of aircrafts with a transparent pricing system. Given that the private aviation industry in India is still nascent, users are generally recommended aircrafts that suit brokers more than the users themselves.
JetSetGo endeavors to change this and make private jet charter very economical and simple.
Charter flights online
We launched JetSetGo in mid-March. After 18-20 months of back and forth and many a blip, India’s first online marketplace for private jet and helicopter charter was launched. I had the idea brewing in my head for close to 3 years or so but when I took out my sketch board and started working on it I was diagnosed with cancer which set me back by a year. Luckily for me, nobody else in the country had gotten around to something similar until I finished treatment or for that matter until now!
JetSetGo is an interactive technology driven platform enabling users to search and charter aircrafts and helicopters across India. At JetSetGo, we’ve got on board almost 80% of India’s private jet fleet.
The flight search lets users enter minimum flight details, that is, location, date of departure, arrival and number of passengers. The application then carries out a live search for suitable aircraft based on user criteria and a list of aircrafts is displayed. The user can then make a selection of different aircrafts and request for quotations. JetSetGo also suggests aircrafts if its experts find a better match to suit the customer’s requirements.
These quotations for aircrafts are serviced to the user at net prices (with no commission, brokerage etc). JetSetGo connects the user with the operator to further close the deal. All financial transactions happen directly between the user and the aircraft operator. JetSetGo does not charge either the user or the operator any fees or commissions for its services.
For the first time in India, JetSetGo offers discounted rates on charter flights. In an endeavour to make private jets and helicopters more accessible to a larger audience, JetSetGo offers operators a direct platform to sell all empty legs on their aircraft. In an industry where almost 28% of the private jet/helicopter flights happen to be ferry – we decided to turn them into revenue. These empty legs are updated real time every time an operator generates a schedule. These empty legs are from operators across the world and not only domestic. The users in turn are able to access empty legs real time enabling a quick buying process. All of this, of course, results in what we call “free” revenue for the operator and a private jet experience at a fraction of the original cost for the customer. We choose to call these discounted flights – simply because everyone loves a good deal!
Currently, we sell “discounted flights” – these are primarily private jets and helicopters that are flying empty on certain destinations to either pick up a customer or return to base. These flights are already paid for by someone else hence the operators offer them to us at much lower prices than original (30% – 65% of actual cost) and we put a mark up on them basis route, sector, popularity of sector and a few other analytics. This mark up in turn is pure revenue.
Multiple other revenue opportunities exist and we are experimenting to see the scale – which we can achieve with those.
To put it in a nutshell, JetSetGo’s offers include:
• A large network of accredited private aircraft/helicopters at net prices.
• Compare & find the best private aircraft/helicopter and price for your flight.
• Discounted flights – private jets and helicopters at a fraction of original costs.
• Instant private jet/helicopter charter estimate prices online, for any flight.
• Service from private jet charter experts available 24/7 at firstname.lastname@example.org .
• A unique window to sell, buy and lease aircraft.
• A bulk charters option to service aircraft requirements of 28 seats and more.
JetSetGo is available on the iOS app store free of cost as well as on the Android market place. Users can also download the iOS application on their ipads. We are live on www.jetsetgo.in
We launched on March 16th, 2014, and service close to 12-18 queries a day on an average. We’ve been keeping track of our progress and roughly 85% of the queries that we’ve serviced have actually resulted in sale. We’ve also been attracting substantial interest towards empty legs. So over all, I would say I am very happy with the way things are going.
We’ve had a few international players in the industry show interest in us, so we hope to go international once we have the domestic market sorted. We are working (not very actively) at the moment on entering Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Middle East hopefully by the end of 2015. We have already worked on the sale and purchase of aircrafts in the US.
Passion & drive
I’ve always been an ambitious person. I’ve set a few goals and I try to work towards achieving them every single day. I love a challenge and I love adventure and I love stepping out of my comfort zone. I guess everything that life’s thrown my way (both personally and professionally) has involved all of these — keeping me going and never really giving me a chance to sit and worry about ‘what if?’ I believe in living life and going on the unexplored path, trying new things etc. I guess that adds to the fun and makes every day a new day.
I really can’t imagine myself doing a mundane routine job/business; I tend to get bored very fast. I believe very strongly in the power of the mind. If you think you can do something, achieve something or reach a certain goal, then you really can. So it just makes it easier for me to take risks I guess, because I tend to think that I am going to come out shining irrespective.
I ran the Delhi half marathon last year and realized I can do everything I want to do. I love painting and travelling. I traveled across South America through December and January, made some amazing friends and learned so much about the world. I trekked up the Himalayas from Pahlgam and Gulmarg last week and loved every bit of it; I could go on forever.
As someone said, ‘A story lives forever when told’, we admire Kanika for showing us the power of inner courage by sharing her story.
Do leave your message for Kanika below and tell us your story too.