EDITIONS
Entrepreneur

Kavitha Reddy, Founder, BASECAMP Adventures Pvt Ltd

Team YS
7th Dec 2009
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“The Adventure Entrepreneur”

The risks that adventure sports entails do not differ greatly from entrepreneurship; this is perhaps why they make strange yet well matched bedfellows. Kavitha Reddy is an avid adventure traveler who saw the potential in an organized effort to market the lifestyle to her fellow Indians. Her venture is known as BASECAMP Adventures Pvt Ltd and she explained what it is and how it came about saying “BASECAMP is an integrated Outbound Training and Adventure Travel organization, an offspring of avid, well-trained and certified professionals from the Adventure and Human Resource field.”

“The undying zeal to live on the edge, passion to promote adventure as a learning tool and to inculcate the spirit of adventure among people from all walks of life had enabled us to develop programs to suits the needs everyone.”

Their objective is to become India’s 1st Outbound Training & Adventure Travel Organization to be listed with the BSE; ands their services cover the following activities-

  • Outbound Training - OMDP, Team Building, Leadership Development, Inductions/Offsite
  • Adventure Travel - Trekking, Mountaineering, Expeditions, Rafting, Skiing
  • Consulting - Corporate & Campus Challenges

Kavitha believes that our country has the perfect setting to become an adventure tourism Mecca. She says “India’s biggest opportunity is its demography. India is the only place in the world with Mountains, Rocks, Forests, Beaches, Desert and Rivers making it more exciting for an adventure seeker. India can offer adventure activities all 365 days a year given the geographic spread.”

“Indian tourism over the last few years with its ‘Incredible India’ campaign has seen a tremendous increase both in revenue and foreign exchange. The Adventure travel industry accounts to around 450 crores with a 20% increase in the last 2 years.”

“Foreign travelers mainly back-packers and mountaineering enthusiasts contribute largely to the revenue and foreign exchange, given the longer duration of their stay. Majority of Indian travelers are pilgrims and holiday’ers, but there has been a 25% increase in adventure travelers. With the country growing younger and a much strong Indian economy the adventure space will stand to gain over the next 3-5 years.”


Kavitha stated a few key facts that she believes gives India the edge when it come to adventure sports.

“Outbound Training”

-Size of the industry is pegged at INR 170 crores

-Growing at a rate of 35%

-Corporate India looking at OBT as a new training option

-Better employee engagement

“Adventure Travel”

-Industry currently valued at INR 450 crores, at a 20% growth rate

-It could emerge as one of the biggest foreign exchange earner in next 10 years

-Revenue generated by the sector is expected to reach $20 billion by 2010

-Annual Adventure travelers in India is around 1.50 lac

-India offers Land, Air and Water based Adventure travel destinations

-Opportunity of 250 days of Adventure Travel in India

She proceeded to explain how these key facts have been woven into their organization to make it a viable market leader saying “BASECAMP is unique in its approach, operations and methodologies, we at BASECAMP work with the spirit ‘Think Outdoor Think BASECAMP – The Outdoor People’.”


“Added to it the outreach, marketing plan and the innovative programs make us unique. With presence online, writing about not just adventure but related risks, educating people about adventure, classifying risks etc have enabled us to be a thought leader in the adventure space.”

“We intend to change the Outbound Training and Adventure Travel by making the customers/client more aware, being more informative and finally getting adventure in India more organized.”

BASECAMP is also going to be experiencing a phenomenal growth spurt if all goes according to plan. Kavitha shared their plans for the coming years saying “We intend to grow in the Outbound Training & Adventure Travel space without external investment for the next 1-2 years, and are working on few project that are capital intense and as when finalize the projects, we will look at external investment of appox. INR 60 million.”

“We are projecting sales revenue of INR 56 million over the next 2 years and scale to INR 125 million in 5 years. The Branches will be limited to 5-6 cities and we plan to create an online identity more prominently and focus on operational and delivery network. We have a projection on 50 employees and over 150 associates and will work with us on a seasonal basis.”

“For the next 2 years we will be focusing on:

-Being the single largest player in the Outbound Training space

-Covering all aspects of Adventure Travel – Land, Air & Water”

Kavitha is no novice when it comes to entrepreneurship and has seen her share of startups. She told us why she chose the thrills of entrepreneurship over a normal job saying “I spent over 14 years in the 9-5 job, even in my 9-5 job I spent 9 years with 2 start-up’s that were literally pioneers in the space they got in, so doing something new always excited me. The thrill of living on the edge the passion for adventure and the opportunity in the Adventure travel space made me an entrepreneur.”


Kavitha has not entered into the most ideal of scenarios with recession looming large but see it all as an opportunity to learn. She says “Start-up is full of challenges; the biggest so far has been getting the team that shares the dream. Recession has definitely hit the travel industry at large and getting the early big start has not happened, but the brighter side is due to recession we are able to approach marketing and market segments very differently which would not have happened if the going was easy.

“Mistakes are part of a start-upJ, more so when you are travelling an un-trodden path. Since I had been part of 2 start-up’s we did have few opportunities to skip the learning curve, but I believe that as an entrepreneur one needs to kiss few frogs to fine tune the business model.”

After all her experiences at the helm Kavitha believes that the Indian entrepreneur has a few things to watch out for. She points out her observations saying “The top 5 challenges for a 1st time Indian entrepreneur are:

Early stage funding, fewer options if one is not getting an investor

  • Longer, expensive and complicate statutory process
  • Getting the 1st team in place - Finding people who like to be part of a start-up
  • Fine tuning the business model with an open mind
  • Getting the 1st customer”

With that said Kavitha believes that the benefits of entrepreneurship are unrivalled and spoke of what motivates her personally saying “The thrill of being on your own, able to provide employment, creating a company makes me happy and keeps me driving. It is a rollercoaster ride and if you like it you will want it more. Some time I feel that excitement will die down as the organization establishes well, and I fear that I can be bored then.”

Kavitha handed out a few pointers that entrepreneurs should pay heed to and says “Dare to Dream, because dreams can come true only if you have dreams, Build a team at the early stage, Keep an open mind, be prepared to change course when required, Ask for help/suggestions/feedback, Build a personal profile along with the company profile, Don’t give up.”

Kavitha is an adventurer who has seen the possibilities in entrepreneurship and brought it all to life. We hope and pray that the thrills and the satisfaction she gets from her work never dull and always keep her as ardent.

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