Sangita is an avid traveler and IT professional by career. She has worked for 14 years Across Domain Consulting, Strategy and Client Management for Fortune 500 companies during her tenure in Cognizant, Wipro and ITC. Her job allowed her to visit offbeat destinations across continents and experience local culture, food and people at a slow pace. With her natural inclination towards ‘active travel’, she conceived the idea of 50+ Voyagers, to promote ‘Travel for healthy ageing’. The 50+ Voyagers Travel and Adventure Club organizes small group tour and adventure holidays exclusively for middle aged and senior citizens.
As founder of a startup, in the first few months she was doing everything herself- be it developing the website, product conceptualization or learning skills of social media marketing. Soon, she managed to find a cofounder from her friend circle, which helped her to meet the growth target of the first year. As CEO, she focuses mainly on Business and Product Development. Within a short span of time, the startup has grown its client base in multiple cities across India.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
50+ Voyagers is India’s first active travel and adventure company exclusively for people aged 50 and above. We promote travel for healthy ageing, repelling depression and loneliness, which in turn reduces the risk of chronic diseases in old age.
All our trips include unique activities to enable active and social participation of travelers, rather than passive observation from the window of a coach bus. We design our own trips to offer a relaxed yet enthralling experience which includes close encounters with nature, heritage, and communities, without compromising on comfort and safety. 50+ Voyagers promote ‘alternative tourism’ to Senior Citizens e.g. Cultural Tour like Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, Adventure Holiday like Rafting in Rishikesh, Eco Tours to Wayanad, Chikamagalur, Tribal Tours in Orissa to name a few.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Having grown up in an Air Force family and having moved many times, I was bitten by Travel bug since my childhood. My parents also had an inclination towards active travel and experiencing the local flavors. Later when I moved to the USA for my corporate responsibilities, while I was planning a tour for my parents in India, which would consist of some trekking coupled with a heritage tour, I discovered that the Indian Tourism Industry lacked focus on the 50+ segment. All there was on offer were Pilgrimage tours or Leisure cookie cutter holidays in a group of 30+ people to domestic and international destinations. There were none offering a holiday experience with activities and adventures suitable for 50+ aged and Sr. Citizens. However, with increasing life expectancy and a healthy lifestyle maintained by the elders of this generation, there is a demand for ‘alternative tourism’ or more adventurous ways to see the world. To cater to this new breed of ‘Young at Heart’ adventure travelers, we have set up 50+ Voyagers Travel and Adventure Club ( 50plusvoyagers.com), focusing on active holidays to promote healthy ageing.
What is your life mantra?
Know your goals, stay focused, motivated and persevere to achieve them.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The biggest challenge was to find people who are as passionate as us towards the venture.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We always look to find a person whose value system matches that of the organization and is dedicated to organizations cause. We offer internships to the student, which gives them a platform to work on various assignments and highlight their capabilities and gives us an opportunity to evaluate the candidate for a full-time prospect.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We bootstrapped with a fund of $30,000 contributed by my own savings and by family members.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Today’s young generation is motivated to work in a start-up, mainly because of diverse learning opportunities it offers. While the monetary part is important, but getting responsibilities for which they would have to wait for 3-4 years in bigger companies, keeps them motivated. We hire candidates who are potentially aligned to the company values and have a strong cultural fit with the company. We also encourage them to engage in various creative activities beyond the operational work, such as blog writing, planning workshop/events for our clients.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Capability to Work Smart
- Adaptability to change
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I use Google tools such as calendar, dropbox, drive along with Asana to create a co-working space. For personal task management, I use Wanderlust and Google Now.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
During my tenure in Wipro, I once got an opportunity to interact with Azim Premji for the whole day, as part of Wipro Leadership Program. He told us “a successful leader keeps his/her tongue in control. Be it for food or from talking nonsense”. I have inculcated this into the habit and it does save many inefficiencies.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I have a habit of working late at night as I think I am most productive during that time.
Answer in less than 50 words
A lot of “if-else” analysis is not healthy sometimes. One needs to take some risk, at the end of the day; it will always result in a new learning at the minimum.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Avoiding issues one doesn’t want to deal with and interpersonal situations where one would feel uncomfortable
- One most important lesson that you have learned until now:
Do not put all sweat just to build the product, give equal importance to marketing, onboarding clients and most importantly setting up the revenue flow.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Our aim is to be recognized as a foremost brand for organized group travel in the 50+ age segment. We would like to grow 10X and grow into other cities.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I will not do anything different. I like the way it has turned out.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Kerala, North-East India and South-East Asia.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
I love animation films and so Walt Disney, who once said, “easiest way to get started is to quit talking and start doing” is something I try to follow.