When you do not find a viable product, build it yourself. This mantra drove Varun in starting an online travel consultancy. A BE graduate from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Varun has always been driven by technology and its usefulness in delivering turnkey solutions to day-to-day problems faced by people. During the initial days of his career, he attained vital skills in lean manufacturing and ISO screening. However, his heart started to lean towards business development and marketing, which resulted in his first venture, TCube Youth media.
Nevertheless, his prominence came to the forefront due to his latest startup called WTFares.com (previously flyvsar.com). It is an online travel consultancy committed to help users travel the world for less. A fully functional B2C and B2B module, with ease of auto-ticketing is live and secured by trusted payment gateways. Within a span of a year, it has attained huge credibility with more than 5000 registered customers.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
WTFARES.com is an Online Travel Consultancy, offering a wide range of services catering to B2B and B2C markets of India. Offering ended travel solutions right from flights, to hotels, to visas. We offer inventories from across the globe and our on our way to become the largest online consolidators of Flights and Hotels.
WTFARES.com in a short span of 1 year has grown from a team size of 3 to 12, and has over 12500 customers. WTFARES.com is the most transparent with air fares, fare rules, cancellations and refund policies.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
We were cheated by a very popular travel portal back in 2012. We were given a hotel, which never existed. From there we realized, how these giants have no respect for customers, and how inefficient their customer service team are and how they can back track their words. We took a pledge to build a brilliant product backed by efficiency.
What is your life mantra?
Do what you love doing, try not to listen to people & the experiences, make your own experiences and learn.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
To make people understand that we can take on giant OTAs and be successful. To make them understand that no matter how much ever the market is crowded, there is still place, if you do the basics right and serve with passion.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Following my heart.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We’ve raised money from friends and family. It has not been easy, and an eye opener. The initial days were those, when we we rent sure, and wanted funds to lose, ironically now we are very calculative on whom to have on board.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Being a startup, we know its important to invest in human capital, and this age is such, it is very tempting for youngster to look into other opportunities.
Despite these, we invest heavily in people, we train them will all the secrets, make this equipped with co-founders vision and techniques, this comes only after an NDA is signed, and that similar businesses cannot be joined for 3 years.
What we also do is, we keep them on profit basis, this means a very basic salary (40%) and incentives (60%) this really drives our employees to stick with us, because of the transparency with the distribution of the incentives, they feel they’re a part of the group.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
One must absolutely love what he’s doing. Everything else is secondary. If you love what you do, enjoy you’re job, there’s no stopping.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
- Helpmonks.com (team management, shared inbox)
- Quicbooks.in (simple accounts)
- EmClient (mails)
- Zoho (Free Emails)
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I dont think I have any.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I really wish I could balance and manage my time well. Strike a balance between Work, Family and Friends.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Trying solving a problem, make a better product if not unique.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Every individual must make mistakes.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Eliminate Ruthlessly. Eliminate wrong things in life, be it people or facebook. Learn to optimize your time, and be in the right room and not with people who bring you down.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Grow to a team size of 100, have multiple offices, be a company people talk about.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- Kanha National Park
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come out of it”.