The Sky Queen
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KANIKA TEKRIWAL, CEO & Founder, JetSetGo Aviation
Kanika Tekriwal first entered the aviation industry at the age of 17, hustling college and a full-time job. Belonging to a Marwari family; all her family members were involved in various businesses in some form or the other which gave her direction and a purpose of building her own business. Talking about her business interest she says, “I have always been very passionate about aircraft and wanted to become a pilot whilst my parents wanted me to study a marriageable subject and get married. So, I started working a full-time job in aviation and only going to college to give exams. Everything that I know about aviation I learned on the job; today I can assemble and disassemble a plane blindfolded. My passion further translated into starting my own venture by witnessing the problems that existed in the market.”
That Said, JetSetGo was officially launched in November 2014. Often referred to as the Uber of the skies, JetSetGo is revolutionizing the private aviation business in the region by re-defining private flying as it currently manages and operates India’s largest private jet and helicopter fleet. She fixed the two biggest problems in the industry, making private jets profit centers instead of cost centers for owners and at the same time reducing aircraft charter costs for charter customers. Kanika boot-strapped the business with an investment of INR 5,600 only. She then went on to find a co-founder Sudheer Perla and raised USD 2Million. Some superstar investors in the venture today include names like Yuvraj Singh and Puneet Dalmia.
“The intensity of the corporate world's glass ceiling first hit me when I was in a boardroom filled with over a hundred men. I was, to my surprise, the only woman in the room. I quickly realized that to feel intimidated would be an injustice to myself and other women whose dreams were waiting to be turned into reality. When I spoke, the men did feel intimidated.”
No industry has remained untouched by the COVID crisis but travel and aviation being among the first to be affected have incurred a brutal blow. However, the private aviation space particularly did see a ray of hope amidst the crisis. The pandemic ultimately resulted in the complete shift of consumer mindset and how they look at private aviation altogether. Because of this situation, JetSetGo saw many first-time flyers sending their requests to travel. Today being the single largest market shareholder with a little over 21% market share, they have demonstrated profitability with revenues for this fiscal standing at 150 Cr.
Tekriwal firmly believes that everyone should be able to use an air taxi at a price similar to an Uber and is putting this vision to reality with JetSetGo’s SkyShuttle. Launched in 2018 in 3 different routes, Sky shuttle enabled the user to book a ferry ride at a cost of an uber and reach their destination with a same-day return without any wait time.
(This article was first published in the March 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)