Get full access to one story every week, and to summaries of all other stories. Just create a free account

There’s MakeMyTrip, the big daddy of India’s travel space. Founded nearly two decades ago, it’s the destination for hundreds of millions in venture funding, listed on the NASDAQ, and bringing in over $600 million in revenue annually.

And then there’s EaseMyTrip, in many ways a study in contrasts. Formally registered in 2008 by two brothers, Nishant Pitti and Rikant Pitti, it declared annual revenues of over Rs 1900 crore ($267.5 million) in March 2017 without a Rupee in venture funding. The brothers were just 23 and 21, respectively, when they started out in 2008.

On January 16, India’s largest business newspaper, The Economic Times* reported, citing “people briefed on the matter”, that EaseMyTrip was planning to raise Rs 1,500 crore ($211 million) through an IPO, valuing the young company at between Rs 6,000-7,500 crore ($845 million-$1.05 billion). If successful, EaseMyTrip would be the first company in India’s booming online travel sector to list domestically, said the article. Even though EaseMyTrip’s revenues were just about a quarter of MakeMyTrip’s, the article pointed out, it was profitable.

It was a remarkable story of growth, judging from the company’s past growth.

But just a few days later, EaseMyTrip filed its annual financials for the year that ended March 2018. Its revenue dropped over 93% over the preceding year, and profits, 21%.

But that wasn’t all. Along with its financial results for the year that ended March 2018, it also restated the previous year’s revenue. Which now dropped from Rs 1,904 crore ($268 million) to Rs 71 crore ($10 million).

Based on its revised revenue numbers, EaseMyTrip isn’t 25% of MakeMyTrip’s size by revenue, as The Economic Times article pointed out, but between 2-3%. For FY17, MakeMyTrip reported revenues of $447.61 million.

If the Pitti brothers were worried, they probably didn’t show it. Because they would have been preparing for the 25 January launch of the big-budget period epic, “Manikarnika”, a movie based on the life of one of the leaders of the Indian rebellion of 1857, Rani Lakshmibai.

Which was co-produced by EaseMyTrip.

Don’t be surprised. This wasn’t the first movie produced by the company, but the seventh.

A contrarian travel conundrum

India’s travel space is intensely competitive, forcing even savvy and well-funded companies like Ibibo and MakeMyTrip to call a truce and merge in 2016, rather than keep bleeding and fighting.

How then did a young company like EaseMyTrip, with no domain experience in travel, no funding, and no significant marketing spends end up here?


Rohin Dharmakumar

Rohin is co-founder and CEO at The Ken. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and an engineering degree in Computer Sciences from the R.V.C.E., Bangalore.

View Full Profile

Enter your email address to read this story

To read this, you’ll need to register for a free account which will also give you access to our stories and newsletters

Or use your email ID