The man behind the new era of tourism development in India

There was no money in the bank and all my credit cards were exhausted. That was the time of saying, 'Now or Never'. It was the time to decide whether to continue or give up, go back and take up a job to pay off the loan...
Mohan BN
Published on: 15th June 2015
A dream envisioned and aimed at is a dream achieved!

Founder member of Paxterra Software Solutions, Mr. Renil Komitla is a leader, a dreamer, an idea accelerator and a sharp executor. Backed with a plethora of experience from his stints at CISCO, STOKE, Wichorus an exemplary vision began the journey of a successful entrepreneur. “I want people of India to know me as a man who helped change the tourism sector in India. I come from a middle class family and understand the pains of a middle class travel. After completing my education I worked in the US for few years and then started my venture. There is too much untapped tourism in India, which is not explored to the fullest potential unlike the western countries. What I am trying to do is to create a platform, bring the technology and backend together and work with the government in order to create an ecosystem that would help middle class travellers enjoy tourism,” says Renil.

A dreamer, who believed in giving wings to his long cherished aspirations, started Paxterra in 2008 offering a distinguished array of services primarily in the IP/Wireless, development Testing automation and support services. Paxterra since then has established a strong foothold in the industry and niche market it was aimed to cover under his able and clinical leadership. What started off as a dream is currently standing tall with growing revenue of 100 crores and an in house talent pool of over 650 employees.

When asked about his inspiration, Mr. Komitla attributes his gratitude to his grandpa saying, “I grew up with an intention to be an entrepreneur right from the age of 10. My grandfather (mom’s dad) has been my inspiration who was an entrepreneur in Nellore. At one point of time, he was the only dealer in Nellore and, by the time he retired from his business he was dealing with a lot of brands of cycles. His business ran for 60 years. With minimal education he could do so much. So, with these many facilities and education standards, my whole intention is to be much more productive for the society and be a reason for employment creation.”
Mr. Renil Komitla
Touted as a leader with a strategic bent of mind, his foray into the Travel industry was perceived as a gamble by many. Notwithstanding the fact that he was a Techie, Travel was an area Renil was able to foresee immense potential Being the perseverant person he is often referred to as, he introduced Komitla Services in Nellore in the year 2003. This was also Renil’s way of giving back to his hometown that was plagued with negligible commuting services. Renil also mentions that his wife has been very supportive throughout the journey. There were few friends who didn’t appreciate the thought of quitting the job to do something on his own and advised him to get back to a job. But, Renil was staunch about his idea.

Entrepreneurship has its own challenges. Mr. Komitla explains his dive into the ocean of entrepreneurship like this - “I was mentally prepared before taking the jump. In any kind of entrepreneurial journey there will be struggle for first couple of years. There are two types of journeys here;

1. You are on your own and the funding is on your own. This is the toughest one because you don’t have any kind of certainty over your idea or when you’ll get paid.

2. You’re an entrepreneur with an idea but funded by investors. At least, here you’ve security of your pay. This is the most popular type of entrepreneurship.

Mine was the first type where I had planned to make the business click in 6 months to earn some salary. But, it took a while and there was a time when there was no money in the bank and all my credit cards were exhausted. That was the time of saying, ‘Now or Never’. It was the time to decide whether to continue or give up, go back and take up a job to pay off the loan. I decided to give a try for 6 more months and it gave me a ray of hope that we would definitely make it.”

Armed with an inherent knack for keen observation and market intelligence, Renil ventured into e-commerce via the launch of Yatragenie. An online travel portal, Yatragenie has steadily moved up the ladder alongside its established competitors like a breeze owing to the competent vision coupled with his out of the box thinking abilities. Exposure to international transportation models and the ease of use delivered to end customers prompted him to come up with concoct of brick-and-mortar and software ingredients which is YatraGenie today. Explaining in detail about YatraGenie, Renil shares, “Our goal has been to provide an economic platform where the middle class travellers can plan their tours without being cheated as they can’t afford as much as the rich can, either inside or outside India. Our next goal is to discover more tourism spots and connect people to these locations. We aim to look at all 626+ districts in India and see the potential of which districts we can promote. In this concept we have 4 divisions in our technology e-commerce platform;

1. To reach the tourism spot, you need to book a bus.

2. You need to have a local mode of transportation for which we have cab service.

3. We give the tourists an opportunity to book a hotel in that area

4. There are different kinds of tour packages that are available.

We would be starting the information and deals section in order to educate the travellers about the possible kind of opportunities and places that they could explore and avail during their travel.”

Renil’s ideology for triumph has always been insightful thinking, meticulous planning and keen detailing. His mantra that has cascaded to every employee in his realm is Precision, Perseverance and Perfection. Equipped with exceptional ideas and the zeal to achieve, Renil’s dream has just begun. Talking about the kind of people he met in his journey, Mr. Komitla says, “People are very important. Without the right people no idea can make wonders. With time, right people who aligned with our vision joined us to grow the company. Rama Kini, Venkat Nandimandalam, Sandeep Nanduri, Rajesh YA, Sashidhar, Sridhar, Srihari, Sankar, Sandeep, Reena, Avinash, Sarath, Shyam and Krishna stood as strong pillars throughout this journey. As an advice to young entrepreneurs, you must select the right team. The first 4-5 people should never look out for short-cuts. You need to have your plan, solution and technology right and wait for the right time to strike. Even one bad person in that team of 4-5 can kill the whole company.”

Talking about the e-commerce industry boom in India, Renil says, “Any hype should see a correction. This is the law of nature. There can never be continuous upside forever in life. E-commerce is a new kind of business idea in India. Irrespective of the madness or hype, what India needs is capital. Without pumping in capital changing the minds of people to take a newer road is not easy. More capital facilitates better marketing. Whatever has happened so far in India is good. All those billions of dollars that came to India have helped create more employment opportunities in last 5-6 years in India. Otherwise the service industry stagnation only relying on IT services would have put us down. With a population of 1.2 billion, the growth of the industry is definitely possible. Probably as the industry matures the capital requirement might come down and the businesses with good practices shall succeed for sure.”

As start-up has become a rage amongst youth and looking at the statistics of very tiny number of start-ups that are able to make profits, Renil shares his thoughts saying, “You should never jump into your start-up just because someone else has done it because it might lead to a disaster. Follow your heart. If your heart says that you’re a person capable enough to take up entrepreneurship and if your belief system is firm on it, only then you should jump into a start-up. Once you convince yourself about your idea you can convince the end customers as well. Once you’ve given birth to your start-up it might take 3-5 years to yield fruits. If you haven’t made it happen then it’s not a sin. It’s an experience to learn from, avoid the mistakes and execute better in your next venture. In any part of the world, not everyone would have seen success in the first venture itself. People would have seen 2-3 failures before becoming a successful entrepreneur.”
Exposure and experience are two very important criteria for any budding entrepreneur. Mr. Komitla shares his pearls of wisdom on the same here: “Exposure is very good when you do your masters abroad especially in the US. The approach towards masters will give a lot of exposure about practical thinking. Secondly, one gets exposed to a new way of life, new culture and new people. In India, we feed our kids till the age of 22/23 but once a student is pursing masters abroad, s/he tends to do part-time jobs and learns to lead an independent life. Carrying forward that experience into entrepreneurship definitely helps. But, it is not compulsory only to visit abroad for all these. If students start looking out for exposure and experience then they have opportunities in India too. One can work in a Pizza Hut or an Airline Front Desk or take up a technical internship in a company. This will give a practical approach to life and by the time the student is out of college, s/he is a better individual. The youth in college should step out and look for opportunities outside than complaining on the college that it is not giving them what they want.”

Considering parents’ restrictions for students. Mr. Komitla has some advice for parents as well- “Some parents think that education is only sitting and studying. Probably, this notion cannot change overnight. It will take some time. Parents have to encourage kids to step out and look at the world. Working in a Pizza Hut or an Airline Front Desk is no more a shame. It’s a very good experience for kids to develop patience, understand how to interact with people and become a better individual.”

Socially, the company has been very active addressing the needs of the society when required. Whatever employees contribute is matched up by the company and contributed towards solution of societal problems. When Swachh Bharat was announced, YatraGenie has been the first company in Bangalore to take up an event regarding cleanliness. In case of no calamities in a year, then the company supports organizations that are working towards the betterment of the society.

“Follow your dreams and never take short-cuts.” - Mr. Renil Komitla.
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