The second edition of the exchange4media Indian Digital Media Awards, which were held in Mumbai on June 3, 2011, saw Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip, named as the IDMA Person of the Year for 2010-11. Under his leadership, MakeMyTrip has grown over the last 11 years to become the largest e-business in India, and is also the largest online travel company, with a valuation crossing $1 billion last year following a listing on the Nasdaq.
Reports indicate that the firm has, in the last year, nearly doubled in value again, making it one of the top 250 Indian firms on any stock exchange. According to comScore estimates, MakeMyTrip is also continuing to grow at around 63 per cent year on year, and the company has also generated a net profit of $4.82 million, as compared to a loss of $6.2 million last year.
MakeMyTrip, which was founded in April 2000, is one of the few companies today, which weathered the wave of scepticism and doubt about online businesses, and e-commerce in particular, which followed after the major dot-com bust of the late 90s. Having persevered through an environment which was not encouraging, Kalra managed to bring MakeMyTrip through those troubled times and is now in charge of one of the powerhouses of the digital industry, and companies like MakeMyTrip are one of the reasons why there is a lot of faith in the medium again.
The Person of the Year was chosen entirely by the jury, led by Mahendra Swarup, Chief Mentor, Smile Group, and Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM, and made up of over 20 of the leading professionals in marketing and digital media.
Jury members felt that it was important that the Award be bestowed on someone who went beyond internal measures for the adoption of digital, and rather recognised someone who was key to the advocacy of the medium itself.
The jury felt that they needed to consider not just online players but also to consider investors, VCs and all members of the ecosystem. However, despite this, once the jury started to consider Deep Kalra, there was a unanimous decision, with one even saying, “This is the easiest choice we’ll make all day.”
Another added, “The MakeMyTrip listing last year changed the understanding of digital and added a lot of credibility to the business. It built a lot of investor confidence. Deep changed the whole game, a billion-dollar entity is not a joke.”
When a doubt was raised that MakeMyTrip and Deep Kalra were not perhaps ideal since they had already reached a certain stage and did not require validation, it was pointed out, “We can’t ignore Deep and focus on people who may or may not succeed in reaching where he has. Not only is he doing a great job, but he was one of the digital visionaries and deserves to be awarded.” It was also noted, “If we don’t award Deep, we won’t find another Deep.”