Kanika Tekriwal from Bhopal has come a long way from being mistaken for a cabin crew to becoming one of India’s richest female startup entrepreneurs.
JetSetGo is a company in India where you can hire private planes. JetSetGo was on the list of the leading wealthy women in India and had amassed ₹420 crore by 2020, according to the Kotak Private Banking Hurun Leading Wealthy women 2021 list.
She is 33-year-old youngest entrepreneur in the list and Falguni Nayyar is on the top in this list.
“Miss can you ask everyone Tea or coffee” Kanika Tekriwal
Today, she is also noted amongst startup founders who made it in a male dominated world. Her online air charter service is hailed by celebrities, film stars, and high-net-worth individuals for private jets, helicopters, and air ambulances.
She built her business by understanding what it was like to start a company as a woman in male dominated society.
“I walked into a customer’s office for a presentation and I was the last person to enter.
I remember when Interviewer said, Miss can you ask everyone what they want? Tea or coffee, and all my confidence fell on the floor immediately.” “It was my first interview and I wanted to cry”, She told to Business Insider in an interview.
When she used to hang out at airports, she was often mistaken for the cabin crew.
Story of Kanika Tekriwal
Tekriwal is from a conservative, Marwari family, but she always wanted to be a pilot. This desire and her time in the UK led her to start her own aviation business.
JetSetGo is a company that aims to make private flying more accessible and economical for people. The idea for the company came from the idea that flying should be more accessible and not so costly. Previously, there were many trials to start up companies like hers, but JetSetGo was the first venture where no money was lost and it was online, transparent, and allowed people to share rides.
Tekriwal explains the idea came from combining his previous experiences and observations in the UK and India. She saw what was happening in these countries. There is a need to fill a gap and I moved forward with creating it.
Registering a company is a major problem that we faced
“I wanted to register the company and the people in the registrar office asked me to go get DGCA approval, but they wouldn’t give it to me because I had aviation in my company name.” Tekriwal said.
After years of waiting, she was diagnosed with cancer which slowed down her progress. She says that she had the idea in her head for close to three years but when I started working on it, I was diagnosed with cancer, which set me back by a year.
After being cancer free in 2012, she created her private aviation company with a friend. The company slowly grew as they gained customers and earned more trust. Ten years in, the company owned 10 jets with 7 added this last year. She plans to add 8 more aircrafts in the next three years.
Lockdown was another issue
In the three months of an economic lockdown, the company switched to shorter working days and reduced salaries. They also decided not to lay off staff or reduce their wages.
After decades of dependence and concern, the aviation industry is finally on the rise thanks to years of pent up demand.
Startup founders are among the new jet setters. They have increased the demand for private jets around the world.
Compared to last year, when everyone was going to the Maldives in their private jets, now they head to Dubai. India’s top leisure destinations Goa, Rajasthan and Kerala”, now also added.