On Instagram, Kanika Tekriwal describes herself as a “small town girl” with massive dreams. In reality, she is so much more.
At the age of 22, Kanika Tekriwal set up her own aviation-based startup after defying cancer, parental opposition and casual sexism. A decade later, this high-flying entrepreneur owns 10 private jets. Her company JetSetGo -- India's first and only marketplace for private jet and helicopter charters – has been credited for transforming the charter plane sector in India.
“I had the idea brewing in my head for close to three years or so, but when I took out my sketch board and started working on it, I was diagnosed with cancer, which set me back by a year,” Kanika Tekriwal told Indiatimes. “Luckily for me, nobody else in the country had gotten around to doing something similar until I finished treatment or until now.”
The journey was not an easy one for Tekriwal, who was born in a traditional Marwari family where women were not encouraged to work. But Tekriwal was passionate about her mission of making private flying more accessible and economical, and she overcame all odds to set up JetSetGo, which she started in 2012 with her friend Sudheer Perla.
The startup, branded the Uber of Indian skies, identified problems with chartering planes that no one had done before, and used innovative technologies to make the process easier for customers.
It uses a mix of tech, unique maintenance procedures, and SMART management, according to the Indiatimes report, to ensure profitability and reduce maintenance costs while making it easier for customers to book charter flights.
Speaking about the hurdles she faced, Tekriwal told The New Indian Express: “We expected rich plane owners to list their planes and customers to book them from our platform, but our first flight never took off as the pilot didn’t show up.“I realised that a booking platform solves only half the problems. Slowly, we became an aircraft management company and once our charter demand exceeded the supply available, we decided to buy our own airplanes and there was no looking back since,” she said.