From battling cancer at 22, to building the Rs.500 million “Uber of the skies” – Meet the effervescent Kanika Tekriwal

While she was making plans of becoming an entrepreneur, her parents were keener on teaching her the basics of finance to be the perfect life partner to a businessman husband. The 29-year old now owns a company that manages and operates aircraft for commercial plane owners, even selling services and parts to them. It helps hurried travellers charter a plane, even schedules trips for them, and arranges private charters for pilgrimages, weddings, and emergency rescue operations.

While pursuing her MBA in London, she worked with Aerospace Resources in business development and saw the potential for the charter market in India. In 2011, she returned to Bhopal to set up her company, brimming with confidence, when tragedy struck. At 22, she had been diagnosed with stage-2 Hodgkins Lymphoma.

But it couldn’t deter her from realising her mission. Tekriwal recovered from it with renewed vigour, and started her venture, JetSetGo, in 2014. Within eight months, her company had won the contract to manage 20 planes and had hired a team for each craft. Today, JetSetGo manages the largest fleet in India without owning it. There are 150 commercial plane operators in India and the company works with almost all of them, operating 80 aircraft for now. They charge plane operators 5% to 30% of their EBITDA.

Like any other entrepreneur, she faced turbulence in her journey. The first flight they had activated did not take off because, two hours before departure, the plane owner opted out of their service. The company also faced a funding crunch. But now, Tekriwal accepts the challenges with more equanimity.

Her future plans include tapping the busiest routes to come in the country along with expanding local services. “In all these years, I have never felt that I was in the wrong place. Of course, there are tough days. But, I am certain that this is what I always wanted to do and I will be the best in this field,” she says.

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