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Making Life Easier For The Defence Personnel

UdChalo aims to make life easy for Indian soldiers by building convenient and cost-effective platforms that allow them to access various kinds of services including air travel.

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The entrepreneur side of Ravi Kumar’s life taught him that trade can be learned, but not traits. Coming from a defence background, Kumar understands the pain points faced by the defence forces as far as their travel and a few other basic requirements are concerned. Hence, he along with his team came up with udChalo, which aims to make life easy by building unique, convenient and cost-effective platforms for soldiers to access travel, financial services, housing, consumer electronics and utility bill payments.


The revenue model of udChalo is based on two parameters, convenience fees (in case of ticketing, it charges around Rs 250 per ticket) and performance bonuses from airlines. "We have a very loyal customer base and we keep on rolling out exclusive offers and enter into tie-ups to offer the best prices and services to the Indian defence fraternity, veterans and their dependents," says Kumar.


Currently, the company is serving the defence customer base and closed the last financial year at a GMV of Rs 850 crore. Its net revenue was approximately Rs 41 crore. udChalo is a bootstrapped company that has organically grown utilising its own profit made every year and does not have any investors. It is a consumer technology company with a CAGR of 495 per cent.


The Challenges

“One of the biggest challenges that we faced while catering to the niche audience was the inertia to move from train travel to air travel. Defence personnel had a mental block that airlines are only meant for officers and businessmen, and one has to be fluent in English to interact with the airline staff. Bridging this mental gap and educating our target audience was one of the biggest roadblocks to our business growth,” says Kumar.


Earlier, the biggest challenge was cost because last-minute air ticket bookings were always expensive. Hence, udChalo stepped in by bringing in the all-new concept of discounted fares for armed forces and also helped them file the same against the LTC guidelines. In the near future, udChalo is planning to diversify itself into different cities with its real-estate offerings, taking onboard multiple other brands in the electronic segment. "We have immediate plans to increase our penetration of armed forces along with the navy, air force and paramilitary forces. With our field visits and on-ground presence, we aim to increase our customer base," says Kumar.


Kumar adds, "We have plans to diversify our offerings, taking into consideration our customer needs. We frequently analyse our customer needs through online surveys and direct communication and based on the data, launch a specific product or service."


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Magazine 13 Aug 2022