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'A global door to door integrated mobility platform'

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bharatt Kumaar Malik, Founder & CEO, DistancesBetween.com

Bharatt Kumaar Malik is the Founder and CEO of DistancesBetween, an intuitive multi-modal journey planner providing search, comparison and booking options for door-to-door travel across India. An MCA graduate, Bharatt was earlier associated with Yatra.com as a founding team member. In this capacity, he played a crucial role in accelerating Yatra.com's growth plans and expanding its business through strategic planning. He has also served as the Country Head of India, for UK’s biggest performance network. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Bharatt reveals his aim of positioning DistancesBetween as the global leader in door-to-door travel planning and bookings across India.

What is the idea behind DistancesBetween.com?
Do phrases like ‘hidden gems’, ‘secret spots’, ‘must-see unknown wonders’ excite the explorer in you? The answer, quite surely, is a resounding yes.
Numerous travelers all over the world have an inherent thirst to visit places which are, as Robert Frost would say with a sigh, less travelled by. But in a country that packs a solid punch of 3.29 million square kilometers of landmass, with a 55, 32, 482 km long web of roadways piercing it, the availability of door-to-door travel itineraries is nil, thus making the curious traveler in you apprehensive and hesitant.

Nobody has a plane (unless you are a billionaire and not modest like Bill Gates) in their backyards or a train parked outside their door. But travel inherently is door-to-door. Any kind of travel involves multiple transport options dealing with which, and the allied complicated time-tables, slow-loading roadway websites, outdated maps and the skewed rates quoted by taxi drivers, deals a premature death to some of the potential Ibn-e-Batutas.

This is where DistancesBetween.com arrives. An intuitive multi-modal journey planner providing search, comparison and booking options for door-to- door travel across India, it is the country’s first Artificial Intelligence based integrated meta search platform. Through DistancesBetween, travelers can track down different modes of transport in one comprehensive overview that helps them reach their destination in the most seamless, cost-effective and efficient way possible.

How big is the potential for a business like yours?
Globally Door to Door journeys constitute less than 1% of the overall industry of $37 Bn. According to McKinsy report on Door to Door, its estimated to reach 20% of the market i.e. roughly $5 Bn. This along coupled with monetisation on data over Integrated Mobility platform builds an even larger pie to go after.

Any expansion plans?
We plan to add more transport partners and expand its offering to hotels, points of interest and local content among other ancillary services. Along with plans to enhance the algorithm by introducing self-learning, user generated content and multiplying transport providers, DistancesBetween envisions offering more travel modes under one integrated booking and Mobile APP to increase engagement of search platform.

Your vision for the company? Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
A global Door to Door Integrated Mobility platform. We believe India’s travel market is still fragmented  and haven’t adopted any multi-modal Journey planners, there is a definite chance to get a foothold once the awareness about multi-modal trip planners is spread. Distancesbetween.com will raise awareness using both on-line and offline channels to reach its customers. The company intends to add more transport partners and expand its offering to Hotels. Points of Interest & local content among other ancilliary services as well to provide a holistic door to door Journey planner.

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