A student left Harvard's first year and created Indonesia's largest online travel agency

    Ferry Unardi heads Indonesia’s largest online travel agency, Traveloka . Ferry was a freshman at Harvard Business School when he launched the project. It is known that it’s not easy to go there, but it’s even more difficult to study there. However, in 2012, he left Harvard after his first semester of training. The entrepreneur has opted for his business. Three years later, Traveloka's monthly audience reached 10 million unique users. The staff has increased to 400 employees. During this time, Ferry attracted investments from the East Ventures fund and Global Founders Capital , a venture capital fund created by the founders of Rocket Internet brothers Oliver and Mark Samvere.

    “I believe travel is the first product that people start buying online. So if we grow, then other online stores are doomed to growth, ”said Unardi. If this assumption is true, then for a country with a population of 250 million people and an increasing middle class, this is good news, Vedomosti writes . Traveloka has partnered with hotels across Southeast Asia and 33 airlines. The agency charges a commission of 10% to 15% of the reservation amount for its services.

    Unardi and his business partners Kusuma Derianto and Albert (he did not give his last name Unardi) live and work in Jakarta. He met Albert Unardi while studying programming at Purdue University (USA), and Kusuma was a Microsoft intern. In early 2012, the trinity discovered a significant interest of users and investors in this area. By the end of the year, Traveloka, having received investments from the East Ventures venture capital fund, began working as an aggregator of airline ticket offers.

    “The biggest problem of the tourism industry is the availability of information. The key to success was to properly structure it, making it convenient to use. As programmers, we were quite ready to cope with this task, ”says Unardi.

    However, the booking process was still too complicated and confusing for most users. In 2013, the developers restarted the site taking into account the wishes of the audience. Unardi does not hide that when developing the service concept he was guided by Expedia and Priceline: "Now the level of creativity and innovation is so high that someone inevitably embodies ideas earlier." The company does not disclose revenue, Unardi only claims that it is growing at double-digit rates from month to month. However, he admits that the company still has a lot of problems. The most difficult thing is to work with small hotels, where reservations are made manually, and building partnerships with large air carriers. “At first, it is extremely difficult to gain their trust. Especially to us. After all, we were a small startup, and they were giant companies, ”complains Unardi.

    Last year, Traveloka began to offer hotel reservations in addition to booking flights.

    When Traveloka was just launched, few Indonesian sites boasted of sane design and user confidence. It was, in principle, difficult for customers to get used to paying for services online. It affects not only the delay in the development of the online services market in Indonesia, but also such a common feature of this nation as aversion to risk. According to SP eCommerce, in the Asian region, an average of 60% of people compare prices on various online resources before buying, and in Indonesia, the proportion of such people reaches 80%.

    Unardi grew up in Western Sumatra, where interest in programming is stimulated through appropriate events and competitions between students. True, his family for a long time could not admit that the undereducated Harvard student is engaged in a really important matter, and is not wasting time on trifling classes on the network. But over time, the attitude of society towards Internet business is changing.

    “Everything related to programming is in fashion. Now, if you do something on the Internet, you're cool, ”says Unardi.

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