14 Oct 2016

Rishabh Tripathi

Story of Man With “Wings” - From STD Booth to Rs 140 crore Business

Nobody would have thought that a man who once owned a STD booth in a chawl in pune will be the owner of a 140 crore company  in  city’s most prestigious address in Koregaon Park , except the man himself , Arun Kharat, a workaholic and an excellent entrepreneur. He is the founder-director of Wings Travels, a car rental, radio cab and staff transport management business spread across nine major Indian cities - Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Baroda - and Thailand.

Small Beginning

Arun Kharat was  born and brought up in Khadki, Pune . Not so studious and scared of the big books of his brother ( who’s now a doctor) he liked going to and hanging in his uncles small footwear shop and it was from here that the idea of doing a business pierced his mind. After doing his diploma in mechanical engineering he worked as trainee engineer at SKF ball bearings in Pune from 1991-92. He then joined TELCO, a Tata group company for a short period and then finally joined Sudarshan Chemicals. It was during working in these companies that he realised that it would take him too long to get to top positions in this type of salaried job. Also his dream of traveling around the world free from the shackles of  a salaried job could not be fulfilled. It was during this time that a dream of opening his own business was seeded. He started by opening a STD booth in a rented shop he then became a ticket agent for a private company.

The “Wings” Discovered

Mr. Kharat started his car rental business in 93-94 while still working at Sudarshan chemicals but he soon resigned and devoted his time only to his business. It was when he came from Pune to Mumbai and then accepted the offer of staff transport service and joined a BPO company that his fortunes turned around . Soon wings travels rode on the success of BPO boom and struck a turnover of a crore in 2001 and since then it’s never looking back for Arun Kharat .

Spreading The “Wings”
Today Wings Travels owns 350 cars of all categories. It moved ahead from a staff transport service to the public transport domain by launching radio cab services in Pune in 2006.  In 2008 and 2009 it touched 60 to 80 crore rupees, providing end-to-end staff transport service with a fleet of 2,500 attached cars serving nearly 70 companies. The acquisition of Bookmycab earlier this year helped Wings Travels to expand its services to 47 cities in India, including radio taxi services in Yangon (Myanmar), Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Vietnam.


Innovative Schemes Of Wings Travels
·         Malik Chalak Under this scheme the driver pays 20-25% of the cost, and Wings Travels backs it as guarantor to the bank that finances the rest of the cost, and the drivers end up owning the car completely within three years. 
·         Wings SakhiUnder this scheme cabs are driven by female cab drivers.
·         Wings Rainbow -  Under this scheme the cabs are driven by the people from LGBT community.

And the Wings isn’t gonna stop here its going to take flight higher by  infusing private equity to the tune of 15 million dollars from global venture capital funds. It plans to expand its services to Mauritius and all Asia Pacific countries, followed by the UK and USA.