Sunday, May 28, 2006

Crowded skies or crowded online travel space?

Following up on my earlier post on online travel space , here is an updated compilation of the travel players who have either launched their offerings or have announced the same.

Operational sites

Indiatimes Travel
Xplorz : (Promoted by Tulip Travels)
Thomas Cook
Mobissimo : Fare search & redirect to airline for booking fulfilment
Rediff Fare Search : Fare search & redirect
Traveljini : Tavel content

Launch announced

Ezeego1 – Cox and Kings, read more
Travelocity India : read more
Sify's acquisition of Globe travels : read more (Updated : 6th June 2006)

This makes it more than a dozen sites already and counting ! Any wagers on who will survive ?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Online education: A big opportunity

A business is likely to do well in the online space when

  1. It meets a need that offline businesses cannot provide or is able to provide a more efficient and convenient experience to the consumer
  2. The demand and supply of a product or a service is very disorganized, fragmented and geographically scattered.

With majority of India’s population below the age of 25, education is a huge business. It also fits very well in the online space by clearly scoring over offline education in terms of:


- Very easy for a student to reach out to a good teacher from within confines of his/her home
- Provides help on a 24/7 basis.

Disorganised & Scattered Demand (students) – Supply(teachers)

On one side good quality teachers are concentrated in few geographical areas / institutes / colleges & schools. On the other side there are students from all over the country who want to get into a good school / college / institute.

Kota in Rajasthan is a very good example where the entire eco-system of the town has been built around thousands of students staying in the town for almost a year to prepare for engineering examinations by enrolling in one of the numerous engineering entrance coaching institutes of the likes of Bansals etc.

As we will see the internet connectivity expand to smaller towns and speeds improve, online education should grow extremely rapidly. Currently there are very few players concentrating on online education

I have recently led Indiatimes’ foray into education by launching testing services for all competitive examinations under the brand Indiatimes Mindscape Test Centre. We would like to eventually offer a full services education portal, with a whole range of content and service offerings, right from school to post graduation.

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