- That’s Great thing they made their passion as business. Most of the time happy and successful business are one which we work on with passion.
It was a class trip planned out of sheer love for trekking that brought Nilesh Patil, 31 and Vikram Singh, 32, together. The common passion two friends shared gave birth to their brainchild, Trek Mates India, a well-known Thane-based travel and adventure group today. The two, who met as classmates in their MBA college in Navi Mumbai recount their journey here.
Nilesh’s wanderlust began in 2004 when he went on his trek to the Himalaya’s Sarpass near Manali with a few friends from the Youth Hostel Association of India. “The trek introduced me to the place and I met wonderful people along the way. It made me connect with nature and natural spaces. It motivated me to continue with local treks and tours,” recalled Nilesh. He soon he went on to become group leader for a few trips, “My new-found passion also made me to form a trekking group with my friends from my graduation college. Every weekend, we planned local treks to Prabalgad, Matheran, etc. Unfortunately, the group split after we graduated.”
However, Nilesh’s hopes for a trek group reignited when he met Vikram in his MBA college. “Nilesh took the entire class for our first trek to Lonavala. The trip was amazing, we walked all the way up and the view from the top was overwhelming. That was my first trekking experience and it had me hooked,” said Vikram. After a few treks and tours together, the duo decided to launch Trek Mates in 2009, while still in the second year of MBA.
Learning the ropes
Though initially, Trek Mates tried its hands on everything in tourism and trekking, they soon shifted focus to local treks. Vikram and Nilesh put together a team to manage these treks and by the end of their management course, the two took up jobs in different companies. Nilesh explained, “I joined Kesari tours to gain experience in managing tours and treks. But the job also gave me insights on how to manage a trek company and actually organise tours.” Nilesh further elucidated on how the two of them would go trekking with Trek Mates during holidays. It was after two and a half years of working in Kesari that Nilesh quit his job to concentrate on Trek Mates, Vikram followed closely after working for a total of four years in a management company.
The duo is now concentrating on transforming their group from a Thane-based entrepreneurship to a world famous tourism company. “Our trips focus on introducing the travellers to the local culture and food. Right now, we are looking at introducing a relatively new concept in India called hopping – here we concentrate on one area with a group of backpackers and explore the whole place. Also, for the past three years we have been maintaining our brand Straub which has accessories needed for trekking and bike rides.”
The group has also introduced its first ever international backpacking tour to Europe this May.