Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Prasad Gundumogula, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mondee, a North-American travel technology company that recently went public in July 2022.
Prasad founded Mondee in 2011 in Silicon Valley with the goal of revolutionizing the travel industry. Today, Mondee is a $3 billion travel marketplace and leading technology company listed on NASDAQ with an enterprise value of approximately $1 billion.
With a background in creating highly scalable logistics systems and Artificial & Business Intelligence based-solutions, Prasad and his team at Mondee have been working tirelessly to disrupt the travel industry and make booking and browsing travel a seamless experience for their 125 million members worldwide.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Prasad Gundumogula: My name is Prasad Gundumogula, and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Mondee, a North-American travel technology company that went public in July of 2022. I founded Mondee in 2011 in Silicon Valley after exiting three previously successful ventures.
While exiting my last venture, I took notice of what was taking place in the travel industry or, more so, what was not taking place. After realizing the need for changes, my goal with Mondee became to disrupt the travel industry by revolutionizing it.
Today, Mondee is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and is a $3 billion travel marketplace and leading technology company listed on NASDAQ under the MOND ticker symbol with an enterprise value of approximately $1 billion.
My previous ventures include Metaminds, LogixCube, and POD Technologies, where I created highly scalable logistics systems, Artificial & Business Intelligence based-solutions deployed at Lowe’s, Mercedes Benz, General Motors, Home Depot, and more.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Prasad Gundumogula: In July 2022, Mondee was listed on the Nasdaq. The public listing of Mondee on the Nasdaq attracted a number of blue chip institutional investors such as Morgan Stanley, Elliott, Siris, and Origami and a number of industry names such as EBG and Travco to Mondee.
This was the inflection point of the last year. It was, however, predicated on all the hard work we had done up until that very point which included numerous and continued acquisitions during the global pandemic. During this period, we acquired a total of seven iconic companies within the global travel market. As a result, we went from offering air travel to air travel, hotel, and car rentals.
Our distribution network expanded significantly during this time, and today I can proudly say we have more than 125 million members using Mondee to book and browse travel globally.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Prasad Gundumogula: Mondee has 17 office locations worldwide, with our headquarters in Austin, Texas. We have over 1000 employees and have been growing quite rapidly since 2011. When you grow so quickly, it can make it easy to forget to communicate, especially with anyone who is working overseas, but because we’ve always operated this way, the importance of taking time to communicate with our global team has been embedded into our culture and core principles since Day One.
Additionally, with well-motivated and passionate teams it can actually be more efficient to work from home over working from an office. However, on the other hand, for certain projects, being in the same room a number of times per month is helpful and so we encourage a flexible, hybrid approach that is the most suitable to our business model.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Prasad Gundumogula: Being in the travel technology industry myself, I think we can expect to see these trends stick around for the long term. When I think about each of these areas individually — B2B, online shopping, virtual meetings, etc., there’s been a lot of innovation within each area over the last few years. I believe we are at a turning point in which many of the ideas that temporarily bloomed will start to taper out while the ones that have shown to provide long-term benefit and value will come to the forefront.
As Mondee set out to disrupt the B2B travel market dominated by legacy players, one of our first leadership initiatives was to consolidate a very fragmented market by acquiring the largest players in the sector, a consolidation strategy funded by leading financial institutions.
Simultaneously, with our goal to innovate and transform the tech elements of travel, we developed what’s known as the first Graphics-based Operating System for the travel industry with the intention to set it as the industry standard and which also disrupted legacy command-based systems. In a sense, we brought to B2B travel the transformation Microsoft brought to personal PCs when it shifted from MS-DOS to Windows in the 1990s.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Prasad Gundumogula: In the travel industry, in particular, the real challenge we see is around pertaining to each individual traveler. Today’s modern-day traveler is very different from that of the past.
It can be predicted that the travel industry of the future will have to evolve to include customer-focused technology along with authentic integration and trust enhanced by the creator economy. Creators will be able to play a role (and monetize) not just in the creation of content or the promotion of travel experiences but also in the booking transaction process. This is already happening in eCommerce and is a viable, lucrative pathway for travel creators and businesses.
This is what Mondee’s solutions are fixing.
Across the business landscape at large, the real challenge many are experiencing is, in the midst of all this change and innovation and the breadth of new technologies that seem almost essential to integrate into business operations immediately, is what should come first. Right now, it can be extremely easy to lose track of the end goal, especially for startups. My advice here would be to remember what your goals are and stick to them. It can really be that simple, and knowing what these are will help you steer away from making decisions that will not benefit you.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?.
Prasad Gundumogula: The most underestimated part of running a company is while you are definitely there to lead the company to achieve its purpose and to grow, having a team of experts alongside you really allows you to rely on the opinions of your trusted team members to bring your vision to life.
It’s an amazing part of the process, and I’ll be honest, it can take a second to allow it to happen, but when you hand over the reins to the experts on your team and include them in all aspects of the decision-making – that’s when success begins. There is no success without a team.
What does success in the year to come to mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
With a restless spirit, I’m pretty set to embark on the next stage in the evolution of Mondee as a public company by opening up new possibilities for growth and geographical expansion beyond North America.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Prasad Gundumogula: With a restless spirit, I’m pretty set to embark on the next stage in the evolution of Mondee as a public company by opening up new possibilities for growth and geographical expansion beyond North America.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Prasad Gundumogula for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Prasad Gundumogula or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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