Nitin and Mrigakshi founded Catterfly in Switzerland in 2016 after spending decades in corporate life. Their story is not different from most in the lower/middle class who are fortunate enough to work hard, get opportunities, and acquire several privileges along the way. Catterfly delivers curated and personalized travel experiences that are unique to a destination and a culture based on local presence and expertise in several countries. It is backed by a comprehensive and personalized mobile and web platform that brings together experiences, experts, customers, and organic ways to curate travel experiences live-wire.
Nitin got back to Switzerland after two weeks-meeting travelers, industry partners asking for white labeling access to Catterfly Digital Platform, and an excited bunch in the newly opened Catterfly India office. While traveling, he kept calling Mrigakshi about the rapid progress that they were making. Back home, Mrigakshi was working with Catterfly destination experts and delivery team to plan for upcoming trips that travelers booked with Catterfly in different countries. Mrigakshi and her team made sure everything is at the traveler’s fingertips with Catterfly mobile app as a personalized travel plan. After all, real travel is not about tick box tourism, but experiencing the sound, flavors, and scent of a place; sometimes getting lost purposefully in off-track alleys, talking to locals, and sharing a cup of coffee or a wine in the roadside café.
Same weekend, COVID erupted like a wildfire in Northern Italy and with medical crisis all over, all travel within Europe STOPPED. Nitin and Mrigakshi realized that being in denial will only make situation worse, as travel industry will probably be the last to recover. A carefully built business was crumbling down every day with trip cancellations, exorbitant refunds, managing customer frustrations, no new sources of revenues, a lingering uncertainty, and unending questions. Catterfly tried to minimize losses for everyone (travelers, partners, experts, et al) losing their hard-earned money, jobs, and future sources of income. Alongside, they had to think of creating alternatives as no recovery was in sight and ‘new normal’ was like chasing a mirage.