Ajay is a person who believes in hoarding experiences. He has actually been doing what a company’s motto says – “One life, do more.” He also believes that it is ok to make mistakes – as long as you learn from them.
He considers his undergrad studies at N.I.T, Jaipur to be a transforming experience. College was where he met and became friends with people from all over India (and some from abroad too). He learned managing his finances and cooking, both of which have been very helpful to him in later years. He got a job at Infosys, one of India’s most reputed software firms while at college. He transitioned into the next phase of his life worked at this corporate in various roles and spent some of this time abroad too. He helped start and managed the local Book club at his organization for a considerable period of time – it currently has over a thousand members. At this job, he also learned that he has good organizational skills when he helped organize many high visibility events. According to his colleagues there, his strongest asset was that he could grasp concepts in a very short time. His conflict resolution skills were very useful during his stint abroad.
After nearly 5 years at the corporate, he quit his secure, well paying job to become an entrepreneur. He has learned many lessons in life since then, a few of them the hard way. He first joined a health foods company and tried to cater organic food at corporate offices. He then tried his hand at his partner’s recruitment/H.R consultancy firm. He realized that it is better to work at a startup and understand the challenges before starting on your own. Also, the importance of choosing the right people to work with (lost all money with the first partner). During this period, he also conceptualized, designed and built a website to aid the adventure travel community in India – www.TripNaksha.com. He self-learned web technologies, configuring servers, etc in building this product.
Ajay started running long distance in 2009 and has run several full and half marathons. He was a founder member of the Hyderabad Runners Society and built and managed almost their entire digital strategy and reach over 4 years. He was also part of the founding team organizing the Hyderabad Marathon for the first 3 years (2011-2013 editions).
He enjoys traveling, usually travels budget and prefers traveling the unusual way (adventure!). He likes travel projects/challenges and did a hitchiking/backpacking trip to the north eastern states of India, in 2010. When he was the U.S he tried adventure sports like hang gliding and sky diving and loved them. He has been a voracious reader since he was a kid and likes classic science fiction the best. His plan for an east coast ride in an autorickshaw had to be cancelled at the last minute in 2011.
He started the Make Heritage Fun project as a personal travel project in 2012. Over time it has transformed into an umbrella of initiatives trying to interest, inspire, engage and involve young people across the world with heritage. The project has indirectly impacted millions of heritage enthusiasts and directly with 3000+ travel challenge participants, 2500+ student internships, online conferences, community events across 100+ cities, 2800+ high quality articles.
Ajay has been invited by ICCROM India (2017), the University of Durham (every semester since 2018), University of Birmingham (2015) and the German Archaeological Institute (2016) to speak about his work and ideas on making heritage more accessible.
He started Go Heritage Runs in 2014 as an offshoot of Make Heritage Fun. Go Heritage Runs are a destination marathon series organized at heritage sites across India, combining heritage, travel, fitness into a family friendly run-vacation. The runs, organized at 17 destinations in India and 1 in Cambodia, have seen over 30,000 participants till Feb 202. They have been called "India's most scenic marathons" by Nat Geo Traveller, Conde Nast Traveler, Outlook Traveller, DNA Mint, Times of India, The Hindu and several other publications.
While working on Go Heritage Runs, Ajay noticed a huge rise in the number of folks tracking their runs and bike rides but there were very few ways all the data was being used effectively. After a few iterations and MVPs and a lot of user interviews, his ideas evolved into Goals.Fit - a virtual race platform where anyone can create a virtual race for their club, office team, friends or charity. Goals.Fit has been used by over 50 organizers to manage 150+ virtual races with over 7000 participants.
Updated April 29, 2021