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Naman Budhdeo, Chief executive officer, FlightNetwork.com, Oakville, Ont.

FlightNetwork.com

In 2005, Naman Budhdeo started online travel agency FlightNetwork.com with a single part-time employee.

"It was nothing tremendously innovative, but in 2005 it was fairly unique for online transaction for travel. At the time I didn't think of it competing with Expedia, but more with the bricks-and-mortar travel agencies," Mr. Budhdeo said.

But the company flew far higher than he expected. FlightNetwork.com is now the second largest online travel agency in Canada, with five per cent of the market share. Mr. Budhdeo says this is due to their investment in online advertising, embracing the new media business model wholeheartedly.

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"We dominated that space with spending and investment in human resources and in technology that even, to this day, is above our competitors. It would otherwise be too difficult to grow the business organically..." he said.

The company has made it into the Profit 100/Profit 200 list for last two years, with gross sales of $250-million, representing 850-per-cent growth in five years. Today, there are 260 employees in four offices, two in Mississauga and Oakville, and two more in India.

Mr. Budhdeo also created a software company, FareMatrix, and lead generating a company called Booking Navigator. He has also invested in early companies as an angel investor.

Mr. Budhdeo is currently unmarried. His aim, he says, is to strike an acceptable work-life balance, which he also encourages in his employees.

"I travel three to four months every year, and I know the company will not perform as well as it would if I took two or three weeks off, but would our revenue be 2 per cent higher or 7 per cent higher? I really believe there is that work and life balance and travel is one of my biggest passions," he said.

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