As a part of our ‘Awesome Startup Employee Series‘, we bring to you the three pillars that fortify India’s largest deals site, Snapdeal. Vijay Ajmera, the VP of Finance; Sandeep K., the VP of marketing; and Ankit Khanna, the Head of Products.
Snapdeal, the company that led to a splurge of deal companies to come up because of its phenomenal success and reach was founded in 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. Initially Jasper, was started as a traditional coupon business selling all kinds of coupons, today the company has more than 1500 employees and hires at a frantic pace. The success has also to be attributed to its early employees who have stuck along and contributed in a big way to make Snapdeal what it is today.
Vijay Ajmera, VP Finance
A CA by profession, Vijay has assumed key financial positions in a wide variety of companies like Infosys and NDTV. It was a matter of coincidence that Vijay was contacted for a position at Snapdeal and the interview culminated into a very fulfilling journey.
The penny wise VP plays a very key role at Snapdeal, as apart from handling issues in various financial areas, dealing with the investors is a very big part and he considers the four rounds of funding that Snapdeal received to be the milestones in his journey.
Quirk bite: The day he joined Snapdeal, he found that there was no place to sit! And eventually when he was allocated a seat in the small office, he could reach out to the washroom door by extending his arm from the chair! “But it was all worth it!” says Vijay. “From where I was coming and what I was doing here, I never considered it to be a sacrifice in the initial days” he adds with a smile.
Working hours: 9am-9pm + some extra hours from home
How does his family cope with it?
They’ve been very cooperative and completely understand the situation which has allowed me to continue at this pace. Also, the fact that I’ve always been like this makes the situation more ‘normal’, if I may put it that way ( smiles ).
Sandeep K., VP Marketing
Being a founder himself in the past, Sandeep has been one of the key players in helping Snapdeal grow. Having co-founded Grabbon along with Tony Navin (that got acquired by Snapdeal in June 2010), Sandeep knew the drill. Sandeep’s moment of obligation came when sitting in his corporate job, he couldn’t take it any more. Having always wanted to startup, he went on to start Grabbon.
The employee-founder-startup employee transition
It might come as a jolt to enter the corporate world after starting up once but taking a startup job is something entirely different. “I never felt a difference between being the founder and playing my part here at Snapdeal. I would still consider myself to be an entrepreneur, looking at the leeway people find at Snapdeal,” informs Sandeep.
A Momentous moment
“The speed at which Snapdeal is growing is phenomenal. It’s hard to believe but we have an induction session every Friday, and a couple of weeks ago we recruited a group of people that was bigger than the bunch that used to work on Snapdeal for the first two years! That moment awestruck me,” says a palpably astonished Sandeep.
Ankit Khanna, Product Head
Another startup guy at heart, Ankit is an IIT Delhi graduate who worked for 2 years with a corporate before founding iTasveer with 3 other friends. They ended up selling the company post which Ankit was looking for options. “I was looking for a position where I would get an opportunity to scale things up and Snapdeal provided the chance in June 2010,” says Ankit.
The role was exciting in snapdeal and I was looking to continue in ecommerce after the iTasveer stint.
The culture at Snapdeal
“What I like the most is the speed at which we execute or implement anything. Whatever you think you start it small and then you execute in a bigger platform. Most of the companies are not able to validate if their idea will work. Here we experiment at a small level and implement it on a larger scale. That’s the advantage you have if you are at Snapdeal.” believes Ankit.
Pieces of advice to folks looking to take up a startup job
- Do it only if you’re ready to work or can work in an unstructured organization. Every startup in its initial days is a ‘order in chaos’ situation.
- If you’re the kinds who go with the flow, and can’t stand up for yourself, don’t even consider.
- You’ll have to make decisions. Every day is a challenge and every decision counts. If you don’t have the guts for this, forget it.
- Everyone has a priority, so if you’re putting work first, join a startup!
- A startup will give more focus on execution rather than philosophy.
- Join a startup if you want a more holistic image of how a company works.
We congratulate Kunal and Rohit for building a credible team. And, our best wishes with Vijay, Amit and Sandeep as Snapdeal continues to scale to newer heights.
Compelling enough journeys and reasons? Join a startup today!