Ten years ago, when two friends from IIT-Delhi —Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal — decided to sell books on the internet, all their friends thought they were bonkers. But the two friends, who are often mistaken for siblings due to their surname, went ahead, took a risk, and created history. Their brainchild Flipkart became not just the country’s largest e-commerce platform, but also remains a milestone in the birth and growth of the Indian startup ecosystem.
Sachin was leading from the front till early 2016, when Binny took over as CEO. Now executive chairman at Flipkart, Sachin is focusing on networking and fundraising for his unicorn company. Once defined as “discerning” by Sachin, Binny is in charge of ensuring that Flipkart does not lag behind its largest competitor, the almighty Amazon.
Undoubtedly India’s most famous entrepreneurs from the new generation, Binny and Sachin are backed by a team of veterans. Find out the top people who call the shots at Flipkart:
- Kalyan Krishnamoorthy: The talk less, do more man, Kalyan worked with Tiger Global Management, the largest investor in Flipkart till a few months ago, when he was made head of category design. He also had an earlier stint with Flipkart as CFO between 2013 and 2014. The man behind Flipkart’s acclaimed Big Billion Day sale, he is now in charge of commerce and advertisements too.
- Surojit Chatterjee: He has been head of management and customer experience since November 2015. An alumnus of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Surojit worked with Google for eight years, and is a serial angel investor. Surojit was also the one who (unofficially) took over all product-related initiatives after the other big Google-hire of Flipkart, Punit Soni (CPO), did not meet the company’s expectations.
- Samardeep Subandh: Having spent 14 years at Hindustan Unilever and with a short stint at Marico behind him, Samardeep is the marketing guy for Flipkart. He joined the company towards the end of last year, and was active in taking e-commerce to the smaller towns in India, with the ‘Kids are Back’ campaign, and ads along the lines of ‘Flipkart Matlab Bilkul Pakka’ and ‘Itne Mein Itnaaaa Milegaa’.
- Nitin Seth: An alumnus of Sachin and Binny’s alma mater IIT-Delhi, Nitin is heading HR — quite a task for a company with 30,000 employees. Earlier he was India head for Fidelity International. The MBA graduate from IIM-Lucknow goes by the designation ‘Chief People Officer’, and he surely lived up to it when he strategised to offer ESOPs to one third of Flipkart’s employees, a first in the industry.
- Saikiran Krishnamurthy: E-commerce runs on logistics; Flipkart runs on Ekart; and Saikiran drives Ekart. He was hired in 2015 as the head of the service product group. He was put in charge of Ekart in April. It was soon followed by the launch of Ekart’s logistics services for third parties and offline players, as well as peer-to-peer courier service. In August, it was reported that he will be in charge of Flipkart’s marketplace and retail business too.
- Ravi Garikapati: Now head of engineering, Ravi had a unique designation when he joined the company in July 2015: ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’. Having spent six years at 7 Innovation Labs, the veteran techie is now leading a team of 1,000 at Flipkart. He was instrumental in the conception and implementation of Flipkart’s advertising platform ‘Brand Story Ads’.
- Nishant Verman: If you are thinking of acquisition, he is your guy. This Stanford graduate joined Flipkart in 2014 as head of corporate development and is now in additional charge of strategic partnerships too, a profile which holds him responsible for mergers and acquisitions.
- Sameer Nigam: He co-founded PhonePe last year, which was acquired by Flipkart a few months ago. Launched in August, this online wallet app has crossed over a lakh downloads, with five lakh users already. The computer science graduate also holds an MBA from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, the alma mater of heavy weights including Anil Ambani and Sundar Pichai.
Reports about Flipkart’s next steps are floating around, some of which include fundraising efforts, tying up with Walmart, acquisition of ShopClues... all of which they claim to be nothing but speculation. But Flipkart is at a stage where whatever happens next will make waves in the industry. With such topliners in the team, will Flipkart make history again?