The one ‘curse’ that’s stopping Indian startups from becoming successful: Kunal Shah on Building It Up with Bertelsmann


He doesn’t believe in mincing his words, doesn’t cry over spilt milk and doesn’t live with regrets because he believes in having none. Kunal Shah, the co-founder of Freecharge has spent a significant part of his entrepreneurial career not just building India’s first few original ideas, but understanding Indian entrepreneurs and their way of running a business.

When Kunal started and scaled Freecharge to one of the most loved internet brands, his peers regarded him as the “Chief Innovation Officer" for the entire category. His fellow entrepreneurs fast imitated every campaign, ad and feature he introduced. So, what did Kunal do right? He “built a business that the market longed for and not the one he felt he could create the need for.”

When Shah merged with Snapdeal, giving India its largest internet M&A then, he was almost doing 1 million transactions a day that too with barely any capital. But even after “building a business that was doing ten times more transaction then what Flipkart is doing today,” Shah had to adopt various strategies to hire and retain the right talent.

"India is a country with a massive trust deficit, and we adopted the strategy of ‘default trust’ to hire talent, completely ditching the review culture," says Shah.

In this episode of Building It Up, find out how these strategies worked for Freecharge, factors Kunal believe lead to the success his startup, why Indian startups fail, his next big startup idea and of course, one curse that’s stopping Indian startups from becoming successful.

Click here to hear the full podcast.



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