Here’s why Udaan, the fastest growing unicorn in India, is without a CEO

In an exclusive interaction with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Udaan Co-founders Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya, and Sujeet Kumar speak about why they decided not to have a CEO.

21st Aug 2019
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Udaan, which is disrupting offline distribution with its unique B2B model, was started in 2016 by former Flipkart intrepid trio Amod Malviya, Vaibhav Gupta, and Sujeet Kumar, and is fast becoming the wind beneath the wings of India’s B2B ecommerce space. 

 

The fastest growing unicorn in India is bringing the benefits of online commerce to manufacturers, traders, suppliers, wholesalers, in smaller towns and creating new entrepreneurs in the process.




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Besides having many firsts to its title, the startup perhaps is the only one of its kind which does not have a CEO. And according to the founders, it is more a matter of choice than by chance.


Co-founder Vaibhav Gupta says, “It’s definitely by choice. Because we believe if things are working, then we should not unnecessarily be changing it. We have a strong team working with us where we are able to decentralise a lot of decision making.” He adds that there is power in multiple intuitions working together, and that is working in Udaan.  


Talking about the power of decentralisation, Amod Malviya says, “There are a lot of companies who are far more mindful of the power of decentralisation. We look at most things on a first-person basis and a need basis. We actually don’t have titles across the organisation. There is a power that we have sensed that comes from focusing only on the merit of the discussion and not the title of the person who is talking.” 


According to Amod, not having any of these designations at Udaan is a hugely freeing concept. “The only real thing that matters is what is the benefit we are actually creating for our users,” he says. 


Udaan

Shradha Sharma in conversation with (from left) Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar.

Vaibhav adds that there is a good and a bad side to everything. And having a CEO doesn’t solve everything, but might actually create its own issues.


He says, “When we started Udaan, we were very clear that we are going to go after a very big problem and build out a great product and a great service, scale it, and win the market.”


Talking about why designations don’t matter, Vaibhav recollects an instance and says, “When I went to a few buyers and gave them my Co-founder’s card, they asked what a co-founder is. So, the next time I went, I gave them a sales executive card, and that worked with them.” 


He goes on to say that working at Udaan is a high-speed learning where people have different points of views. 


He adds, “If there is a problem, people don’t go looking for an answer. They try to figure out something, and then we start scaling, keeping everybody in the loop. And this, fundamentally, reduces the need for a lot of these decisions which need to be done.”


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