WATCH: The week that was - from Gojek's Sidu Ponappa’s coding journey to cracking Y Combinator

This week, we traced the coding journey of Sidu Ponappa of Gojek, spoke to Y Combinator CEO Michael Siebel, and got UpClose with MedLife’s Ananth Narayanan.

Let's start with Sidu Ponnappa, the tech entrepreneur currently heading Gojek’s India Engineering Centre. His is a riveting story that speaks of his passion for technology, innovation, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship.

His 11-year-long experience as a tech entrepreneur has many lessons — on failures, entrepreneurship, and leadership — for anyone aspiring to strike out on their own. Still, if there’s one overriding takeaway from his story, then it’s undoubtedly Sidu’s relentless drive to successfully build and scale his company, until his eventual exit to Indonesia-based on-demand multi-service platform GoJek.

As the MD of Gojek India Engineering Centre, Sidu Ponnappa may not have many coding opportunities now, but coding has been an integral part of his life. He fell in love with computers at the mere age of six, playing old DOS-based games on his friend’s computer.

Watch the wrap in the video below

Flipkart is opening up the far-flung areas of India to ecommerce.

In the North Eastern corridors close to almost four international borders – Nepal, China, Bangladesh, and Bhutan – is the bustling city of Siliguri. Like most hill towns, the place is characterised by the usual humdrum of tourism and by the signs of unforeseen growth in Indian trade and ecommerce.

If you take a stroll in the city, you will come across a few Japanese-Chinese lifestyle stores, popular for their eclectic mix of everyday wares. There are also the globally-popular food chains, apparel stores, electronics brands, and more.

Even as each new day, these colourful, varied, and vivid new businesses come to life across the length and breadth of the city, Siliguri continues to bear an unmistakable charm associated with the hills.

With its rapidly increasing population, access to nearby Bagdogra airport, and a gradual shift towards online shopping, Siliguri has become the hub of Flipkart’s last-mile delivery. The bunch of seven-eight delivery executives working in the city is delivering happiness in the hills against all odds. Read that story here.

Bijayeta Singh, Flipkart's wish master

Next, we spoke to the man who scaled up fashion ecommerce company Myntra and is now the CEO and Co-founder of MedLife. Ananth Narayanan recently came on board alongside initial founders Tushar Kumar and Prashant Singh. He has an interesting point of view when it comes to the healthcare startup. He believes Medlife is now at the same stage fashion e-tailer Myntra was in its initial days of growth.

“I think Prashant and Tushar who started this business have really scaled this up, and now it feels like Myntra’s early stages,” he says before letting us in on the next phase of the Bengaluru-based online healthcare platform.

“In the next 10 years, I look forward to building this up 10X,” he tells us, adding, “We want to try and build this into a multibillion-dollar business.”

Ananth Narayanan with Shivani of Your Story

San Francisco’s Mission Street is the scene of most action. It’s home to the art museums and the funky Salesforce Tower. But, tucked away at in a quaint old building is Y Combinator, better known in startup circles as YC.

Michael Seibel, CEO and Partner at Y Combinator, is an out-and-out “startup guy”. He sold Justin.TV (Twitch) - a video sharing platform - to Amazon for an estimated billion dollars and SocialCam - a mobile video platform - to Autodesk.

The former political science student knows the importance of one thing: clarity in anything one sets out to do. Since 2005, YC has funded 2,000 companies, including Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox, and Coinbase; well-known Indian investments are ClearTax and Razorpay.

Seibel, who has been steering the company to greater heights since he took over in 2016, talks to YourStory on how the Y Combinator is open to all, how his team looks at every application, and why there’s never the best time to apply to YC.

Michael Seibel, CEO of YCombinator (picture credit -

Last but not least, a custom apparel startup QuadB focusses on delivering premium quality products.

One of the main concerns for the bootstrapped startup was delivering high-quality products to the customer and building a manufacturing unit. Setting up a manufacturing unit is a capital-intensive process.

“In the early days, we used labour-intensive machinery, which produced good products but at a slightly higher cost. But since some of us had a production engineering background, we designed our machines with a lot of research and hard work, using world-renowned manufacturing techniques like Virtual Assembly Line (VAL) and Just in Time (JIT),” says Co-founder Litesh Gumbar.

The core team of QuadB

The machinery was rented from different manufacturers and providers, and the startup uses part-time labour to make the products as per the team’s specifications. This helped manufacture quality products that were also cheaper and faster to make. This helped the startup to scale fast and service clients across India.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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