You can win only if you have scaled better than others, says Reliance backed Fynd founder Farooq Adam

In this episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Farooq Adam, Co-founder of Fynd, talks about the early days at Shopsense (rebranded as Fynd), getting acquired by Reliance, and his experience being an Angel investor
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Farooq Adam, founder of ecommerce platform Fynd firmly believes one can win by deploying at scale. 

“When we were getting acquired by Reliance, we realised that when you launch at a massive scale, no one can compete with you, and that really distinguishes you,” he says.

Fynd was acquired by Reliance in August 2019 for a whopping 87.6 percent stake valued at Rs 295 crore. As Farooq reminisces, this was at a time when they had already been working with Reliance brands for four to five years. 

“It was 2018, and we had already raised a Series C funding round from Google. It was then that we got invited to speak about Fynd’s growth at GenNext Ventures, the incubator run by Google. Things turned around from then on,” he adds.

It was a good deal for Fynd investors on board. As Farooq shares, a lot of people who had invested in the initial days made good money. But those who came in the last round got about 18 percent IRR.

Journey as an angel investor

Farooq’s first investment goes back to 2013 in drone maker company IdeaForge. This was a company where one of his campus friends used to work.

“The simple idea was essentially to invest in people from campus starting up their venture. Our cheque size used to be relatively small, between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh,” he adds.

Although this seems a relatively small ticket size in the current scenario, at the time there weren’t any pre-Seed rounds or Angel syndicate. It was much tougher to raise capital then, especially the first round. Later in 2017, Farooq institutionalised a fund called FirstCheque. 

From 2013 to now, Farooq has dabbled in around 30 investments. He is now targeting one deal a month with a focus on consumer internet, enterprise, and SaaS among others.

“Those are things that I really understand. I don’t understand edtech, and healthtech for that matter, even though these are really hot subjects, but consumer internet SAAS I do understand,” he adds.

In this episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Farooq also talks about the early days at Shopsense (rebranded as Fynd), getting rejected by investors during the first round, and his plans ahead as an Angel Investor.   

To know more, listen to the entire podcast here

Notes

01:18 – Early childhood in Kuwait; getting into IIT Bombay 

05:01 – Initial stint with Adsale; adding another sale by recommendations & coupons

10:12 – Visiting Diesel (clothing store) on Juhu Tara Road (Mumbai)

14:58 – Problem statements solved by Shopsense

17:24 – Getting benchmarked against Capillary Technologies by investors

22:40 – Rebranding Shopsense as Fynd to cater to the hyperlocal marketplace

31:26 – “How & when you collect your NPS is very interesting.”

32:08 – Acquired by Reliance after getting Google-led Series-C funding

51:39 – Experience as an Angel investor

52:10 – Co-investing with First Cheque VC

57:47 – Advice to his portfolio companies

59:44 – Book recommendations for founders  

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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