Follow Us











Startup Sectors

Women in tech







Art & Culture

Travel & Leisure

Curtain Raiser

Wine and Food


Advertise with us

More sleep, less Maggi, and fewer urgent calls: Vikram Chopra of CARS24 on lessons from failure

In a candid chat, Vikram Chopra, Co-founder and CEO of CARS24, gives a peek into his life, beyond his business.

More sleep, less Maggi, and fewer urgent calls: Vikram Chopra of CARS24 on lessons from failure

Friday May 31, 2024 , 4 min Read

Gurugram-based CARS24, an ecommerce platform for pre-owned cars, is one of the trailblazers in the sector. But long before Co-founder and CEO Vikram Chopra tasted success with the company turning into a unicorn in 2020, he failed as an entrepreneur.  

An alumnus of IIT-Bombay, Chopra dropped out of Wharton and founded FabFurnish—an online furniture and home decor store—in 2012. Sluggish demand and business complexities led the Mumbai-based brand to shut shop in 2017. 

However, under Chopra’s leadership, CARS24 has transformed from an online marketplace to a full-fledged click-to-brick business model. With a $200 million funding round led by DST Global, CARS24 became the largest startup to join India’s unicorn club in 2020. The startup is also backed by cricketer MS Dhoni. 

Beyond his business, Chopra indulges in adventure sports, and unwinds by spending time with his family. 

YS Life caught up with Chopra to get a peek into his life beyond his business. 

Edited excerpts from the conversation: 

YS Life [YSL]: What are the three words that best describe you?

Vikram Chopra [VC]: Strategist in January, reactor by July, critic by December—I kick off with big ambitions, dodge curveballs all summer, and finish by dissecting the chaos and tallying the lessons.

YSL: An underrated quality in someone?

VC: Debugging code at 3 AM. That's not dedication, that’s a superpower. If you can do that, you can probably juggle flaming torches too!

YSL: An overrated quality in someone?

VC: Raising funds. It is often seen as the golden ticket in the startup world. Sure, it’s impressive to fill a vault like Scrooge McDuck from pitches alone, but let’s not get carried away. Having deep pockets doesn’t automatically solve deeper business challenges. It's like being great at collecting Legos—without a blueprint, what are you really building? So, while fundraising can open doors, it’s not the only key to success. At the end of the day, you need more than just money to turn a great idea into a great business.

YSL: A situation in which you lie?

VC: Umm, “This is the last meeting for today.” Spoiler, it never is. As much as I want to believe it myself, the startup life means there's always one more thing to discuss.

YSL: If not an entrepreneur, what would you do?

VC: Work for another entrepreneur, and steal their secrets! (laughs).

It’s all about learning from the best and then doing it better. Plus, I’d love to see how stressful it is when it’s not your name on the door.

YSL: If not CARS24, what would you name your company?

VC: Cars23 because Jordan's number is legendary. If you're going to rebrand, why not associate it with greatness? Plus, there's a nice ring to it.

YSL: If you could go invisible for 24 hours, what would you do?

VC: Secretly attend meetings and see how much gets done in my absence. 

YSL: What's the last thing that you do before hitting the bed?

VC: Count the many problems I have only to realise that sleep isn’t one.

YSL: What's your guilty pleasure?

VC: Reading reviews about my competitors. It's part-educational, part-espionage, and wholly satisfying.

YSL: Three things you wish you did differently when you started FabFurnish?

VC: More sleep, less Maggi, fewer ‘urgent’ meetings.

YSL: One thing about entrepreneurship that investors do not realise?

VC: The I-have-an-idea shower epiphanies. Great ideas often come in mundane moments.

YSL: Entrepreneurship or venture capitalist—which one would you prefer?

VC: Wherever I get to wear sneakers and a cap. 

YSL: Two startup founders that you don’t mind getting stuck in an elevator with?

VC: The founders of Urban Company; The founders of BYJU’s.

YSL: Money or fame? 

VC: Health, so that I can keep earning more money and fame. 

(Disclaimer: The copy was updated)

Edited by Megha Reddy