The Flipkart story is dear to all in the ecosystem because it’s the story of Indian entrepreneurship. From a 2BHK apartment to a sprawling 10 Lakh square feet campus in Bengaluru, Flipkart founders didn’t just live the entrepreneurial dream; instead they instilled that dream in many others.
The journey of Flipkart from a 2 BHK online bookstore to Rs 20,000 crore turnover giant is indeed an inspiring story for startups in India.
Flipkart (Company) was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. They had been working for Amazon.com previously. The business was formally incorporated as a company in October 2007 as Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd with initial investment of just 4 lakh Rupees. They worked hard, even gave away pamphlets of their company outside bookstores when Flipkart was only selling books at the beginning.
The first product sold by them was the book Leaving Microsoft To Change The World, bought by VVK Chandra from Telangana. Sachin Bansal in an interview said that they could not deliver their first product on time and had to sell by offering discount to satisfy the customer.
The journey was quite challenging. Getting customers, suppliers, etc to trust has been a challenge. Sachin and Binny started their Online book store from a two bedroom apartment.
When Flipkart launched initially, e commerce websites faced one major problem, that of online payment gateways. Back then, not many people trusted paying on the internet. Flipkart tackled this problem by introducing cash on delivery and payment by card on delivery in addition to others. Flipkart was the first to implement the ‘Cash On Delivery’ facility, which every online shopping website in India offers as an option today.
At first Flipkart was selling just books then it soon expanded and began offering a wide variety of goods . A product category with high margins, low maintenance and items that are easy to transport. Books are also non perishable items and their value does not go down with time.
In the first few years of its existence, Flipkart raised funds through venture capital funding. As the company grew in stature, more funding arrived. Flipkart repaid the investors’ faith with terrific performances year after year. In the financial year 2008-09, Flipkart had made sales to the tune of 40 million Indian rupees.
The company currently has 4,500 employees across the country now. With close to 11.5 million titles, Flipkart is the largest online book retailer in India. It has a registered user base of two million customers and ships out as many as 30,000 items a day, clocking daily sales of Rs 2.5 crore.
Bansals’ e-commerce bet finally has paid off big time and set the 2018 M&A counters ringing with US retailer Walmart buying about 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for $16 billion.
To talk further about its success achieved, Flipkart has acquired other popular companies like, Myntra.com, Mime360, Chakpak.com and LetsBuy.com. A journey from a small scale retailer to a leading e-commerce brand, they have come a long way.
From selling books online to striking a jaw-dropping $16 billion deal with the world’s largest retailer Walmart, all within 11 years, Flipkart has given India its big start-up success story.
Success Can Be Slow – If Sachin Bansal were to set up an e-commerce platform and to think of scoring big immediately, then Flipkart would have never gone on to become the country’s first and the biggest? It took him 6 years to establish a brand.
From 4 lakh start up to $16 billion, Flipkart has gone through lot of challenges which they overcome time to time to reach their biggest landmark.
Flipkart’s story reminds of one famous quote; ‘It is not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.’