Education: Bachelor of Technology, Computer Science
College: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi
Previous Career: Senior Software Engineer, Amazon
2. Origin Story
Sachin and Binny Bansal (not related) had both grown up in Chandigarh and studied at IIT-Delhi, but only became close friends when they started working at Amazon's offices in Bengaluru. Fed up of their mundane jobs, they decided to resign and build their own e-commerce platform.
They wanted to capitalise on the booming e-commerce space in India. Since they shared a love for books, they started Flipkart as a website where one could buy books and get them delivered to their doorstep. They did this by using their own savings of ₹4 Lakhs, which was mostly spent on building & hosting the website. “In the beginning it was a two-man show. We did everything ourselves,” says Sachin Bansal. Binny and he spent the second half of 2007 writing code for the site, picking up books from local book shops, responding to customer queries and making deliveries. Flipkart’s early period was marked by a series of setbacks, travails, and near-blunders. They failed to convince any of their friends to join them, and investors told them they were wasting their time.
Light at the End
Finally, in 2009, after 18 months of trying, they managed to convince a small investment firm to pledge $1 million. In the months that followed, they managed to grow their users at a fast pace owing to the innovative 'Cash on Delivery' payments option and their excellent customer service. This attracted interest from a hedge fund in New York, who decided to pump $10 million. Spurred by the new-found riches, Flipkart was able to add new product categories, cut prices, and expand its delivery reach. This resulted in their business doubling every few months, and investors kept pumping hundreds of millions of dollars to further accelerate their growth.
3. Other interesting points
- Sachin Bansal was a remarkable gamer. He used to give dinner to those who defeated him in games.
- His addiction to gaming was so intense that he wanted to give up his engineering course to find a career in gaming.
"'No' is a very difficult word, and more so in our culture, where people quickly tend to take offence. But a 'no' which makes your business and customer say 'yes' is worth the while."