startup story of flipkart
Credits - www.peoplematters.in

Flipkart, a renowned name in the Indian e-commerce space, or to be precise, the largest e-commerce website in India was started with a mere 4,00,000 Indian Rupees (USD 6,125). It has grown a million times than the original value and is currently valued at $10 bn. Nevertheless, the talks with Walmart to join hands can value the giant at $20 bn.

In this article, let’s dive into the amazing story of Flipkart and have a closer look at how the company grew a million folds in such short span of time. We will give also give you Flipkart’s statistics, employee salaries, future planning and more.

Grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.

Flipkart was the brainchild of two IIT-D graduates. Sachin Banal and Binny Bansal registered Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. in October 2007 to sell books online. Sachin, who has been the Entrepreneur of the Year (2012-2013, Economic Times), once acknowledged that he thought founding the company was the most ridiculous thing he has done.

However, at that times, building an e-commerce website in a country where mobile penetration was only 12 percent was hard. In India, people often prefer to shop in person and buy goods they see and like. Today, thanks to Flipkart, e-commerce has become one of the fastest growing sectors in India.

And with the increase in mobile devices which grew to 900M from 10M in 10 years, Flipkart took the full advantage of the rampant increase in demand for online shopping.

Sachin and Binny were working at Amazon.com. Now when you work at a firm and you are destined to become an entrepreneur, nature will conspire and make your mind generate ideas. And your work experience will always boost that idea. Consequently, they left their jobs at Amazon.com and flipped to building Flipkart.

One can easily call it a risky move. But to be honest, every entrepreneur that made a billion-dollar company in the world has a very high-risk appetite.

Flipkart began selling books, to begin with. It soon expanded and began offering a wide variety of goods. Innovating right from the start, Flipkart has been home to few of the striking features of Indian e-commerce.

Handling all the mental and social pressure of quitting a decent job, the duo began selling books in the first hand. Soon Flipkart expanded to offer a wide variety of goods such as electronic goods, e-books, stationery supplies, fashion and lifestyle products as well.

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. This soon increased to 200 million Indian rupees the following year.

In the first year, Sachin and Binny bootstrapped Flipkart.

In 2008 Ashish Gupta, founder of Junglee and Helion Venture Partners invested an undisclosed amount in Flipkart.

2007-2010 was the age when people were still identifying that payments can be made online. And that was a big problem for Flipkart. Not many people felt safe while entering their debit/card numbers on some web page. Even, the gateways were not easy to set up and slow in performance and easy to exploit.

Flipkart introduced “Cash on Delivery” for the first time in India that allowed any user to pay in cash after they receive their consignment. This opened doors to a new supply model which every other online shopping website in India offers as an option today.

In the financial year 2008-09, Flipkart had made sales to the tune of 40 million Indian rupees.

So, Accel India, the venture capital firm, provides the first institutional round of fund of $1 million in 2009. Flipkart also received $10 million from Tiger Global Management. The valuation of the company was reported to be a bit lower than $50 million.

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Their revenue increased to 200 million Indian rupees the in 2009-2010.

This huge numbers helped Flipkart raise $20 million from Tiger Global in 2010. And it begins talks with private equity funds like General Atlantic. The valuation of the company then was $1 billion.

You should realize that good revenue comes with an increased number of orders. And Sachin & Binny were now confident that their sales were to skyrocket in the future. They also knew that the entire supply chain system was problematic and cannot handle high order numbers.

Delivering goods on time was the second most important problem Flipkart had to solve. Fast delivery is one of the most important factors that determine the success of an e-commerce firm. Flipkart launched eKart, an in-house supply chain management system to deliver orders in a timely fashion and have full control over customization and innovation.

Flipkart became a unicorn startup. It announced $150 million round led by South African tech major Naspers. The valuation of Flipkart back then was $1 billion.

Flipkart raised $200 million from existing investors in mid-2013. The company also raised $160 million more from Morgan Stanley, Sofina, Vulcan Capital and Dragoneer. The valuation fo Flipkart was reported to be $1.6 billion.

The year 2014 was up.

Flipkart started acquiring. Companies like Myntra.com, LetsBuy.com etc, were acquired to better their presence in the market by creating a monopoly. With the entry of Amazon.com in India, the competition was on its all-time high.

Following the acquisition of Myntra in 2014, Flipkart raised $210 million from DST Global. The valuation then stood at $2.6 billion.

This was a piece of history as Flipkart witnessed a whopping $1B funding round from GIC Singapore and existing backers like Naspers, DST Global and Tiger Global. Even the valuation shot up 1.5 times and stood at $7 billion, within the span of less than quarter of a year.

In 2014, Flipkart raised another $700 million fund from hedge funds like Greenoaks, Steadview Capital, sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, mutual fund T Rowe Price. Flipkart’s valuation again increased to more than $11 billion

Flipkart reached the highest valuation at $15.5 billion. It also raised $700 million from all the existing investors.

The year 2016 was a bad year for Flipkart. The company received the first big markdown from a Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund. This time the valuation stood at $11billion. The markdowns kept continuing by various mutual fund investors like Vanguard, T Rowe Price and Fidelity.

But good times was on its way. By the end of 2016 Valic, the US fund marked up the valuation of its shares in Flipkart by 10 percent. Now, the valuation of the company was $11.5 billion.

“The unpredictability of life sucks. One minute you’reriding high with the wind whipping  through your hair and the next minute you’reflat on your ass with a face full of gravel.”
Alison G. Bailey, Present Perfect

Aha, it was downtime again as a Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund made another considerable cut to the value of its Flipkart shares. The valuation was now a mere, $5.6 billion.

It is 2018 now.

Walmart is likely to reach a deal to buy a majority stake in Indian e-commerce player Flipkart by the end of June in what could be the US retail giant’s biggest acquisition of an online business, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

So what are the current statistics of Flipkart?

Well according to SimilarWeb, the total monthly visits on Flipkart stand at 234.93M with average visit duration of 5 minutes and total page views around 1.8 billion every month.

Below table will tell you all the details including Flipkart sales statistics, Flipkart visitors per day, Flipkart sales data, Flipkart traffic per day, Flipkart traffic statistics, Flipkart Alexa rank and Flipkart unique visitors.

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How many people shop on Flipkart? 100 million
Flipkart’s current share of India’s e-commerce market. 43%
Flipkart’s projected share of India e-commerce market by 2019 44%
Number of Flipkart Android app downloads 50 million downloads
Percentage of Flipkart’s traffic from mobile 50%
Number of products available on Flipkart 80 million products
Number of Flipkart sellers 100,000
Number of Product Categories on Flipkart 80 categories
Number of Flipkart employees 13,000 employees
Number of shipments that Flipkart handles monthly 8 million
Estimated valuation of Flipkart $11.6 bn
Flipkart’s peak valuation $15 bn (2015)
Amount of Funding Flipkart had raised $3.5 bn
Number of people that use Flipkart messaging service, Ping 3.5 million
The amount for which Flipkart bought Jabong $70 million
Number of Flipkart warehouses 21

Source – ExpandedRamblings

Whether it be selling goods worth 650 Cores INR on a single day (The Big Billion Day) or exclusive tie ups with companies like Xiamo Tech and Honor, Flipkart stands for converting every challenge into opportunity.

So how much does the startup benefit its employees.

If we talk about data from April 2015 to March 2016, India’s largest e-commerce company paid over 10 crore INR ($1.5 million) each to six of its top executive employees and over a crore each to 101 others, regulatory filings sourced by data platform Tofler shows.

Six of the highest paid people at Flipkart in fiscal 2016 were:

Name Designation Age (years) Work exp (yrs) Salary (Rs crore)
Mekin Maheshwari Chief people officer 36 8 35.3
Ankit Nagori* Chief business officer 31 4 21.9
Mukesh Bansal* CEO-commerce platform 41 18 21.8
Sameer Nigam* Senior vice-president 39 10 17.7
Amod Malviya Chief technology officer 35 8 11.7
Rahul Chari * VP – engineering 38 11 10.1

* Indicates employees who left during the year.
Source – QZ.com

The venture’s journey from a small book selling platform to $3 billion in revenues inspires a generation of entrepreneurs and startups in India. In a country where stereotypes are major drawback, Sachin and Binny managed to break the rules and change the way people shop in India.

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