Flipkart is indeed one of the biggest ecommerce giants that did not boom over night. This start up paved path to every entrepreneur, startups, and any budding young minds, and gave them the guarantee that they can make it big in business with bold moves. Lets go find out what happened behind the scenes that Flipkart reached the heights never imagined.
To break down the mighty mystery, Mihir Dalal, a revered start up wrieter and the chief of Bureau at Live mint, is here. Lets hear from him about the tricks and twists Flipkart had to make to beat and shake the ecommerce stream.
As an Indian, what is the first name that comes to your mind when I say startups? I'm not sure about what you thought. But I definitely have Flipkart on mine. And I think most of you would have it too, right? And it's no surprise Flipkart does hold so much value for all of us. It is that teacher that you respect the love for entrepreneurship in me, which gave me the confidence that it is possible in India now. Well, I have made the call with us, the Revit, startup writer who has authored the book, big billion startup to talk to us about Flipkart, and much more.
Good morning, you're listening to SOS secrets. Secrets of storytellers is a podcast, where I interview authors and writers from the world of business, literature and many more. Don't miss out the last section where we get to know secrets from the storyteller themselves. Hi, Mihir. Welcome to secrets as storytellers How are you?.
Great pleasure to have you. So how has the lockdown been for you Mihir? Did it give you a lot of peaceful time to write?
Great. Great. So Mihir, you subtitle, the book, The Untold Flipkart story, do you think the behind the scenes picture is way too different than we know of, you know, on the outside?
Right, right. So I understand, you know, we only know probably the headlines, but the details of it, or what has really gone behind each incident, which we hear of are not probably known to the general public.
I think the bigger picture, yes, certainly, you would know, you would not know, you know, the story story, you know, the, what goes on behind the scenes between people, you know, what, what are the interpersonal events or interpersonal experiences that shaped, you know, the events that finally come out that we see as news stories. So those are things that, you know, do not really come out in any meaningful way.
Right, right. Great that you could write those stories and about those internal interpersonal stories that you mentioned. So, thanks for that. So maybe you you have done about 250 or more interviews for the book, if I'm not wrong, right. Was there at any point During these interviews, you heard something totally bizarre for even you to believe.
Wonderful. And were the people who were trying to deceive you in some manner.
Why did it happen?
Right. Right. And you're right, when you say that, you know, two individuals, two engineers, starting to do business and that to when they were no rules, you know, the rules are not set of this game in India, at least they they are the ones who set the rules. Yeah. So I think beyond just the fact that, you know, they are the biggest m&a deal in India, that are much, much more for the entire startup scenario in India, I guess.
Yeah. So in the book also has a lot about how ruthless the entire funding scenario at Flipkart was, like you were discussing, and why it sounds so glamorous on the outside. Is it generally this way for all of the startups is well, is it this complex and difficult?
Right right, and Flipkart has often been called, you know, an Amazon copycat. In some ways, they might have taken some ideas given, you know, both Sachin and binny worked with the Amazon at some point. But do you think you're totally taking away the credit by doing so? And rather not just Flipkart, but from every other such startup who takes motivation from you know, other business models? In some ways?
Yeah, and I think not just in the US in India, also, we had a couple of startups like India art, and all of those are, I think, India, india.com. And all of that, which never, never worked.
Besides the context. I mean, the US context is so much more developed already. Right? And with India, getting to tier two, tier three cities, setting up that kind of a supply chain is so much more difficult than just what looks on the outside the ecommerce platform. Right. So I think they've done much, much more than we probably even imagined or we understand.
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, again, if you just go back to 2000 789 10, you know, in flipkart formative years, at that time, even venture capital investors in India, you know, these guys who own startups, they never believed that engineers, you know, could, like, handle success. Yeah. Like, they had no faith that engineers could, like, you know, manage businesses that had very complex operations, right, their thing was that, you know, engineers are, like, very good at coding and, you know, running a digital only platform and all that, right. So, so Flipkart just kind of broke all these, like fallacies and, you know, just like showed that it's not like how it is, it's not like what investors think that, that you know, that no matter, you know, if they're engineers, or whoever, but they can actually run, like very complex operations, businesses as well, because this is again, you know, a very global phenomenon. Globally, we have seen it in US and China. And of course, in India, that, you know, it's not necessary that you need a certain degree, to run an internet business. Of course, the most famous example is Steve Jobs. But so many examples, you know, where even if you have an engineering degree, you actually can preside over a huge operations business. So Flipkart is the first one to actually, like, bring all these global trends to India, and show that, you know, these global trends will also be true in India.
Right, right, Mihir, we often hear, you know, the way these startups in India are establishing themselves is probably not a recipe for a long run, you know, because it's still some time to see them prove themselves to make profits right. For for a business. Do you feel there? Is something fundamentally wrong in the approach? Or is it just that it's a different way of doing things and is yet to be proven?
All right. Yeah. Right. Right, you know, my, my next question was actually, around that. The same thing that he said in the lawsuit, the startups have been heavily dependent on only funding to survive a lot of startups, and the pandemic kind of changes scenarios on that front. Do you think startups in general will have a tough time ahead in India?
I hear actually a silver lining, you know, in while you're explaining it, so,
Great. So, me, this brings us to the last in the concluding section of the podcast. This is an interesting one, it's common across all the episodes. And I asked you one secret about the book, or about your journey as an author while you were writing the book that you've probably never shared before. So what would you like to share with us?
Okay. Okay. Yeah. Well, okay. That's, that's a good story. Great story. Great. Thank you so much for sharing that. And thank you so much for taking your time to do this. I hope you enjoyed this session. We loved it. And thank you for clarifying a lot of things, which probably or people would not have known. Thank you once again.
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