As if phraseologies like ‘drug mafia’ or ‘movie mafia’ weren’t exciting the hipsters enough, that even a legally run business had to be suffixed with this dreaded jargon ‘mafia’! Flipkart we know is the ‘don’ of online shopping in India (only figuratively we mean, don’t you worry). But why and how did this term, mostly associated with crime, got associated with the most cherished Indian startup after all must be more interesting to find out.
This lingo was invented around 2007, for a set of former PayPal employees, who teamed up after quitting their jobs to ideate, fund & found leading tech companies of the world such as Tesla, Inc., LinkedIn, SpaceX, YouTube, Uber, Airbnb, Yelp et all making fortunes of money. Money talks – as they say – and it was sort of scream in this case because in just a few years, half a dozen of those tech-preneurs became billionaires. Quite a story isn’t it!
So obviously when a bunch of former Flipkart-ians aka ‘Flipsters’ did the same i.e. build bold tech startups employing their innovative ideas & investing their genius selves, they were called ‘Flipkart Mafia’. Yeah! Lot many of them were millionaires soon after, if you were wondering.
Why Flipkart? Because it looks for ‘audacity’ in its employees - Entrepreneurial spirit & skill set that is
In the words of its ex-COO himself -
No wonder so many of its employees went on to become successful entrepreneurs, he adds. Apart from that, he also claims that Flipkart has a very open culture. One which weighs ideas above ranks. Also a deeply engineering technology driven outlook which searches for knack for problem solving as a major quality in its people. No doubt such an ambience bred quite a few notable founders & their inventive startups. Let’s take a look.
Not all dreams come true but Flipkart mafia has more than a few great ones
It is not us who are proclaiming it merely out of some ‘new India / startup India’ themed optimism, nor it is the govt of India published data which says so but market, businesses and direct customers & consumers who have placed their faith in these tech startups founded, funded or supported by Flipkart mafia (Flipsters). List is long, so we picked some of the most talked about.
Let's look at the Startups Founded by Flipkart Mafia
Udaan was founded by former Flipkart employees Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar, Vaibhav Gupta, this startup perfectly fits its name ‘Udaan’. That is to say, Udaan gives wings to millions of entrepreneurs running India’s micro, small & medium size enterprises that are blood & bone of Indian economy.
It is one of the largest Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce platform connecting retailers, traders, wholesalers, manufacturers, importers etc. Utilizing the power of internet. Using Udaan businesses can,
- Buy and sell on their own terms while payments, security & logistics are handled by the company;
- Grow and discover by accessing new regions & markets;
- Connect in their own language with prospective buyers/sellers via personalised real-time chat facility. Thus it makes doing business easy, convenient and also efficient.
Navi Technologies is an emerging Unicorn that taps into the immense potential of BFSI (banking, financial services & insurance) sector having created a lending app which gives paperless personal / home loans to consumers with click of buttons.
Navi Technologies is founded by Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal, conceptualized by him right after Walmart bought Flipkart in Dec 2018. Having raised a $500+M in 5 rounds of funding by 14 investors in just 2 years. It sure has vital investor confidence.
How can we not talk about this mobile payment app which revolutionized digital payments in pandemic hit 2020? Taking on Paytm wasn’t easy when ‘Paytm karo’ jingle became synonymous with digital literacy.
It was acquired by Flipkart within a year of existence says a lot about its acceptance as a one stop solution for all kinds of transactions, by all kinds of users i.e. individual as well as business users.
And it sure is gaining popularity, reveals its growth figures - >25 Crore users leading with 40% share of all UPI transactions. It has raised over $1B investment so far, one but all from its parent Flipkart.
Having the privilege to witness India’s growth story so closely Burzin Engineer, Rahul Chari, Sameer Nigam have certainly made something to be extremely proud of!
Investing is a futuristic goal, likewise a startup in this sector in India is futuristic too. Out of a billion people, less than 1% invest in share market. Sensing the need of you & me to invest in return rich stocks, mutual funds, gold et al from the safety & convenience of our homes this online venture was started by Harsh Jain, Ishan Bansal, Lalit Keshre & Neeraj Singh.
10+M users already and some who vouch for it claim that it makes investing simple and fun. What more can one ask for when it comes to managing our savings & finances!
Rent, ride & return is what Vogo says. Whether you are new to the city, or you don’t want the headache of owning an automobile, or you are on a short vacation wanting to explore the city without getting stuck in mindless traffic – worry not because Vego will rent you a bike from the word go. All you need to know is how to ride a two-wheeler.
$180M in funding from 21 investors, this dock less rental service is the brain child of Anand Ayyadurai, Balakrishnan Padmanabhan & Sanchit Mittal. Technology has clearly inspired some great ideas to kick start.
Fitness is something that fires the imagination of youth as much as money, fame & love because one naturally flows from the other. A fit body houses a fit mind, is an adage as old & as true as science itself. Yet, importance of good health can never be over stressed. Cure.fit takes this into consideration and has designed multiple fitness programs for each type of customer – the dance lover, Yoga enthusiast, meditative type or the diet freak. Online classes as well as physical fitness centres. They have it all.
No wonder it picked up like a rage among millennial who have no time or opportunity for health tips from multiple sources but need one wise website to do that for them. Quite a generation shift eh? Ankit Nagori, Mukesh Bansal are responsible for pushing this shift further. Going by the no of investors showing interest in this venture (32) & no of acquisitions it has already made (8), this company looks pretty healthy & why not!
Suki isn’t a Chinese app neither a China based company. Our very own ex-Flipkart members Punit Soni, Anshu Sharma & Karthik Rajan visualized this next gen AI powered voice-enabled digital assistant for doctors. It is Headquartered in California, US.
Suki aims to assist healthcare workers in their routine tasks such as dictating notes, retrieving info & other mundane admin tasks. Now, doctors could focus on managing diseases, not files.
What about the others?
Is that all? Are there only so many startups worth a mention? Rest of all poised to fail? must be the kind of thoughts crossing your brain possibly. Of course not! We can’t possibly list them all in one blog or piece. There are several great ones like -
i. xto10x technologies: Yes, helping companies, basically startups, scale their operations from 1-10 is no simple business. Binny Bansal has co-founded this one knowing it fully well with personal experience
ii. Arzoo: A B2B e-commerce platform for consumer electronics, empowering & connecting retailers of 100+ brands in 20+ cities with 5000+ stores. This out-of-box retail tech company was started by Khushnud Khan & Rishi Raj in 2018 and is already making news all over
iii. Playment: An AI startup for businesses to help machine learning engineers build datasets for training
iv. Runnr: A B2B platform offering hyper-local logistics service, now acquired by Zomato
v. GrabOnRent: Yeah! Just grab on rent any furniture, appliance etc. out of thousands to choose from in multiple categories. Currently operating in Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Hyderabad, you sure wish this company comes knocking on your door soon
We can go on but we won’t, because if this fantastic array of ideas converted into companies hasn’t inspired you already, what possibly will?
Was Flipkart inspired by Amazon?
Flipkart, the e-commerce giant of India is founded by two ex-Amazonians Sachin & Binny Bansal. So clearly Amazon was the inspiration behind its inception. So much so that even Flipkart began as a bookstore.
How many startups are there in India currently?
India has around 50k startups going by the latest govt stats. Out of these, nearly 10% are tech based startups making India 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world.
Why do most startups fail?
Approximately only 10% startups succeed while 90% fail in general. Why do they fail is a matter of in depth research. Few arresting reasons would be fund crunch, lack of product/market research and an unviable business model.
Why was Flipkart sold?
Apart from the Walmart’s $16B lucrative deal which they couldn’t turn down, why did the founders decide to sell it, is open to assumptions & theories.
How soon can a company reach unicorn status?
There’s no absolute number but on an average Indian companies/startups are reaching this status much sooner than a decade or two earlier.
A story alone cannot make you think out-of-box, But it can make you believe, can make you dare, can remove that little/ large doubt or fear of failure stopping you from taking that plunge.
Let me also admit that we all need to hear stories of ‘firsts’ who took the road no one else had taken before; of ‘heroes’ who took the risk none dared to take; of ‘history makers’ who were passionate enough to dismiss any & every undesirable thought blocking their view or way.
A great reason for this could be the founders/entrepreneurs of today, like the ‘Flipkart mafia’, who put to use their tech/product & management learning and insights when they start their own ventures. This ensures higher rate of success for companies too.
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