Big Billion Startup by Mihir Dalal


Mihir Dalal

  Startup, Flipkart, Leadership, Strategy

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A detailed and dramatized account of the entire journey of the Big Billion Startup- Flipkart

The book reflects on the aspect of Flipkart that most Indians are not familiar with i.e the internal operations of the company, its numerous impediments it faced, its near-death escape in 2016 etc. The book is about the founders Sachin and Binny Bansal and all other professionals who played a significant part in Flipkart's climactic rise as well.

The founders
Sachin Bansal believed in dreaming big. He was more towards the intuitive spectrum as he mostly relied on gut feelings to arrive at conclusions. He didn't possess interpersonal skills either which is what would eventually lead to his decline in the sights of senior investors. 
On the other hand, Binny Bansal was well composed. He depended more on his execution skills, making him more approachable. The IIT Delhi graduates got to know each other only in Bengaluru. They stayed in the same apartment complex and worked at Amazon.

The start
Sachin and Binny had started Flipkart in 2007 from an apartment house in Koramangala in Bengaluru with Rs 4,00,000 of their personal money. Business in the country was ruled by obscure companies despite years of liberalisation. Success derived from the ability to keep regulators pleased.
Internet entrepreneurship was deemed as a fragile ambition, destined to fail. Disbelievers included many VC firms in India. 

For a long time, making it seemed to be impossible for the startup. These early years were accompanied by many setbacks. They couldn't convince their friends or investors to join their mission. In 2009, following their rejection by every venture capitalist in the nation, it had taken them longer than 18 months to draw a noble sum of $1 million. A few months later, Lee Fixel, a fund manager at Tiger Global took interest. Within weeks, an investment of $10 million was finalised. 

The Journey
The Bansals would come a great way towards proving their vision. Flipkart constantly focused on customer experience, adding new product categories, offer heavy price cuts and offer vast reach. The company was doubling every 3-6 months. 

The author goes on to describe the political tensions the developed between the founders and CEO Krishnamurthy. The environment is depicted as a battlefield at the top level among aspirations between investors and employees. The hierarchal framework was constantly restructured every few months. Flipkart continued to grow despite these circumstances. But certain rifts between different ideas, principles, ambitions etc seemed to have affected Flipkart's ultimate goal of becoming a $100 billion company as eagerly promised by Sachin Bansal in 2014. This book goes into further detail of such accounts of the ups and downs of the company and how they eventually were bought out by Walmart for $16 billion. 

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