Flipkart success story: Ever wondered behind those quick deliveries and confidential packaging, Flipkart has had a long road over the years. No joking with the challenges they had to puts themselves in before the success meets.
What started as an online bookstore from a two-bedroom apartment in Koramangala, Bengaluru in 2007 has today has grown into one of the biggest companies in India. Its a benchmark is far set as an incredible example of the success potential for Indian start-ups from Bengaluru.
The Journey that unravelled the biggest ties…
2007: Flipkart as a baby was pioneered by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, who originally met in 2005 at IIT-Delhi, launch an internet business called Flipkart on September 15, 2007.
Working as an online bookstore, the platform promises to deliver books anywhere across India. Despite difficulties, Sachin and Binny pull off the delivery and manage to close the year with 20 successful shipments. Flipkart is officially in business.
2008: The baby steps to take flight towards an exponential growth Flipkart explodes onto the e-commerce scene. With word-of-mouth publicity, driving the platform’s popularity sharply upwards, it became a big hit.
With rapidly growing interest in Flipkart, Sachin and Binny launched 24×7 customer service to deal with the platform’s growing consumer base. Flipkart closes the year with over 3,400 shipments successfully delivered.
2009: A year of firsts, 2009 is a year full of firsts for two-year-old Flipkart. The company’s meteoric growth attracted the attention of venture capital, and Accel Partners becomes the first VC firm to invest in Flipkart, with an investment of $1 million.
It expanded its presence across India, opening offices in Delhi and Mumbai, and within the year, the company’s headcount grew to 150.
Flipkart also crosses an important milestone by opening pre-orders for the first time. The chosen book? Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.
2010: COD, Ekart were pioneers in bringing the Cash-on-Delivery payment option, letting consumers pay for their orders in cash upon doorstep receipt of their ordered goods.
Flipkart also introduces a 30-day return policy and expands its product categories to include Music, Movies, Games, Electronics, and Mobiles. 2010 also sees Flipkart make one of its first acquisitions, in social book recommendation portal WeRead.
2011: A truly pan-Indian delivery network Flipkart’s steady growth continued, with shopping categories expanding to include Cameras, Computers, Laptops, Large Appliances, Health, Personal Care, and Stationery.
The platform launched its own digital wallet, as well as a 30-day replacement policy and acquired Bollywood content portal Chakpak’s digital catalogue, Mumbai-based music streaming,digital content platform Mime360.
2012: From Desktop to mobile friendly, Flipkart goes mobile in a big way, with the launch of its own native mobile shopping app. The platform also receives PCI DSS Certification, allowing it to store card details for consumers securely on the platform, and giving users the ‘Saved Cards’ feature when checking out.
Flipkart’s expansion continues at a steady pace with the acquisition of online electronics retailer Letsbuy, the launch of Fashion, Perfumes, Watches, Menswear, Toys, Posters, and Baby Care categories, and you name it.
2013: Welcome to the third-party marketplace, Flipkart decided to expand its services, adopting a marketplace model to bring third-party sellers onto the platform.
Flipkart manages to sell 100,000 books in a single day. In a bid to go global, Flipkart begins accepting international cards for transactions. A new Woman’s Lifestyle category is introduced, and the company raises $360 million across two separate funding rounds.
2014: Big Billion Day is here! 2014 is a big year financially for Flipkart, with the acquisition of online fashion retailer Myntra and majority stakes in after-sales service provider Jeeves and payments platform Ngpay.
The company raises $1.9 billion across three separate rounds and ends the year with a valuation of $11 billion, also becoming the first Indian Internet retail firm to register Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $1.9 billion.
2015: Brand refresh 2015 is mostly business as usual for Flipkart, with several new launches, acquisitions, and fundraising rounds.
Over the course of the year, the platform launches Home and Maternity product categories, the Ad Platform and Strategic Brands Group in a corporate rejig, and the data-light mobile website Flipkart Lite.
2016: Milestones, corporate reshuffle, and more The year start with Binny Bansal taking over as CEO of Flipkart from Sachin Bansal, who becomes the firm’s Executive Chairman.
A few months later, TIME magazine names the two Co-founders among their 100 most-influential people in the world. Flipkart celebrates two big milestones – the first Indian mobile app to cross 50 million users and crossing 100 million registered customers.
2017: Reaching new heights and breaking glass ceilings, Flipkart breaks tradition by appointing its first-ever non-founding CEO, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, while Binny Bansal takes over as Group CEO.
PhonePe, launched the previous year, sees rapid adoption thanks to the demonetisation movement, and crosses 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store.
Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft, and acquires eBay India in exchange for equity – eBay continues to function as an independent entity. In August 2017, SoftBank’s Vision Fund invests $1.5 billion in Flipkart to become one of its largest shareholders. And then 2018 and 2019 is a question of media buzz we all know…
- FYI, Japan’s SoftBank is currently the largest investor in Flipkart with a 23-24 per cent stake, along with early backer South African media
- And Internet giant Naspers, which holds 13 per cent.
- Other investors include New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global, US private-equity firm Accel Partners, China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp.
- In terms of financial statistics, Flipkart Group’s consolidated loss attributable to owners of the company in fiscal 2017 widened to Rs 8,770 crore, from Rs 5,216 crore a year earlier. Consolidated revenue jumped 29 per cent to Rs 19,855 crore in fiscal 2017.
- Flipkart bought online apparel retailer Myntra in a deal pegged by sources at about $300 million in 2014, and another fashion retailer Jabong for $70 million in 2016.
- It bought payment startup PhonePe in 2016. In exchange for an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay agreed to make a $500 million cash investment in and sell its eBay.in business to Flipkart in 2017.
Change in leadership
- Re-iterating that Sachin was Flipkart’s CEO for nine years. In 2016, Binny Bansal took over as CEO as Sachin became executive chairman.
- Last year, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, previously an executive in Flipkart investor Tiger Global, took over as Flipkart CEO.
- Binny Bansal became CEO of the whole group, which includes fashion portals Myntra-Jabong, payments unit PhonePe and logistics firm Ekart.
Coincidence? I think not. https://t.co/UwNLNJpU48
— Sachin Bansal (@_sachinbansal) August 7, 2019