Flipkart is now officially integrated into Walmart, after Walmart’s acquisition of the e-commerce giant for Rs. 1,34,000 crore, making Flipkart officially India’s “big billion” startup story.
In addition, the acquisition had a whole lot of firsts:
- Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart is the US giant’s biggest acquisition in the e-commerce space.
- The Flipkart acquisition deal is the biggest exit in the Indian startup space.
- The deal is the biggest foreign investment in an Indian company.
So, it’s no wonder that this deal has become a hot topic and it’s time to celebrate Flipkart’s incredible journey.
But, things were not so rosy for Sachin and Binny when they took their first steps into the world of e-commerce as an online bookseller 10 years ago. The future e-commerce giant opened for business in a 2 BHK in Koramangala, Bangalore with the founders taking a very hands-on approach by delivering the books themselves.
An Iconic Partnership
Binny (left) and Sachin (right) were friends at IIT Delhi, before they became Indian e-commerce moguls. The two friends then went on to work at Amazon, which they quit to start their own venture.
2007: The First Version of Flipkart’s E-Portal
Being computer programmers, Sachin and Binny hand coded the first version of Flipkart’s portal. Over the years, Flipkart kept up with the trends and updated their UX and branding to match modern and contemporary trends.
Lots of Promotions Later, the First Customer Arrives
Both Sachin and Binny were actively promoting their fledgling startup. Sachin posted the below comment on 21 October 2007 on a tech blog which got the founders their first customer. The blog was maintained by V V K Chandra from Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh, who had not seen anything like the duo’s startup before. He promptly ordered a copy of Leaving Microsoft to Change The World by John Wood.
Stories are always better with a twist and here’s the thing: Flipkart didn’t stock that book. Binny shot an email to Chandra, notifying Flipkart’s first precious customer that the order would be delayed and reassuring Chandra that the book would be delivered within two days. Binny eventually procured the book from Sapna Book Store in Bangalore and shipped it over. And, the rest is history, as they say.
Flipkart’s First Employee
Ambur Iyyappa was working as a delivery boy with First Flight couriers before the Sachin and Binny hired him for Rs. 8000 12 years ago. At first, Ambur was doing about 100 deliveries a day in Bangalore and Binny remarks that a lot of the code he wrote in the beginning was all about automating his dedicated employee’s processes.
I call him a human ERP. A lot of code I wrote in the early days was about automating his processes. https://t.co/eomAlFWxDh
— binnybansal (@binnybansal) January 11, 2016
This humble man who began working as a local delivery manager is now a multi-millionaire.
Flipkart’s First Awesome Office in Bangalore
Being Hands-on Founders
In May 2014, the Founders Expanded Their Empire by Acquiring Myntra
Over the years, Flipkart upgraded their brand (they had six logos in eight years), introduced their own delivery system (Ekart), and blossomed into India’s first e-commerce giant.
But, after many years of hard work, partnership, and success, the Jai and Veeru of the Indian startup scene are now parting ways. While Binny has decided to continue with the company, Sachin sold his 5.5% share in the company for USD 1 billion and has decided to exit.
“More than anything else, it is a very emotional moment for all of us. Sachin and I go a long way. We met in 2005 when we were passing out (of IIT, Delhi). Both of us moved to Bangalore. We were a group of eight friends from IIT Delhi and we used to hang out together all the time and we were best of friends,” says Binny wistfully.