Sachin Bansal – Life Story

Sachin Bansal Flipkart INSPIRECXO

Sachin Bansal Flipkart INSPIRECXO

Sachin Bansal had a lucrative job as a software engineer at Amazon. While working at Amazon, Sachin Bansal decided to start India’s own e-commerce website. It was a road less travelled and had uncertainties but it never affected his conviction. Sachin Bansal had profound interest in solving practical problems and thought that e-commerce in India can be much better. His old friend, Binny Bansal also joined him to create what now is the most famous Indian e-commerce startup – Flipkart.

Early Life and Education –

Sachin Bansal was born in Chandigarh on 5th August 1981. His father was a businessman and mother was a homemaker. He had completed his schooling from Saint Anne’s Convent School. Being a scholar who always scored well, Sachin was a propitious student. His family believed in inculcating good education and attaining success by excelling in academics. Bansal worked very hard for JEE preparation and went on to stand 49 in All India JEE rankings. Later, he got into Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. At one point in time, he wanted to be a professional gamer. Sachin Bansal soon graduated from computer science engineering and became a software engineer.

Career –

After completing engineering from IIT, Delhi; Sachin started working for Techspan Company. Bansal served there for few months until he got an opportunity to work at Amazon India as a Senior Software Engineer. At Amazon, he learnt the dynamics of e-commerce. Later, his friend Binny Bansal also started working in the same team. Within the timespan of around 6 months, both of them decided to quit their job to discover the possibilities of e-commerce in India.

The Flipkart Story –

Along with his partner, Sachin Bansal invested some money and started working on Flipkart. The duo launched the website sitting in their two bedroom apartment in Koramangala. It was primarily a residential area where Flipkart now owns multiple offices. They decided to kick-start the new company as an online bookseller. For 10 days, the site did not see even a single sale until a customer from Andhra Pradesh placed the first order for the book, ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change the World’ by John Wood.  In the early days, Sachin and Binny used to deliver books on their own scooters.

There was a dearth of money earlier but Sachin never fell short of passion. Moreover, he believed that Internet shopping has a great scope in India and deserved to be better. The Flipkart founder worked extremely hard and showed great marketing acumen in the early stage. They used to give away pamphlets of their company outside bookstores to target their actual customers. They were not thinking about numbers in the beginning and believed that something big could be built on e-commerce platform. Gradually, Sachin and his co-founder started observing exponential growth.

Challenges and lessons from Sachin Bansal’s entrepreneurial journey –

2012 wasn’t a good year for Flipkart. The delay in raising money for better valuations turned out to be wrong. The company didn’t show any records of growth till the end of the year. Sachin Bansal took it upon himself and got back to the board to regroup. He came up with ideas to reduce cost and make flipkart more appealing to the consumers. Many organizations would have decided to go public in such a situation. But Bansal decided not to. He believed in the growing market and shun the idea of raising funds altogether. The 2012 debacle came up with some lessons. Here’s what one can learn from Sachin Bansal –

  • Raise funds when they are available – Funds are essential for startups.
  • Limit yourself to a boundary – A creative entrepreneur may think that there are no boundaries, but in reality it doesn’t work that way. Having some constraints would help avoiding some mistakes.
  • Keep an eye on competitors – This may sound obvious but it is imperative to be competitive in the market and know about the market scenario.
  • Focus when the business is going good – Sachin Bansal believes that customer is the king. He advises that improvement takes place when things are going good and not when things are going awful.
  • Be receptive to criticism – Feedback and criticism from people of same field and customers are very productive and lead to improvement.
  • Identify focus area – According to Bansal, major focus area are market conditions and building team strength. Key focus area may differ from company to company. Entrepreneurs need to identify them.
  • Personal and professional life is different – The life of an entrepreneur may get very busy, but a person needs to differentiate his/her personal life from the professional one.
  • Look at the bigger picture – Things may seem difficult in the beginning but it is important to look at the bigger picture and the impact your business can make in future no matter how far it is.

Achievements –

  • In 2012, Sachin Bansal was awarded the ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ (ET Awards).
  • In November 2015, Bansal was named as the 86th richest person in India by Forbes India.
  • India Today has named Sachin along with his partner Binny in India’s 50 most powerful people of 2017 list.

Sachin Bansal has an impeccable knowledge of his field and an unassailable sagacity to make decisions. His journey with Flipkart is full of ups and downs but he has never dithered to face challenges and rise again. He has been honest in his role and had also stepped down as chief executive officer in 2016 on the basis of performance – a decision he truly supports.

Today, Flipkart is one of the richest e-commerce companies with revenue of Rs 15,264 crore for the year as on 31st March, 2017 and Bansal has played key role to bring the organization to this level. With his aspiring story and lessons, Sanjay Bansal is truly a role model for upcoming entrepreneurs.