“Building Flipkart into one of the world’s most-valued tech companies will certainly be one of Sachin’s legacies. But, perhaps, a more fulfilling legacy will be that Sachin was instrumental in bringing a smile on the faces of millions of people every time they saw a Flipkart wishmaster at their doorstep,” writes Binny Bansal in a recent blog post published on the Flipkart Stories website.
In a fitting tribute to Sachin Bansal, who bid adieu to the Flipkart team after 11+ years of nurturing the company, Binny’s blog post touched upon the fondest memories of the cofounders of India’s first ecommerce unicorn, which will also be remembered for one of the significant exits in the Indian ecosystem and the biggest ecommerce deal in the world.
Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related) started Flipkart in 2007 as a humble online book store. From getting their first customer all the way in Telangana from Bengaluru to setting the stage for Indian ecommerce and building a mafia of its own, the duo’s achievements are uncountable. Moreover, the duo went off creating their own Flipkart mafia wherein over 207 startups are founded by ex-employees of Flipkart. Backing 49+ Indian startups, almost three startups are added to the gang every month, taking the Flipkart Mafia’s strength to a massive 250+ startups.
This could not have been possible without Sachin, says Binny. “Sachin will always be seen as the face of that new, tech-powered Flipkart. A visionary, Sachin was instrumental in making Flipkart a tech-driven company, and ensuring the latest innovations were developed in-house and deployed across functions — ranging from how customers interacted with the website or mobile app, to how orders were fulfilled, to creating a delightful customer experience,” he adds in the blog.
Sachin and Binny: When The Two Bansals Met
As Binny shared earlier in an interview with Flipkart Stories, he met Sachin for the first time while both of them were spending their summer at the FPGA hardware at IIT Delhi to complete their final year B Tech projects which were in similar domains. After graduating, Sachin moved to Bengaluru to work for an IT services firm; he later moved on to the payments group of Amazon Web Services. By this time, Binny had also arrived in the city, working at Sarnoff, until Sachin referred him to Amazon where they became colleagues in the same unit.
“It was hard to see how my work fit into the overall picture,” Sachin remarked in the Flipkart interview mentioned above. “Soon, Sachin quit, and I followed immediately after, to launch Flipkart,” he added.
A Friend And A Guide: The Lowdown Of Sachin’s Journey In Indian Ecommerce
Sachin was the CEO of Flipkart until January 2016 after which Binny replaced him as per an internal leadership shuffle. This was a time when the company was standing on the brink of losses and its strategies were all going haywire. Even in July 2016, Flipkart decided to lay off 700-1,000 underperforming employees when it saw a fall in its valuation by Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe, and others. But Sachin’s optimism did not let the negative sentiment spread within the Flipkart team.
After Sachin stepped down from his position, during an employee townhall meeting, he was bold and honest enough to say, “I am replaced as the CEO of the company because of the lack of performance. Look at the top level. Everyone has changed. Even I’m gone.”
But, as Binny says, it was Sachin’s long-term vision that led Flipkart to become one of the most recognized brands in India. The company being featured in the Times 100 List of 2016 was testimony to his achievements.
Over the years, Sachin has gathered admirers and well-wishers not only at the Flipkart camp, but in many industry stalwarts as well. Paytm chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma in a recent Inc42 AMA said Sachin was his one of the favourite entrepreneurs. “He is the reason this country has this bright vibrant startup ecosystem,” says Sharma.
Sachin Puts Up Emotional Post On Facebook
As Sachin prepares to exit the company he’s created with more than 10 years of hard work, he is optimistic about starting a new chapter in his life.
But walking away from one’s baby can never be easy. Sachin’s recent Facebook post speaks volumes of his emotional attachment to the company.
“Sadly my work here is done and after 10 years, it’s time to hand over the baton and move on from Flipkart. But I’ll be watching and cheering from the outside — Flipsters, you better continue to do a good job! I will always cherish the relationships I’ve built and amazing experiences I’ve had.”
Binny in his farewell post to Sachin talks about their IIT days, when Sachin spent his nights hooked to computer games. “Gaming was, in fact, what Sachin thought was his calling,” Binny writes.
Seems like Sachin plans to get back to his passion. “I’ll be taking some long time off and focus on finishing a few personal projects which I haven’t been able to find time for. Will catch up on gaming (and see what kids are playing these days) and brush up on my coding skills,” says Sachin about his future plans on FB.
As Walmart completes its acquisition of India’s ecommerce posterboy for a whopping $16 Bn, the industry is sad to see the two Bansals part ways. While analysts are busy speculating the reason behind Sachin’s exit, for the 29,000 people of Flipkart, saying farewell to their cofounder will certainly be difficult.
But as Binny aptly signs off in his blog post,
“For Flipsters, the words ‘audacious’ and ‘disruptive’ personify Sachin. He taught and pushed everyone to think big, take big bets, often guiding them to think for customers, for India. There wasn’t a milestone at Flipkart that Sachin didn’t celebrate. Wish you the very best for the future, Sachin. We will dearly miss you, even as we await eagerly to celebrate your upcoming achievements!”