Earlier this month, Reliance Industries Limited initiated the process to acquire 87.6% stakes in fashion ecommerce website Fynd for INR 295 Cr ($42.33 Mn).
Fynd cofounder Harsh Shah called it the “beginning of the next chapter in our lives.” Shah pointed out the Fynd would continue to work independently and move ahead on its “existing product roadmap, clients and customers,” while engaging with Reliance on retail tech.
And it looks like one of the reasons that Fynd has retained this independence is the clear process-building, management discipline and data-led approach that it has used to guide its growth.
Founded by Shah, Farooq Adam, and Sreeraman MG in 2009, Fynd helps consumers purchase fashion products from retailers, which are not typically sold online.
The Pitch That Got Reliance On Board
In an earlier pitch deck to Google, Fynd cofounder Adam had said, “We are techies and selling doesn’t come naturally to us. We believe that data and our work should speak for itself. Unfortunately, everything cannot be built overnight and as founders, we need to articulate what the future holds to the world before it has happened. This is why it is called a pitch.”
Besides Google, Fynd has attracted investors such as Kae Capital, IIFL, Singularity Ventures, GrowX, Tracxn Labs, Venture Catalyst, Patni family office and HongKong based Axis Capital among other angel investors.
But when Shah created the deck that would eventually get Mukesh Ambani’s attention, it was not about finding a buyer. The deck was meant to inspire other new startups in their approach to building a business and it impressed enough people to find a way to the top at Reliance. Shah’s pitch passed through JioGenNext head Amey Mashelkar and Vatsal Bavishi, investment director at Cornerstone Venture Partners.
In the deck, Fynd took an unconventional route; it laid stress on the founders, their ideals and expectations from the team to show organisation building, instead of taking a marketing approach and talking numbers and growth.
“I looked back at the 6 years of our journey and always valued the help we got in setting up the team and the company far more than any other tactical advice,” Shah added.
The pitch has 26 slides in the deck titled “Discipline and Process Setting”, which has guided how Fynd works on an everyday basis and how each aspect of the business should function.
“No one should ever be in the dark.
Clear line of communication & trust
NO EXCEPTIONS, especially not for founders.”
To start with the deck focuses on how discipline is not just about the team, but also about founders. This includes what individuals can expect from the company. The section talks about honesty, fiduciary discipline as well as discipline in decision-making, about learning and upskilling, a data-driven approach and a healthy work environment.
“PEOPLE – PROCESS – PRODUCT
Move from one to the other earlier than you need
Set up for 10X scale”
Next up, Shah dwells on the processes across the company to ensure productivity and discipline. It starts off by talking about the infrastructure which is the foundation for reliability and scalability. It highlights the need to build various aspects of the business around it for better performance. These include design, user engagement, operations, customer service, the core vision and brand growth.
It also explains how Fynd went about hiring people and the multiple rounds and levels interviews for everyone in every team. This also ties into inculcating discipline in the process.
The section also has briefs regarding meetings, etiquette, goals and performance management as well as the performance review and compensation process for all departments.
Before he summarised the deck, Shah took a single slide to talk about the books he recommends to other entrepreneurs. These include Good To Great by Jim Collins, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, Measure What Matters by John Doerr and High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove.
The slight ends with Shah’s parting thoughts, which focus on openness and sustainability, as well as being nimble to make the most of the opportunities.
“Honest about why you are in this.”
Fynd sources clothing, footwear, jewellery and accessories from prominent brands from over 8K outlets in India, and lets merchants serve customers better by acquiring new products. As it begins a new chapter with Reliance, Fynd will be looking to use these guiding principles to build on the success of its O2O model and align it with Reliance’s own ambitions in the ecommerce sector.