Hailing from a business family, Kunal always knew he was destined to be an entrepreneur, but FreeCharge turned into something, he had never imagined. After studying Philosophy at Mumbai’s Wilson College, Kunal, an MBA dropout, started his career as a junior programmer at a startup. This is where Kunal met Sandeep Tandon, who not only invested in the company, but also became its co-founder.
FreeCharge was founded in 2010 as a mobile recharge and coupon firm where the customers get coupons worth the recharge amount; these coupons can be redeemed from the respective issuing merchants. Prima Facie, the business model still remains the same, but today you can recharge your Metro card, pay electricity bill and even shop at Snapdeal from FreeCharge.
Earlier this year, the company was acquired by online marketplace Snapdeal for about $400Mn. Today, together with Snapdeal, it reaches 87 Mn customers.
This month, Snapdeal launched “FreeCharge Wallet” a mobile wallet through its recharge and utility payments unit FreeCharge. Though FreeCharge does not own an open mobile wallet license as of now, the company has tied up with Yes Bank to launch its wallet and Fino tech for payment bank. The company has also received an “in-principle” approval for a semi-closed wallet and may launch its own wallet over time.
We caught up with Kunal Shah, founder and CEO of FreeCharge to know more about his journey, post-acquisition story and future plans for FreeCharge.
Here are the excerpts from the conversation: