Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal strongly believes that success is the outcome of risk taking and failures. Bansal says his entrepreneurial journey taught him that failure is a big part of success and strongly advocates the development of an entrepreneurial mindset from the beginning, even from the time that one is a student.
Bansal was addressing a virtual conference organised by the New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM), sharing his experiences on the institute's 28th Founders' Day.
He says there is immense opportunity everywhere for budding and passionate youngsters who want to be entrepreneurs, especially in the startup world.
Initially, Binny and Sachin Bansal started off by selling books. This went on to become hugely popular, eventually transforming into one of the largest online bookstores in the country.
“After the success of our online books business, we decided to venture into the electronics segment. We thought that it too would be very successful. Soon we realized that people were hesitant in paying for electronic items as it involved big-ticket purchases in the range of Rs 10,000-20,000. They wanted to pay only after receiving the product. On the other hand, books were in the lower price range and people did not mind paying Rs 300 to 400. After the setback we went back to the drawing board, revisited our electronics strategy and later it succeeded,” Bansal said.
He said realised the importance of digital payments, experimenting with many internal digital platforms before they acquired PhonePe. “We took a calculated risk as digital payments were different from the e-commerce segment. Now, PhonePe is one of the most successful digital payment platforms in the country. One should believe in what one is doing. Ever since I was in IIT Delhi, I was looking to do something which I was passionate about,” he said.
Bansal, currently based out of Singapore, emphasized the fact that in the world of business, things keep changing fast and one has to adapt to the changes and keep learning and unlearning. Bansal pointed out that at a time Flipkart when they were struggling to meet their numbers they realised that a two to three year old strategy will not work and one will need to keep changing it regularly.
He observed that by keeping Myntra and Flipkart fashion as separate segments helped them grow as both of them cater to different segments and both of them scaled differently.
“We kept Myntra separate from the beginning. We wanted to leverage each other's strengths and capitalise on them separately. We knew that electronics and fashion are the segments that will grow immensely in the future in the e-commerce space and that is what has happened,” said Bansal.