Posts Tagged ‘Flipkart’

LetsBuy plus Flipkart, the positive spin

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

FlipKart is acquiring But, there is way too much negativity and cynicism floating around. Let’s balance it out with some positive spin. The genesis of this post was this tweet:

People who have done it, never done it, have no plans of doing a startup, all together are calling a wolf in this deal.

This is the venture eco-system, this is how it is played. Companies are built, bought and sometimes brought down. Tejit, my previous startup went through two two (sic.) successive acquisitions in less than three years…and I’m still working. I am still below my quota of Fuck You money. Irrespective of what the end-game is, which seldom is a stalemate, the Silicon valley eco-system is built on two simple things:

  1. Every startup is a success
  2. No startup is a failure

This is exactly what needs to happen to India and this deal is one of the threads in arriving at that goal.

After the previous exits, I was able to raise my hand and fill a gap in the Indian startup ecosystem because of the startup experience. The shenanigans of doing one gave me enough confidence to do another one, though Morpheus was on the other side of the fence and helping people getting started.

The current consolidation of Flipkart buying Letsbuy, irrespective of the dilapidated state of the latter is a good thing. Why?

  1. It gives a necessary boost to the eco-system that bets can be paid off, when the vision is right but the markets are tough. If VCs are forced to write these deals off, it brings a black mark in their report card to their investors (LPs or Limited Partners). However, we as entrepreneurs need to keep the funding cycle alive and rotating every few years.
  2. Venture Capital is an between food chain of money flowing from people who have it. Why have a spock mark when you can avoid it? While getting a degree, it’s okay to get a summer (or suppli) as long as you come out in that 4 years. Some of the startups are like that failed exam but the venture eco-system allows for “exits”. Would you want the annotation of “suppli” in your degree? Nor do they.
  3. Entrepreneurs who did “okay” in the current startup become capable of taking even bolder bets. If the start-up simply fails, not that there are no learnings from the same, but parking an almost out of gas car securely is much better than leaving it in the middle of the road.
  4. For the uninitiated who do not understand the intricacies of the deals, it’s a positive story and brings more people to take the plunge and start their own venture.

Yes, it’s a good PR. Can be written in bold in the resume and can even make you a VC, irrespective of the nature of the exit. That’s how sweet these exits are.

Off-topic: The most worry-some part of the current cynicism is not just the angst against the deals but the so called keepers of the ecosystem advising entrepreneurs to keep away from investors and also advising them to bootstrap their startups to death. They are at total loss to understand that these are venture startups and not a “baniya ki dukaan.”

Flipkart, the e-commerce boom, the other view

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The valuation is maddening, crazy, 4,000 4,500 crores for an e-commerce startup which would get 10% net at best is even crazier. Yes, it is crazy but it’s also fearless at the same time.

You know what is exciting? Creation of a category, creation of demand. The fact that my dad calls me from a dusty little town of Dhanbad, after hearing about Flipkart. Adding to his belief that he is ready to shop online all by himself.

Nitty-gritty of the valuation is for fund managers, analysts, think-tanks and people who are not associated with the company or the deal, to take pot-shot at. I think they are plain wrong if they look at Flipkart with a single eye.

It’s easy to create a web-store online. Give me 10 minutes and I’ll get you started. But, it may take you a week to a month to collect payments online. Shipping & logistics is a much bigger challenge than accepting payments in India. If you are a mom-pop operator you can pack, ship, drop on your own. Think about shipping 5 books every minute. No courier company in India is efficient to track delivery and return with guarantees. was a technology play and they moved faster than people were adopting newer browsers and advancements to the web technology. Infact, the first version of Amazon did not use cookies!  Amazon got the shipping, logistics and payments infrastructure out-of-the-box, sans the web integration part — without worrying about theft, delivery guarantees and failed service-agreements.

People expect that a company in India, of Amazon scale, including it’s loyalty, personalization, great price and customer service can be built in thin air and without lots of money.


If history is any fortune teller, all bubbles/booms created long term markets and large categories. The Gold Rush created California; the semiconductor, networking and internet bubble in succession (re)created silicon valley multiple times. India’s OTA created air-travel for the masses. The Y2K bubble created Indian IT. And so on.

Hence, this is business as usual, which will lead to creation of large markets, giving people access to many items for the first time and killing inefficient distribution methods of yester-years. It’s a space to watch, participate. The forces of nature use elasticity to keep the bubble in check. IMO, the choice is easy and you can’t run around with pins. When there are bubbles, be like a kid or have the bubble gun.

Disclaimer: I don’t work at Flipkart nor have any direct stock holding nor the founders/management team have picked up my beer tab in the past.

Image lazily lifted from Wikipedia.

Flipkart & Infibeam make the same data entry error!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Recently, I was price-shopping to refill my cache of Tintin comics on two of my favorite online book shopping destinations in India, Infibeam & Flipkart.

To my chagrin I found that both the online retailers made the same mistake in the data entry of the title (or was it something else!) The first screen grab is from the second one is from Tintin Explores on the Moon Tintin Explores on the Moon Tintin Explores the Moon Tintin Explores on the Moon