When 37-year old Mukesh Bansal moved to India in 2007 after working for startups in the Silicon Valley to set up online fashion retailer Myntra Designs, there were few internet users and recruitment for startups was a challenge.
In an exclusive interview with ET, Bansal talks about Myntra’s strategy after its merger. Edited excerpts:
Never. Post-merger we have a clarity that the businesses have to be executed independently and preserve a different culture. Independently we see both Myntra and Flipkart’s fashion category as billion dollar businesses each in two-three years. While Myntra’s fashion offering continues to be more on the premium side. Flipkart offers an array of discounted fashion brands. Our goal at Flipkart is to win the horizontal battle while at Myntra we are striving to win the vertical battle. Teams will remain different for both.
Between Myntra and Flipkart, we are in a position (with the new investments), that we can take on any big foreign entrant. But the next 10 entrepreneurs in India’s e-commerce industry may not stand a chance if a dozen foreign entrants are allowed to set up shop. For any emerging country, the government should give some time for the indigenous companies to emerge.
At Myntra, we have started to think long-term as now (with large funding) we can afford to take long-term risks. About 60% of the investors had become common on both ends. And unless we could see the value in the merger, we did not pull the trigger. Myntra’s vision has got more realistic.
A strong founding team and great chemistry is very important. One needs at least four-five years to prove oneself as an entrepreneur. Within one-two years, you will most likely look like a failure. One should set himself up to go through a series of failures and be prepared for a long haul. One should be very clear about the business model the market size and the USP of the offering, even though it will get changed over time.
I see myself at Myntra for at least the next four-five years. IPO is not an immediate focus for Flipkart. Of course, it may happen one day. The focus for us is to create an extremely differentiated experience for our users. Any kind of financial exit will just be a reward on top of it.
Before starting Myntra, I used to visit India very often as part of startups I was working with. The more I came here, the more I got convinced that India held great potential. When I moved back to India in 2007, the biggest hurdle I faced was recruitment. Everyone wanted to work for a big MNC like an IBM. The trend is now reversed as talented people want to work only for startups.
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