Flipkart has nearly 10 such entrepreneurs, mostly in senior management positions, handling diverse roles across verticals.
Having roped in college graduates both from home and abroad, home-grown e-tailers like Flipkart, Myntra and Urban Ladder are now scouting for former entrepreneurs to fill their top ranks. The rationale is clear: Given how they’ve built businesses from scratch, such entrepreneurs are able to mesh with the start-up fabric. At the same time, being responsible for a vertical gives them a sense of ownership. Flipkart has nearly 10 such entrepreneurs, mostly in senior management positions, handling diverse roles across verticals such as technology, supply chain, marketing and retail.
Having built a business themselves, the entrepreneurs are drawn to e-retailers because they get a free hand to run the operations. Besides, working with a challenging and aspiring peer group also adds to the charm at a time when e-commerce companies are setting themselves ambitious targets.
For instance, Ranjith Boyanapalli, founder of online marketplace BuyThePrice, which was acquired by Tradus, went on to become a director at Flipkart, heading its B2B business and the gift cards category.
Dhaval Gat launched Transgenez, a KPO, in 2009 but left three years later owing to differences with investors. In April 2012, Gat joined Flipkart and has risen in the ranks. “I was head of operational excellence for the supply chain vertical but three months later I was heading the operations. Also, I was manning the chief of staff role, which included strategic planning, executing the key programmes, acting as an adviser,” Gat said. He also heads customer support and experience at Flipkart.
Close to a fifth of online furniture store Urban Ladder’s team comprises former entrepreneurs, some handling key portfolios like sourcing and engineering. “We believe entrepreneurs come with a lot of learning and experience that helps them take independent and quick decisions and lead teams more effectively,” said COO Rajiv Srivatsa. Rushab Sanghvi, vice-president, category management at Urban Ladder, had launched The Stiff Collar, an online apparel store, with a group of friends in 2010. They parted ways two years later and Sanghvi, who knew Urban Ladder co-founder Ashish Goel personally, chose to join the furniture e-tailer.
According to Ritika Walia, business head, Designer Corner, Myntra, who had launched a fashion portal for designer wear, PRET-AMODA, in 2009, “It’s important the vision of the individual and the company are the same. The environment should facilitate the creativity required for that vision.”
Pooja Gupta, Myntra’s vice-president for human resources, pointed out that there were a handful of entrepreneurs with experience working across various departments. “Most of them handle mid- to senior-level management roles and manage a team. These entrepreneurs can work across functions, under constraints and are not single-domain specialists. They are highly ambitious, open to experiments and willing to work with limited resources,” Gupta said.
Ravi Gururaj, chairman, Nasscom Product Council, believes those who start a company, even if they fail, are able to take decisions making and work with limited resources. “They are agile thinkers, move fast and don’t mind working for others. So the traffic is both ways. They learn a lot during the entrepreneurship days and then go back to a job which is normal and is great news for companies,” Gururaj pointed out.