Bengaluru: On Wednesday, Sachin Bansal’s name was conspicuously absent from a Walmart statement announcing its $16-billion Flipkart acquisition, leading many people to note the acrimonious exit of the man long seen as the primary founder of India’s most valuable Internet start-up.
On Thursday, his fellow founder Binny Bansal put out a public letter addressing his co-founder, attempting to dispel the notion that Bansal’s exit was anything but amicable.
“Sachin will always be seen as the face of that new, tech-powered Flipkart. A visionary, Sachin was instrumental in making Flipkart a tech-driven company, and ensuring the latest innovations were developed in-house and deployed across functions—ranging from how customers interacted with the website or mobile app, to how orders were fulfilled, to creating a delightful customer experience," said Binny Bansal in a letter on Flipkart’s blog site.
News of Sachin Bansal’s exit on Wednesday did not come as a surprise and was widely reported by publications over the past few weeks. Mint reported on Wednesday Bansal decided to leave after a bitter fallout with Tiger Global Management’s Lee Fixel and Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy. Bansal wanted a bigger role after Walmart’s acquisition, but Krishnamurthy vetoed this, and Fixel sided with the latter, a former Tiger Global executive.
“Building Flipkart into one of the world’s most valued tech companies will certainly be one of Sachin’s legacies. But, perhaps, a more fulfilling legacy will be that Sachin was instrumental in bringing a smile on the faces of millions of people every time they saw a Flipkart wish master at their doorstep," said Binny Bansal in the letter that was mostly bland in tone.
The Bansals (not related), who both hail from Chandigarh and graduated from IIT-Delhi, started Flipkart in a two-bedroom apartment in Bengaluru’s upscale neighbourhood of Koramangala in 2007. They launched Flipkart as an online bookseller, taking Amazon as their role model. “Throughout the almost 15 years since we’ve known each other, Sachin has been a dear friend and guide. His biggest contribution, perhaps, has been in shaping Flipkart in its formative years," said Binny Bansal.
“For Flipsters, the words ‘audacious’ and ‘disruptive’ personify Sachin. He taught and pushed everyone to think big, take big bets, often guiding them to think for customers, for India. There wasn’t a milestone at Flipkart that Sachin didn’t celebrate," he added.