Home / Companies / People /  Binny Bansal seeks to focus on mentoring and investing in startups

MUMBAI : Binny Bansal, the co-founder of e-commerce firm Flipkart, which is now part of the US retail major Walmart, “may remain focused on mentoring and investing in startups more than being an entrepreneur", he said on Thursday in a fireside chat at the two-day Mint India Investment Summit.

In 2007, Bansal, along with fellow IITian Sachin Bansal, had launched Flipkart with just 4 lakh as a book-retailing platform.

As the head of operations, and later in his role as the chief executive officer, Bansal helped Flipkart become a unicorn and compete with global e-commerce giant Amazon in the Indian market.

A few months after Walmart acquired Flipkart in May 2018 for $16 billion, Binny Bansal exited the firm, selling a major chunk of his shares in the company.

Soon after his exit, he started xto10x Technologies with fellow Flipkart colleague Saikiran Krishnamurthy, who had headed the e-commerce firm’s logistics arm eKart.

xto10x helps early-stage startups build capabilities in strategy, finance, and human resource management, among others.

Since his time at Flipkart, Bansal has made more than 30 angel investments. Some of his recent investments include a $12.5 million Series-B round in Mobikon, a seven-year-old software startup focused on restaurants and the food and beverage industry.

Bansal has also invested in gold loan startup Rupeek and has also backed insurance platform Acko, image-processing firm Terraview, and health startups SigTuple, Niramai and Pandorum Technologies. He has also put his money in venture capital firm 021 Capital.

Bansal said he wants to apply his learnings from the Flipkart journey to guide upcoming startups. “When we founded Flipkart, there were very few technology startups and fewer people to learn from. So, we made every silly mistake possible. There was nobody to guide us in things such as managing scale or human resource functions. So, by 2012-13, we were helping other founders with their journey."

After tasting their initial round of success with book delivery and electronics, the Bansals didn’t think twice before expanding to multiple online retail categories in 2011, he said.

“The year 2012 was miserable for us as we weren’t ready for the complexity of multiple categories," Bansal said.

For now, Bansal, who has shifted his base to Singapore, is on a well deserved vacation with family.

“For more than a decade I didn’t have vacations where I could mentally switch off. Now, I will focus on family and continue mentoring entrepreneurs. It’s a hobby," he said.

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