Flipkart’s Ex-CPO Punit Soni Hints That The Company Won’t Survive

Since the beginning of this year, Flipkart has been fighting on all fronts. The company has fought the mutual funds who’ve slashed its valuation (“We don’t give a shit about this, Executive Chairman Sachin Bansal had said), it’s fought the IITs and IIMs who’ve chastised it for delaying the joining dates of their students, and it’s fought the media, which has been largely critical in its reporting. But now Flipkart might have to fight its battles on a whole new front – its own ex employees.

Flipkart Chief Product Officer Punit Soni finally left Flipkart this March after rumours had swirled about his impeding departure since January. Since leaving, Soni has been diplomatic in his interviews, calling Flipkart a great place to work and saying that he’d had a great time there. But now he’s hinted that Flipkart’s future might not look all that rosy.

Soni seems to say that there will be only one big winner in E-commerce, and it will be a one horse race. Right now Indian e-commerce is a three way race between Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.  When questioned, Soni even went on to say that he didn’t explicitly mention Amazon.

But while political correctness might prevent Soni from taking any names, one can try to deduce what he thinks. It turns out Soni is quite bullish on Amazon.

A few weeks ago, Soni had suggested that Amazon won’t acquire any companies in India. For it to not acquire any companies in India, it has to survive in India and be among the top few players. If Soni thinks that there will be only one big winner in India, there’s a good chance he thinks it’s Amazon.

Which means that he think that Flipkart, the current leader, will eventually fall by the wayside. 

Soni is even ready to put his money where is mouth is.

If a month ago Punit Soni wanted to go out and buy Amazon stock, that’s a pretty clear sign he thinks it’s going to do well. India is an important market for Amazon, and Soni couldn’t possibly think it’s going to fall by the wayside there if he willing to put his money there.

And since leaving Flipkart, Soni has also been raving about Amazon at other instances.

While an ex-employee is perhaps not the best judge of his former company, Soni’s opinion on Flipkart would be hard to dismiss. During his time at Flipkart, Soni would’ve had a ringside seat to Flipkart’s operations and finances. Having intimately worked with both Sachin and Binny, Soni would’ve had a unique perspective on the future of India’s most-talked-about company. That should give his gloomy outlook on Flipkart some credence.

And lots of other people seem to share his skepticism. There’s no dearth of experts who say that Flipkart will be outflanked by Amazon, and the general opinion online seems to echo that thought. India’s most valuable startup sure has a lot of detractors at the moment – it’s up to it to prove them wrong.

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