Snapdeal And Directi CEOs Try To Impress A Potential Employee

When it comes to selecting a company, things can get very confusing. Especially when one has been extended an offer from equally great companies at the same time, the decision to choose one over the other can be a crucial and life-changing one. People consider factors like the pay offered, stock options, their own personal convenience and/or suggestions by friends.

Abhishek Anand, a Quora user decided to take to the famous question-answer platform to get the community to help with which amongst startups Practo, Quikr,  Snapdeal or Directi he should join. As is usual, the Quora community jumped in with their opinions, analysis and personal experiences to help Anand make up his mind. Amongst the 38 replies his query received, there were a few notable replies that Anand wasn’t probably expecting.

The CEOs of Directi and of Snapdeal personally replied on the thread and took this opportunity to impress a potential employee in Anand.

Bhavin Turakhia, Directi CEO suggested that as an individual there are only two things one needs to ask when choosing a career path.

Directi-ceo-reply-quora

He went on to elaborate on how Directi makes the above happen. He took the opportunity to highlight how Directi has always focused on challenging questions and disruptions. He touted Directi’s web presence, its contextual advertising business and its luminous clientele, and the domain registry business. 

Directi is probably the only company that has been immensely profitable and remain so for nearly two decades. We are the only company that has never had to take on any external investment, and yet have created value of over half a billion dollars. We have zero debt, healthy assets, and a consistently growing topline.”, a proud Turakhia added.

Turakhia went on to praise the team and culture at the company, citing the values, environment and opportunities provided at the company.

working-at-directi

 

On the other hand, Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO Snapdeal kept it short and suggested the following things to be kept in mind while making a decision about a company.

1. Is the company solving a super massive huge problem in our country that you are excited about?

2. Are the people at the company such that they offer something for you to learn from and have a shared value system/cultural fit with you?

3. Can the scope and scale of the company potentially offer you a variety of opportunities over time so that you can choose to change roles but not companies?

4. Does the CEO of the company respond to your Quora messages at midnight to ensure you join his team? :-)

While this user got umpteen other replies from employees at both Snapdeal and Directi, other than the CEOs’ themselves, interestingly Quikr or Practo didn’t see much representation.

Anand recently edited his Quora query to update that he’s glad to have selected Directi, after all. While Kunal Bahl’s reply won the thread with 14,000 upvotes compared to Turakhia’s 1500, looks like the gushing comments from other Directi employees were a solid complement to the CEO’s personal involvement on the thread. Bhavin Turakhia’s other famous example of a personal involvement in employee relations is the personal thank you letters to the parents of the selected candidates.

Jeff Bezos Personally Thanks Customers After Amazon Becomes Most Visited E-Commerce Site In India

Amazon’s Indian customers received an unusual mail in their inboxes today. Instead of mails about Amazons’s latest products and discounts, this mail came directly from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

In his letter addressed personally to every customer, Bezos thanks them for making Amazon the highest visited e-commerce site in India within two and a half years of its launch. The letter supports the claim with a report from ComScore that compares Amazon’s stats with Indian local rivals like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Jabong.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.25.07 pm

As late as October 2014, Amazon trailed Flipkart, Snapdeal and Jabong in terms of unique visitors. Cut to a year later, and it is ahead of all its peers, having recorded 30 million visitors this month compared to Flipkart’s 27.5 million. Amazon’s sales in 2015 have quadrupled since the last year and the company expects India to overtake Japan, Germany and the UK to become its largest overseas market besides becoming the quickest to reach $10 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in the company’s history.

The letter comes at a time when the e-commerce war in India between the biggies Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon is heating up. In the recently concluded Holiday Sales, all three had offered jaw-dropping discounts advertised heavily to woo the Indian consumer.

12164855_10156218051670360_1432424902_o

Amazon’s experience of over 20 years in e-retail seems to be helping it pull ahead of its competitors Snapdeal and Flipkart, both of which had head starts in India. Flipkart was founded in 2007 and Snapdeal in 2010, but Amazon, having set up shop in the country in late 2013, has rapidly risen above its peers.

Flipkart Suffers Rs. 2000 Crore Loss In 2015

After the euphoria of the Big Billion Dollar Sale in which Flipkart made a record number of transactions, claimed a record number of sales, and celebrated its success by splurging crores on a party that featured Akshay Kumar, comes a sobering note from the accounting department. The company registered a loss of Rs. 2000 crore this year.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 3.42.22 pm
Flipkart founders with Akshay Kumar at the company’s celebration of the success of its Big Billion Days sale

 

Flipkart had incurred losses of Rs. 715 crore last financial year. Flipkart has been hiring aggressively and providing generous employee perks, which caused its employee expense benefits to rise to Rs 476 crore. Flipkart’s sales though increased threefold, from around Rs. 2800 crore in 2014 to Rs. 10,300 crore this year. 

Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal have been engaged in a brutal price war in a bid to attain a bigger slice of the Indian e-commerce market. All three retailers have been attempting to draw customers through extravagant promotions, heavy discounts, and flexible return policies. All three retailers are currently running in losses.

“The current model of Flipkart doesn’t make any economic sense as any company selling goods below manufacturing cost without any margin will always attract customers. But a sustainable business can’t run like this and Flipkart needs to look for alternate revenue models such as advertising and data selling to make money,” said the CEO of a leading retail group told Times of India.

Ravi Gururaj’s QikPod’s Intelligent Locker Networks To Help Ecommerce Deliveries

QikPod will launch a network of intelligent lockers for delivery of ecommerce parcels to online consumers across the metros. Parcel Locker is a unit that is installed alongside neighborhood delivery and collection box units or in conjunction with Post Office Boxes in a retail facility that is used for parcel delivery. The startup venture will be launched by serial entrepreneur Ravi Gururaj  backed with a $9 million funding from Flipkart, Delivery, Accel Partners and Foxmobile.

ravi gururaj

Ecommerce companies will hugely benefit through the intelligent parcel locker system, which will help avoid costs of redelivery when customers are not physically present, will reduce carbon emissions through shorter and fewer delivery routes, thereby smoothening the last-mile parcel delivery. Ecommerce companies believe that as much as 10% of their shipments can be implemented through the parcel network.

According to the CEO of Delhivery, Sahil Barua, “We will now be able to fulfill to a location of customers’ choice even when the customer is not physically present and also save the cost of re-delivery.” Thus Intelligent parcel lockers are much more convenient than home deliveries. “A connected locker is a simple and effective solution to this problem. For consumers, there will be no more hassles of payments, returns, coordinating timings with delivery boys and for the e-tailers, this will finally enable true economies of scale,” stated Accel Partners’ Prashanth Prakash. The lockers will integrate technologies such as internet of things with a sound logistics system at the back end.  Foxcomm will supply the lockers to QikPod.

Ravi Gururaj expressed his belief that the parcel locker network would be capable of handling about 33% to 50% of the parcels across India’s metros, and hopes to build the world’s largest parcel locker network with 50,000 plus lockers across major metros in India.

Quikr Ventures Into The Entertainment Industry

From a cross category classifieds business, Quikr has now ventures into the entertainment industry, partnering with filmmakers. It has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with filmmaker Vivek Bohra and casting director Aadore Mukherjee, to launch a platform for actors, casting directors, and production houses. The new platform will unite the different entities which  meet to cater to the needs of the entertainment industry. 

quikr-logo

According to Founder and CEO of Quikr, Pranay Chulet, “The whole Quikr journey started seven years ago when I was busy making a film in the US. While making the film, I used Craigslist to recruit more than 50 cast and crew members in the US, but for the scenes to be shot in India, I realized India had no such platform. We are excited to partner with them to infuse the passion of film crazy India with our experience in building digital marketplaces.”

He further stated that both the partners, Vivek Bohra and Aadore Mukherjee live and breathe films, which made it exciting for Quikr to tie-up with them and “to infuse the passion of film crazy India with our experience in building digital marketplaces”.

Aadore Mukherjee elaborated, “We see huge acceptance for this idea not just in Bollywood but also regional cinema, television, theatre, advertising and even international film production. With Quikr technology at the core of this idea, we are definitely on our way towards something big.

Snapdeal Finds Support From Unlikely Quarters After Aamir Khan Fiasco

The Indian e-commerce industry is a highly competitive space. The stakes are high, and the participants often lose no chance at one-upsmanship with their rivals. Snapdeal had famously ribbed Flipkart over its app-only strategy, with CEO Kunal Bahl calling it the “most customer unfriendly move”. Snapdeal Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran had snarkily posted a screenshot of the Flipkart website being down during the app-only sale with the caption, “Guess this is a part of the app-only strategy”. But with Snapdeal under fire from from irate users following brand ambassador Aamir Khan’s comments, the company found support from unlikely quarters.

Flipkart CEO tweeted in defence of  Snapdeal, saying that Snapdeal wasn’t responsible for Khan’s comments, and shouldn’t have had to face the backlash it did. Users had submitted hundreds of 1-star reviews on Snapdeal’s app on the Google Playstore, demanding that Khan be fired as Brand Ambassador following his comments about rising intolerance levels in the country. 

Flipkart CPO Punit Soni also tweeted his support.

Flipkart is no stranger to users giving its app for reasons that are alien to the company’s performance. Earlier this year, Flipkart’s app had been inundated with 1-star reviews following the company’s stance which appeared to violate net neutrality principles.

Flipkart’s public support for its rival is a heartening sign that India’s startup ecosystem is maturing. Companies might be fierce competitors, but that doesn’t stop them from speaking out in support of other entrepreneurs when they’re being unfairly treated.

ShopClues Looking To Raise Rs. 1,320 Crore; Go Public

Online shopping store Shopclues is looking for funds to the tune of Rs.990 to 1,320 crores so as to double its estimated worth in less than a year. According to Sanjeev Aggarwal, senior managing director at Helion Ventures which has a stake in Shopclues, the company may also go for a public offering to achieve its objective. “We feel we could be the first ecommerce company to go public,” added Agarwal.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.55.08 PM

ShopClues ranks fourth in the ecommerce domain, behind Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm. In January this year, the company was funded to the tune of $100 by Tiger Global Management. In Shopclues latest hunt for funding, participation is again expected from Tiger Global. This was confirmed by Radhika Aggarwal, chief marketing officer at Shopclues, who declined to comment on the valuation or potential share price.

In the industry, soaring valuations have become a cause for concern amongst fund managers, who are reluctant to part with their money, unless the business models are on firmer and more secure footing. In recent times, many startups have been faced with a cash crunch, coercing them to layoff employees, which has been resisted by the latter.

According to Radhika Aggarwal, Shopclues has a differentiated model since it focuses on margins, vendors and unstructured categories, thereby growing a strong business. She states, “we ship almost one-third the orders of Flipkart and half the orders of Snapdeal and our entire employee strength is about 850.” Non-electronics items account for more than 80% of Shopclue’s sales. In some categories the margins are as good as 25%. Competitors focused on electronics were operating on margins of less than 5%.In the financial year ending 2015, Shopclues soared to 79 crores from 31 crores in the corresponding year, whilst its losses also grew from Rs.38 crores to 100 crores.

In June 2011 in Silicon Valley, Shopclues was founded and began operations in India from Gurgaon.

Flipkart’s Biggest Investor Picks Up 2.44 Million Shares In Amazon

The biggest investor in Flipkart – Tiger Global Management – is reported to have picked up 2.44 million shares in Amazon, Flipkart’s biggest rival in India. The move makes Amazon Tiger Global’s second-largest public holding company.

Investor conflicts in venture capital are not rare, with Tiger Global Management being one of the umpteen investors in Amazon. The firm is one of the most prolific e-commerce and tech investors in public and private markets around the world. At various points in time, Tiger has held stakes in China’s Alibaba Group Holdings and Facebook.  

amazon india

Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has plans to invest $2 billion in India, over a period to fulfill Amazon’s ambition of overtaking Flipkart and emerging as India’s largest ecommerce company. Flipkart currently holds the number one position in India, having raised over $2.5 billion since the past 18 months, with Tiger funding more than 1 billion.

Tiger Global Management was founded by Charles Coleman in New York as recently as 2001. It also has offices in Being, China and Mumbai, India. The firm has shown an annual return of 21% and currently manages $4.4 billion worth of assets.