NDTV's Indian Of The Year: Unicorns That Outshone Fantasy

NDTV's Indian Of The Year: Unicorns That Outshone Fantasy

NDTV’s Indian Of The Year: Unicorns That Outshone Fantasy

Their out-of-the-box thinking and futuristic approach made them the stars of India’s start-up economy, and the big winners of the evening were –Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, Quikr, Zomato and Inmobi. The young winners told their stories of ideas that were often dismissed as pipe dreams, but went on to become Unicorns, start-ups with a billion dollar valuation. Here is a snapshot of their achievements.

Quickr’s Pranay Chulet

A fan of Amitabh Bachchan, who sat in the audience today, Mr Chulet moved from Rajasthan to New York City armed with the ambition to make a Hindi film. “Life has a funny way of putting things together, I recruited 50 actors from a US website. But when I came to India to shoot portions of the film, I found no Craigslist equivalent. To fill that gap Quikr, a classified advertising platform, was born. Today it has listings for more than 1,000 Indian cities in categories like cell phones, cars, real estate and jobs.”

Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl

“At a time when everyone was spending billions on start-up ideas, I looked around for someone to provide – if not the capital – advice and trust. The person I thought of was Ratan Tata. I went and we had a little bit of discussion about the business… but my real objective was to prove to my parents and wife that I had gone to meet him… and I finally asked him for a selfie. Later, Mr Tata put up the initial investment for Snapdeal.”

Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal

Sachin Bansal, the creator of Flipkart, India’s highest valued startup that employs 33,000 people, sketched the journey of e-commerce companies over the last seven years. “When my wife and I started, a lot of e-commerce companies were there but when we went in deeper, we found nobody wants to shop on them. From there, we have come a long way… we have been solving those problems… from logistics and talent… to figuring out how to access customers.”

Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal

The wildly popular restaurant search and discovery platform owner sadly confided that he doesn’t get to eat out much. “Because if I get sick I can’t go to office and I can’t afford that.” Saying start-ups will make mistakes and learn from them he said: “Thrice we said we cannot do this anymore. But we continue for one more day and then it gets over and starts all over again.”

Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar

“I grew up in a family that was not so privileged that they can build large companies or bright futures… I gave up 40% of the company for 8 lakh rupees. In our country , even having a savings bank account is considered a privilege, this is what we want to change at paytm. Currency notes came a long time ago and the time has come that the smart phone can change the way we pay. Every month more than 60 million times we prove that currency is not the better way to pay but the smartphone is. Hopefully, one day this country’s billion people will belong to our platform.”

Inmobi’s Abhay Singhal

IIT graduate Abhay Singhal, who started mobile advertising company Inmobi in a room full of mattresses and today owns 24 offices, said it is all about dreaming big. His rule of thumb: “If it is so big that you are scared to speak it out, that means it is big.”

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