The Sachin Bansal-Binny Bansal combine has been an inseparable poster-duo of India's flourishing e-commerce industry ever since they founded Flipkart in 2007 and then let it through an audacious growth and path-breaking investments.
So what did Binny Bansal make of Sachin's decision to cash out of the company they founded together? Sachin encashed his 5.5 pc holding in Flipkart for over $1 billion. Binny continues as group CEO and will take on Sachin's role as chairman as well.
"I'm very emotional about this. More than anything else it's a very emotional moment for all of us, not just me. Sachin and I go a long way. Before Flipkart started. We met in 2005 when we were passing out from IIT-Delhi. Both of us met in Bangalore. A group of 8 friends from IIT-Delhi were staying together in a flat. We used to hang out together all the time. We were the best of friends in that group," Binny's Bansal said at an Editors' roundtable in New Delhi.
Bansal went on to reveal that Sachin was looking to work for Amazon and he joined Amazon and then referred Binny also to Amazon. "He even got a referral bonus which he had to pay back because I left in 8 months," says Binny.
"We decided to start the company together. We would do whatever it takes in the business. He and I would ride on my bike 40-50 kms a day in Bangalore picking up books of various distributors, coming back packing them. If I just go back 10 years, it's just amazing how we started, what we did. Through the last 10 years the one thing that helped both of us was shared values and making sure that we do the right thing for the customers, solve every problem, the technologies. And we really made sure that we are thinking big and audacious and our teams are thinking really big and audaciously. And both of us have been a pillar of support for each other. A lot of Flipkart's values today come from strong beliefs that Sachin has. That will continue. It's a sad moment for me to see him part ways and not being with us for the next phase," says Binny Bansal.
On whether he tried to persuade Sachin Bansal to stay on at Flipkart, he said, "That's an understatement. I did."
Meanwhile, Sachin Bansal himself bid adieu to his colleagues at Flipkart in an emotional post on Facebook saying: "Sadly my work here is done and after 10 years, it's time to hand over the baton and move on from Flipkart. But I'll be watching and cheering from the outside - Flipsters, you better continue to do a good job!" Bansal wrote in the post with equal measures of nostalgia and encouragement. "I'll be taking some long time off and focus on finishing a few personal projects which I haven't been able to find time for. Will catch up on gaming (and see what kids are playing these days) and brush up on my coding skills."
But with one founder exiting, Flipkart won't ever be the same again.