KUNAL SHAH – The man behind Snapdeal and Freecharge

35
Kunal Shah

Kunal Shah- Age and Family

Kunal Shah was born on 20th of May, 1983. Coming from Entrepreneurial; he decided not to opt for the same BTech and MBA option. Thanks to his entrepreneurial calibre, realization soon dawned upon his mind that ‘one doesn’t need MBA degree to become an entrepreneur’. He was an MBA dropout from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) Kunal Shah belongs to a business family which primarily deals in pharmaceutical distribution in South Bombay. He got married to Bhavna Shah who is a freelance Graphic Designer.

EARLY LIFE

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Wilson College in Mumbai and briefly pursued MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of management studies before dropping out. He started his career as a junior programmer at a business process outsourcing start-up (BPO) called TIS International Inc in 2000. Kunal Shah’s start-up venture was a company named Paisaback by 2009, which provided cashback promotion for organised retailers. He also worked for the company called “Tandom advance device Pvt. Ltd”. It is a company mainly involved in Healthcare Insurance and Accounts Payable projects. He worked there for a period of 10 years. He got hit with an entrepreneurial rage and went on to something new. The days he worked in the company Paisaback he created Paisaback as on the grounds of Cashback. He would try to tie up with localised centres of companies like McDonald’s, Barista Coffee, Dominos, Croma to offer cash back offers to the customers which were referred by Paisaback. But the model didn’t last long and got defeated by online players like MySmartphone, CouponDunia and others.
He got an idea to work that there should be less of the conventional business model and introduced something new to disrupt the system. He left Paisaback behind and laid a business model for a better product which would also help the company to make a profit. He founded Freecharge with his co-founder Sandeep Tendon in august 2010. Sandeep Tandon was an investor who hired Kunal Shah at his BPO company. Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tendon recognised each other and made a strong thousand plus outsourcing team together.  Investors didn’t want to buy the idea at the time. In 2011. Sequoia Capital India cut a $3million cheque to the company. In subsequent rounds, the company has raised nearly $120 million.

Kunal Shah Career

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Kunal Shah’s journey also started at a very early age. Kunal Shah founded Freecharge in 2010 along with Sandeep Tendon seeing the potential on online recharging in a growing market. In April 2015, Freecharge was acquired by Snap deal for an estimated amount of $400 million. He was appointed as the new CEO of the company.
. Kunal Shah also worked for the company called “Tandom Advance device Pvt. Ltd.”, a company that mainly involved in Healthcare insurance and Accounts Payable projects. He was promoted as the new Business Head in the company named “Tandon Advance Device Pvt. Ltd.”. His joined first start-up venture was a company named Paisaback by 2009, which provided cash-back promotions for organised retailers in India. By 2010, Kunal Shah could see himself ready to take a leap into entrepreneurship.

Challenges Faced

One of the challenges that Kunal Shah faced was the germinated from the widespread perception in the venture capital industry that “recharge is a bad business: because of low margins and suppliers concentration. It seemed it was difficult to start a new firm in an industry where the idea of Kunal Shah was not respected.

Real Success

With 87 million combined registered users between Snapdeal and Freecharge, 8.2 million daily unique visitors, 4 million engaged hours, 15 million store cards, combined with Snapdeals GMV of $4 billion. Freecharge is now set to become a dominant player in the M-commerce industry.

STARTUP LESSON

“A few percentages of a $ 400MN business is better than 100% of shit”, said by Kunal Shah.