Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How I met the team of Myntra.com led by Mukesh Bansal?

There is lot of speculation going on about Myntra's merger talks with Flipkart, and India's booming ecommerce sector. Things were just taking off 7 years back, when around March-April 2007, I took a flight to Bangalore from Mumbai. The purpose was simple - due diligence meeting with team of Myntra led by Mukesh Bansal, CEO and founder. 
A few days prior, Sasha Mirchandani had shared with me the investment proposal of Myntra, and the vision was simple - "The Power of One" - how to deliver a unique, customized product to Indian customer. Internationally, websites like Cafepress and Zazzle were doing wonders, and I had a call with Mukesh on the potential of his business model in India. The first thing that impressed me about him was that he was very humble, down to earth yet very strong and convincing. He had worked in USA after passing out of IIT Kanpur and the desire to do something in India for India was strongly coming across.

I spend some time looking at Myntra website, which was pre-launch and there were little bit of omissions, spelling mistakes etc. and I promptly informed Mukesh. By the time I reached Bangalore for the face to face meeting (Facebook is ok, but face 2 face is must!), most of them were taken care of.

When I reached HSR Layout office of Myntra - it was in a 2 storey building with ground floor as a home (with a baby playing and crying alternately) and 1st floor as an office with few computers and young team coding away. I sat in a small room, which was converted into a meeting room, and listened to Mukesh's grand vision of ecommerce and Myntra. Shortly, he invited all his 6 other co-founders and we had an intro one by one. Some of them turned out to be friends of friends from my own IIT days! What was clearly visible was that there was a special bonding among them, while clearly Mukesh was the leader. It felt awkward for me that I was the one doing due diligence on such a bright team, and trying to discover any red flags, which were not there.

Then we took a round of the office, where I saw how printing is done on a plain t-shirt (using a hot press), then Mukesh himself packed it and marked it for delivery.

We went out for lunch and it was a great experience seeing the hospitality of the team.
In a few months, the deal was finally done - Accel Partners were co-investors along with few other angel investors. It was 31st of August when my boss, Gulu Mirchandani, wrote 3 cheques for Myntra, Canvera and TAS. And it was a great feeling for me personally to have overseen all the investments!

What I learned from Mukesh Bansal?
1. Commitment - we used to have a tele-conference for 15 minutes every week, usually around 9 AM on Tuesday, and I remember once Mukesh took the call from Singapore where he was about to board a flight. There were no excuses, postponements or round and round stories. Commitment is commitment!
2. Work ethic - right on the 5th of each month, we would get a presentation having 10-12 slides containing monthly performance updates, and future plans. And the sheets were clean, precise, relevant - nearly perfect. I have never seen such methodical work from any other CEO in my life.

Few years later, Myntra pivoted to a fashion ecommerce business model, and has never looked back since that time. We rarely stay in touch, but I am grateful that part of my experience comes from what I learned from their team, and I wish all the very best to Mukesh and team Myntra!

If you need any help in connecting with Mukesh or Myntra's team, I will be glad to make an email introduction.
I have met over 30000 people personally, and everyday I will tell a story about someone who has been a part of my life. If you have a suggestion or feedback, feel free to connect with me on my social networks or mail me.

Till then, just be awesome!