On Friday, Kalyan Krishnamurthy made his first public appearance at a TiE event in New Delhi, after becoming the CEO of Flipkart, the country’s largest e-commerce firm.
In a full-pack session with MakeMyTrip’s Deep Kalra, Krishnamurthy spoke at length about his association with Flipkart, why he never felt as an outsider, company’s future, sectors they are planning to enter and his view on mergers and acquisition in Indian e-commerce space.
Answering to a question regarding how it is to be an outsider CEO at Flipkart, Krishnamurthy said, “The company is 10-years-old and of those years, I’ve been associated with the company for six years. I believe, I’m professional, but I don’t entirely qualify for a professional CEO tag or a complete outsider CEO at Flipkart. I was deeply involved in the business since 2011,” he said.
“It is not that Flipkart was a founder-driven company and is now being run professionally. It’s very much in the same zone,” he added.
Krishnamurthy was brought in as Flipkart’s CEO after replacing co-founder Binny Bansal, who held the position for almost a year. Earlier, co-founder Sachin Bansal was the CEO of the company.
Talking about what all Flipkart did, in the last few years, which other companies couldn’t, Krishnamurthy noted, “Going with the ‘philosophy’ and building everything around it.”
“This philosophy or philosophies could be anything for anyone; turning profitable, having the best merchandise, so on and so forth. What we at Flipkart did well was to make a few philosophies since the beginning and sticking by it throughout,” he said.
On being asked about the business strategy at Flipkart, he claimed that instead of discounts or price matching, the company is focusing on initiatives like exchange programs, on-spot financing solutions to consumers and improving their experience overall.
Bringing an end to long-held speculations, he also confirmed that Flipkart plans to enter into the grocery space, which last year saw multiple startups shutting shops due to lack of unit economics.
“Yes, we will get into grocery. Eighty percent of units bought in India is a grocery. Approximately, $ 400-600 million is grocery market, so we have to get into it.”
Krishnamurthy also ruled out an offline foray, saying the company will focus only on online retail since the former required a completely different set of capabilities. “There are 300-350 million Internet users in India, but [the number of] transacting users are very small,” he concluded, hinting at the still-nascent online retail market.
TiE is recognized as a global organization fostering entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking and education. TiE Delhi-NCR is amongst the largest and most vibrant chapters across the vast TiE network. In the last 15 years, it has continuously taken the lead and hopes to build on its strength to create an increasingly positive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and investors. BoringBrands, a 360-degrees marketing organization that focuses on changing consumer perception towards brands, was the digital media partner of the event.