A workaholic who avoids high-profile parties and shuns extravagance, Mukesh Bansal, CEO and founder of Myntra.com, the country’s largest online apparel seller, talks to us to about his business, his life and his vision for the company.
Mukesh Bansal began his career as a systems analyst at Deloitte Consulting in 1999, and spent about eight years working for four start-ups in the Bay Area, two of which, he has admitted in the past, didn’t take off. Before starting Myntra.com he says he used to visit India often as part of the start-ups he was working for and was convinced of the potential the country held. “By 2006, I was ready to start my own venture here and got excited by the idea of offering personalized products. I realized that there was no organized player in India doing mass-customization and in May 2007 we launched Myntra.com that focused on offering product personalization. By mid-2010, we saw that the fashion and lifestyle segment was growing faster than ever before, with a market potential to touch US $50 billion. We felt it was the right time to realign our strategy given the potential we saw in online retail, particularly in the fashion segment. Hence, we decided to transform Myntra into an e-commerce platform focused on retailing fashion and lifestyle products across apparel, footwear and accessories,” explains Bansal. Personally fashion conscious, he says it was his perception of fashion – a way of self-expression, which became an extension of his personality – that provoked him to transform the company into an e-commerce fashion platform. “My fashion sense has evolved over the years. I pay a lot more attention to my selection of clothes now. So, based on the numbers and the growth we have experienced in the last three and half years, the company’s bet on fashion e-commerce is surely paying off,” tells the dashing, well-dressed CEO. His business acumen is evident in his explanation of his business model. Consumer mentality and shopping patterns are changing very fast, he says. “Online shopping is going to become mainstream in the next five-six years. Therefore, we will witness exponential growth in the Indian e-commerce business, expected to reach around $50-70 billion by 2020 on the back of a fast growing internet-connected population and improvement in related infrastructure like payment and delivery systems,” explains the self-effacing Bansal as he speaks about the future growth of the company.
Entrepreneurship, according to him, is a long-term career. “One has to be flexible as the failure rate is high, so you need to be able to adapt and be committed for the long haul. Clarity about the business model is important. Some entrepreneurs get excited about the technology, but it is important to ensure that the business model works, else the funding will not come and it becomes difficult to grow,” explains Bansal. “To encourage talent, we have an ESOP policy. This is something I learnt during my stint at various start-ups in the Bay area. Most of the start-ups there had universal ESOP policy. It is an important tool to attract and retain top talent,” he advises.
Despite his net worth and stature in the business community Mukesh Bansal is one of those who avoids high profile parties and extravagant dos. He is passionate about staying fit and makes it a point to hit the gym at 5:30 am each day. Married, with two young children aged 8 and 4, his wife Archana is an entrepreneur herself and runs her own business. “I love spending time with my kids and also play golf occasionally,” tells the fashionable CEO who doesn’t relish divulging too many personal details about himself.
“The start-up ecosystem is ever-evolving, dynamically and rapidly. The future looks all the more exciting, especially now. What’s notable is an all-round development with rapid growth opportunities and shaping of work environments each and every day within the startup community of India. I believe start-ups will be a major contributor to the economic growth of the country.”