Flipkart Mafia & The Startup Empire Built By Them

Flipkart Mafia (Cover Image)

Flipkart Mafia is one of the most commonly used oxymorons in the Indian startup ecosystem. Really? Yeah! If you are a good observer, you would have noticed the way the Indian Entrepreneurs cherish the significant impact of the Flipkart Mafia.

Flipkart Mafia (Cover Image)

All of us are aware of the usage of the term “Mafia” either in movies or political scandals. It is scary enough to shiver the spine. 

Now the question is, how did this frightful term get associated with a successful legally run business like “Flipkart”? Sounds as if Flipkart is a “don” of an online shopping business in India! 

Isn’t it? 

But the irony is it is just a figurative term that showcases a trailblazing group of entrepreneurial minds who once shaped India’s e-commerce landscape. Currently, they’re spreading their innovative sparks across industries, igniting a legacy of disruption and success.

Now, it sounds quite relatable and logical! 

Why has the Flipkart Mafia become synonymous with entrepreneurship in the Indian Startup Ecosystem? You may wonder. Well, there is not just one or two but many reasons behind it. 

Curious to know? If yes, then go through this written account where we will decode the Flipkart Mafia and the startup empire built by them.

Let’s begin!

(A) What is the Flipkart Mafia?

The Flipkart Mafia is a league of visionary entrepreneurs who originally co-founded or worked at Flipkart, India’s pioneering e-commerce platform. After Flipkart’s monumental success, these trailblazers branched out, harnessing their expertise to launch and elevate diverse ventures. 

Their dynamic influence has rippled through India’s startup ecosystem. They ignited a wave of innovation in sectors ranging from fintech and edtech to logistics and healthcare. With Flipkart as their Launchpad, the Mafia’s indomitable spirit continues to reshape industries, leaving an indelible mark on India’s business landscape.

(B) Origin of Flipkart Mafia: Inspired by PayPal Mafia

No matter how many times we associate the term “Flipkart Mafia” with the successful entrepreneurial vision. You may still wonder about its origin. Don’t you? 

All right!

Let me explain its origin briefly. For why the phrase “Mafia” was added, are there any such entrepreneurial mafias or not, from where it got inspired, etc.?

The term “Flipkart Mafia” draws its inspiration from the concept of the “PayPal Mafia.” Yes, the American MNC fintech company!

(B.1) PayPal Mafia

PayPal Mafia

The PayPal Mafia referred to a group of former employees and early investors of PayPal who went on to become successful entrepreneurs and investors. This term emerged in 2007 to represent the formal employees of PayPal. Some of those notable companies established by them are-

Entrepreneurs  (PayPal Mafia)Former Position in PaypalCompanies Established & Invested
Elon MuskCo-founderSpaceX,
The Boring Company,
David O. SacksCOOGeni.com and Uammer
Roelof BothaCFOPartner of Sequoia Capital
Steve ChenEngineerYouTube (Co-founder)
Chad HurleyWeb DesignerYouTube (Co-founder)
Reid HoffmanExecutive Vice PresidentLinkedIn
PayPal Mafia

Thus, they played a significant role in shaping the tech and startup landscape in Silicon Valley.

Similarly, the term “Flipkart Mafia” emerged to describe a group of entrepreneurs who were associated with Flipkart in its early days. Later they went on to establish their successful startups. 

Just as the PayPal Mafia members used their experience and networks gained at PayPal to create new ventures. The members of the Flipkart Mafia leveraged their time at Flipkart to launch and grow their own companies. Thus, they contributed to the growth of the Indian startup ecosystem.

(B.2) Positive Aspect of the term “Mafia”

The term “mafia” in this context doesn’t carry any negative connotations. Rather, it highlights the influence, network, and impact these former Flipkart employees have had on the startup ecosystem. Much like the PayPal Mafia in Silicon Valley!

(C) Journey of Flipkart Mafia

Journey of Flipkart Mafia

Here comes the most anticipated part of this write-up. The successful journey of Flipkart Mafia. The following sections will highlight how the audacity of Flipkart’s skilled employees remarkably showcased their entrepreneurial spirit.

(C.1) The Birth of Flipkart Mafia: From Startup to Legend

The saga began back in the early 2000s. Two enterprising minds, namely Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal embarked on a journey that eventually flipped India’s e-commerce landscape. You must note that they are not biologically related. I mean, they’re not real brothers! 

Coming back to the point. Armed with ambition and a flair for innovation, they co-founded Flipkart in 2007. We don’t need to explain the success of Flipkart! Reason? We bet there would be hardly any Indian unaware of this e-commerce company.

The duo’s relentless pursuit of excellence laid the foundation for what would later be dubbed the “Flipkart Mafia.”

(C.2) Hatching Ideas in Flipkart’s Nest: The Creative Crucible

Flipkart Headquarters

Within the bustling corridors of Flipkart’s headquarters, a hive of brilliant minds was at work. They were shaping the Flipkart Company’s rise to prominence. Skilled individuals including engineers, designers, marketers, and business strategists collaborated tirelessly. Not only they refined their skills but also absorbed the entrepreneurial spirit.

The environment nurtured a unique synergy, where ideas collided and blended, incubating the seeds of future success stories. Do you know who played the main role to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of Flipkart? Its co-founders! 

(C.3) Mentorship and Learning: The Flipkart Legacy

Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal weren’t just co-founders; they were mentors. Their leadership and guidance inspired a generation of young professionals. With a spotlight on innovation and customer-centricity, they cultivated a culture of learning. This nurturing atmosphere became the catalyst for the Flipkart Mafia, as employees imbibed invaluable lessons and honed their entrepreneurial instincts.

(C.4) Ventures Born from Experience

As Flipkart surged ahead, a natural evolution occurred. The pioneers who had played instrumental roles within the company began to set their sights on new horizons. Fueled by their learnings and driven by ambition, they ventured out to establish their startups. This was the birth of the “Flipkart Mafia.”

(D) Entrepreneurs Belonging to Flipkart Mafia 

Let’s look at the notable startups founded by former Flipkart employees and Flipkart Mafia companies-

Entrepreneurs (Flipkart Mafia)Former Position in FlipkartCompanies Established and Funded
Sachin BansalCo-founderNavi Technologies
Binny BansalCo-founderX to 10X Technologies
Sameer NigamSenior VPPhonePe
Sujeet KumarHead of OperationsUdaan
Amod MalviyaCTOUdaan
Mukesh BansalHead of Commerce & Advertising BusinessMyntra and Cure.fit
Ankit NagoriChief Business OfficerCure.fit
Lalit KeshreSenior Product ManagementGroww
Harsh JainPart of the Product Management TeamGroww
Neeraj SinghEngineering Manager
(built the customer returns and refund system)
Punit SoniChief Product OfficerSuki
Shivakumar GanesanVPExotel
Siddharth MallSenior Business AnalystPlayment
Ajinkya MalasaneSenior Business AnalystPlayment
Manish S SugandhiSenior Business AnalystGrabOnRent
Flipkart Mafia

It looks like a never-ending list. Isn’t it? Well, there are over 233 entrepreneurs sprouted from Flipkart. The former employees of Flipkart are called “Flipsters.” 

(E) Flipkart Mafia Companies

Let’s go through some of the famous Flipkart Mafia Companies-

(E.1) Myntra


Myntra’s Fashionable Foray and Mukesh Bansal’s Triumph were a perfect pair! Mukesh Bansal, one of the first-generation Flipkartians, recognized the untapped potential in the fashion e-commerce space. Drawing from his Flipkart experience, he co-founded Myntra in 2007, propelling it into a fashion-forward powerhouse. The lessons learned during Flipkart’s ascent were pivotal in shaping Myntra’s journey. Do you know Myntra was one of the successful business pivots in Indian history? Earlier it used to sell personalized gift items. Later on, it expanded its portfolio to fashionable apparel and lifestyle products.

(E.2) Udaan

Udaan Business Model

It was a B2B “Beacon of Success.” The saga continued with Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar, and Vaibhav Gupta, Flipkart’s tech stalwarts. They embarked on a new mission – to revolutionize B2B commerce in India. Drawing inspiration from Flipkart’s customer-focused approach, they launched Udaan in 2016. The platform became a thriving ecosystem for businesses, much like Flipkart had become for consumers.
We have already explained the “Udaan Business Model.” You can look into it for more details.

(E.3) PhonePe

PhonePe- a part of Flipkart mafia

In the year 2015, PhonePe was founded by Sameer Nigam. The former VP (Vice President) of Engineering and Marketing at Flipkart established PhonePe, the famous digital payment app in India. It was a highly promising startup that was the stepping stone of the mobile payment revolution in India. Seeing its bright future, Flipkart acquired it within one year of its launch i.e. in 2016. Its thorough explanation is given in the “PhonePe business model.” Check it out for detailed information.

(e.4) Cure.fit


It was a holistic health revolution. Mukesh Bansal, along with Ankit Nagori, another Flipkart luminary, ventured into the wellness arena. Drawing from their e-commerce experiences, they co-founded Cure. fit in 2016. The startup aimed to provide holistic health solutions, aligning with the customer-centric philosophy that Flipkart had ingrained in them.

(E.5) Groww

Groww Financials

Groww is an Indian financial technology company that provides an online platform for investing in mutual funds, stocks, and other financial instruments. It was founded in 2016 by Flipsters-  Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh, and Ishan Bansal. Groww aimed to simplify and democratize the investment process for individuals by offering a user-friendly interface and educational resources.

(E.6) Suki


Although it sounds like a Japanese name. But it is not! Suki is a healthcare technology company developed by ex-Flipkart employees namely- Punit Soni, Anshu Sharma, and Karthik Rajan. They developed an AI-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant designed to streamline clinical workflows. If you are a healthcare professional, it will assist you by automatically generating accurate and concise clinical notes from natural language conversations. 

Suki’s platform aims to reduce administrative burden, enhance physician-patient interactions, and improve overall patient care. How does it perform such exclusive operations? You may wonder. The company’s innovative solution utilizes machine learning and speech recognition to optimize documentation processes. Thus, it enhances the efficiency of medical practices.

(E.7) Exotel


Shivakumar Ganesan, the VP of Flipkart founded this company. Exotel is a communication platform company that provides cloud-based solutions for businesses to manage their customer interactions. Here, you will get services like virtual phone numbers, automated voice calls, SMS notifications, and more.

With Exotel’s technology, you can enhance customer engagement and streamline the communication processes in your company. It automates the interactions through APIs and integrations. With a focus on scalability and reliability, Exotel helps businesses across various industries improve their customer service, marketing, and operational efficiency.

(E.8) Playment


The Senior Business Analysts, Siddharth Mall, and Ajinkya Malasane founded this tech company. Playment specializes in providing data annotation and labeling services for machine learning and artificial intelligence projects. It offers a crowd-sourced platform that enables businesses to outsource the task of annotating and labeling large datasets, which are essential for training AI algorithms. 

Playment’s platform leverages a global network of human annotators to accurately tag and classify various forms of data, such as images, videos, and text. By doing so, they assist companies in developing and refining their AI models for applications like autonomous vehicles, facial recognition, and more.

(E.9) Navi Group

Navi Group

In December 2018, Sachin Bansal along with Ankit Agarwal founded “Navi Group.” It is an Indian financial services company that operates in the space of digital loans, home loans, mutual funds, etc. With Bengaluru, as its headquarters, it earned a massive revenue of $100 million and made $10 million in profits.

(E.10) GrabOnRent


It is a rental platform that offers a wide range of products for short-term usage, ranging from appliances and electronics to furniture and bikes. Founded by Manish S Sugandhi, a senior business analyst of Flipkart allows you to rent items instead of purchasing them. Thus, you get cost-effective and convenient solutions. It is perfect for you if you are in a temporary living situation because you can acquire the items temporarily. Eventually, this feature will reduce your financial burden too!

(F) The Fate of Flipkart Mafia Companies and Flipsters

No matter how glorifying the Flipkart Mafia looks. But it has a dark side too! Not all of them were successful. Some of them met with drastic failures and acquisitions. You will get to know it all in the following table

Particulars of Flipster StartupsNumbers
Flipsters Entrepreneurs233
Startups Founded207
Startups Funded55
Total Funding Raised $217.8 million
Failed Startups (Shutdown)59
Startups Acquired08
Fate of Flipkart Mafia

(G) Wrap-up

The journey of Flipkart Mafia exemplifies the transformative impact of a single company on an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. As you have read above, they sprouted from Flipkart and created a diverse array of startups. Each of them contributed unique innovations to the Indian Startup Ecosystem.

This close-knit network of alumni has nurtured a culture of collaboration, mentorship, and investment. It bolstered the growth of not only their ventures but also the broader startup landscape in India and beyond.

The startup empire built by the Flipkart Mafia includes numerous famous companies. Such as-

  • PhonePe (a leading fintech platform)
  • Myntra (a prominent online fashion retailer)
  • CureFit (a health and wellness startup)
  • Udaan (a B2B e-commerce platform)

These ventures have disrupted traditional business models. Flipkart Mafia harnessed technology to solve real-world challenges. Thus, it demonstrated the enduring legacy of the entrepreneurial spirit fostered at Flipkart. Their collective success stands as a testament to three essential things. Those are the power of knowledge-sharing, adaptability, and long-lasting influence of a dynamic startup ecosystem!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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