FlipKart is an Indian e-commerce company that is one of the country’s most successful startups to date. Based out of Bangalore, the company was initially an online bookstore before evolving into a complete e-commerce platform. Today, it offers an online marketplace for a range of products from groceries and consumer electronics to fashion and other lifestyle items. The company even develops its own product collections for some of these areas.
Let’s take a look at the story of Flipkart, including its evolution and how Flipkart came to be Flipkart.
The Founders of Flipkart
Flipkart was founded by two friends, Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, in 2007. The friends have a long history dating back to childhood, where they attended school together. As coincidence would have it, both individuals got accepted into the same college (IIIT in Delhi) and followed individual careers in IT. While both men went their separate ways, beginning their careers with different IT companies, Binny and Sachal were reunited at Amazon in 2007.
It was here that the first ideas for Flipkart began to form. Each of the men became bored with their individual roles and started yearning for something more, and the concept for Flipkart was born. Binny and Sachal put in a combined $6,500 to launch the company and left Amazon in September 2007 to focus on their new business endeavor. By the end of the same month, they’d launched their online book store.
How Flipkart Became Flipkart
The name ‘Flipkart’ was chosen with a strategic purpose. Binny and Sachin wanted a name that was broad enough to grow with a business, rather than limiting them to the sale of online books. They also wanted something that was simple, memorable, and catchy enough to stand out from the crowd. These characteristics provided strong guidelines for creating a successful business name.
After playing around with a few ideas, they landed on FlipKart. FlipKart literally comes from the idea of ‘flipping products into a kart’, an excellent reference to the nature of online purchases.
The Journey of FlipKart
Over the years, FlipKart has made many business decisions to expand from a humble $6,500 online book retailer to the $11 billion e-commerce platform it is today. In 2009, the founders of FlipKart secured their first investment money to a total amount of $1 million. This was a huge support in their endeavors to grow the business and resulted in them experiencing an annual revenue of $1.89M in the 2009-2010 financial year.
In June 2010, FlipKart became India’s largest online book retailer. The same year, Tiger Global invested $10 million into the company and FlipKart expanded into mobile sales. The following years saw further investment and greater expansion. By 2011, FlipKart was selling all sorts of products including stationery, electronics, and other household items. In 2012, their range expanded even further to include a babycare range, menswear, and ebooks. Womenswear was added the following year.
FlipKart continues to experience significant success today and is India’s largest e-commerce platform.
The Importance of a Good Business Name
It seems that Binny and Sachin knew a thing or two when it came to getting their company name right. When naming a business, it is important to find something that is clear and uncomplicated. The last thing you want is consumers struggling to say, spell or remember the name. FlipKart is effective on all accounts – it’s short, it’s simple, and it’s captivating enough to stick in someone’s mind.
While it’s impossible to determine whether FlipKart would have achieved the same level of success under an alternative name, we can assume that the selection of this particular label only aided the company’s growth.
There’s no denying that Flipkart has established itself as a competitive player in India, as well as in other international markets. It has broken many impressive records for eCommerce in India and looks as though it will be continuing on this trajectory.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.”