What do Rajan Mehta, Falguni Nayar, Ajay Shetty and Rahul Garg have in common? For one, all these investment bankers left their high-profile jobs as ‘dealmakers’ in reputed financial institutions to become entrepreneurs, most notably in e-commerce.
While Mehtra was the founder of Benchmark Mutual Fund before he started My Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare service provider that uses technology such as cloud computing, Nayar now runs beauty and wellness e-tailing site Nykaa.com after a stint at Kotak Mahindra Capital as its MD and chief executive. Similarly, Shetty once crunched numbers for Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong before he shifted to Bangalore to set up Myra Vineyards. The same goes for Garg, founder of the e-commerce portal ArtisanGilt.com, who earlier worked as an investment adviser with various global investment banks such as the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, Nomura International and HSBC Securities.
The strategic shift to e-entrepreneurship is not without reason. As per KPMG in India and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the e-commerce industry in the country has witnessed an incredible 150% growth in the past three years, increasing from $3.8 billion (R19,249 crore) in 2009 to $9.5 billion (R47,349 crore) in 2012. Moreover, in 2012, 63% of e-commerce ventures were started by first-time entrepreneurs.
Talking about the advantage of investment bankers in launching their own e-commerce businesses, Ashvin Vellody, partner, KPMG in India, a management consulting firm, says: “A person venturing into e-commerce needs to have three basic qualities. First the person should have a good understanding of consumers and the market that the person wants to enter. Secondly, the person should be able to manage money well and have a good understanding of finance. Thirdly, the person should be well-versed with technology. Usually, investment bankers have all these qualities and this is a big reason behind them leaving their comfortable jobs to start e-commerce businesses.”
Agrees Garg, founder of ArtisanGilt.com, who says it was his experience as an investment banker that helped him in selecting the right model for his e-commerce portal. “Investment bankers have rich experience and good understanding of the e-commerce category. After working in different kinds of markets and handling various clients, we are aware of the pros and cons of the business,” he adds.
Interestingly, unlike many popular e-commerce portals like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Myntra, the e-commerce sites started by these former investment bankers are self-funded.
As a matter of fact, they believe the