In this podcast, Sumit Suneja, Founder of Merlinbrands speaks with Mr Ankit Nagori, Co-founder of Cure.fit. Sumit starts with his podcast introduction telling about its essence,
“This podcast is about celebrating the failure, celebrating how people turn adversities into success, adversities into opportunities. It’s not only going to just celebrate, it’s going to learn from these people.”
This is followed by a warm welcome and introduction of Ankit by Sumit with a little background of Ankit’s early entrepreneurial phase with Flipkart and its success. To this, Ankit humbly gives credit to the team.
Ankit comes from a family from Rajasthan but grew up most of his life in Delhi. And growing up in Delhi, he said, one would get a taste of urban India and also mid-90s and early 90s was a time where India was getting liberalised, the economy was opening up and it opened up the mind. It made him feel like there’s so much to be done and so much to be achieved in the country. He added saying that’s the time when one becomes more aspirational and progressive in thought process. He credits good schooling in Delhi played a role in making him have the right aspirations. He went to IIT Guwahati for his graduation but he was very clear about his goal of being an entrepreneur.
After graduating from IIT, he started Youthpad, a social media networking platform. It was a two-way social media platform with a brand sentiment analysis tool built in the backend. A social media platform where brands can log in and see what their customers are talking about. On Youthpad he says that to build a platform like this, it needs a lot of liquidity on the platform- people, reviewers, readers, brands. However, it didn’t take off and on this, he says,
“I advise this to a lot of people trying to build social networks that if it’s not seeing the hockey stick in the month six then you have to give up. There is no way that it will happen in the eighteenth month or twenty-fourth month.”
He says he was very lucky to have joined Flipkart early. He also talked about how Twitter became a successful platform with celebrities and politicians being a part of it.
On joining Flipkart, he thanks the IIT Network which made it easier for him to find common connections. He wrote to Sujeet and Binny and connected with them at a bookfair in Delhi. Ankit got hired for the Delhi office with a very vague role and a small amount salary.
Then Sumit talks about how Flipkart rose as a successful E-commerce company in India at a time people needed to trust an E-com platform. Ankit adds saying that they also launched new features and categories, good service, cash on delivery, no question asked return and their own logistics etc. And that’s how the business worked for them. He asserts by saying,
“I think the biggest thing what Flipkart has done for the country is, of course, it brought commerce to everyone’s houses, make things affordable”
He concludes that the larger thing it has done is that it brought India to the map of VCs in the world. All the VC funding, all the private equity funding, which happened in the internet space is because E-Flipkart did well.
The talk continues with further discussion on Flipkart and on its foundation, artisans getting a platform to sell their crafts directly to the customers. Also, both talks about startups and their mortality rate and they have to be very very careful. To this Sumit said,
“ The learning is don’t scale up on day one, always proof of concept, scale level one, scale level two, scale level three and then take it forward.”
After leaving Flipkart, Ankit still had the entrepreneurial worm in him and he credited it to working with Sachin, Binny, Sujeet. He talks about starting Cure.fit with Mukesh Bansal, a platform where all health services can come together and step by step building up of Cure.fit with three major brands which are Cult.fit, Eat.fit and Mind.fit. On building all these 3 elements which are food, fitness and mental wellness together, he says,
“The idea was to able to build this in a modular fashion and that was the plan while going very very deep into the why and how of the science of health. It’s not that we just build it but wanted to go deep on all of those aspects.”
He also continues on how it’s surviving through the Covid pandemic and working on plan B. He expresses his feelings over going through the phase of pandemic, the phase of uncertainty.
The podcast ends with a discussion on the Indian economy and its recovery. How the business will flourish after the pandemic. Ankit believes that India’s economy will be back in a bang. He credits to the new age gig workers.
“India’s economy is very resilient purely because of the demography we are and the technology.”
For Ankit what kept him going is the thought of why you started in the first place and what is it that you want to achieve? He expresses about not giving up but to keep trying and his main tool for making things work is meditating for 10 mins. He says,
"You shouldn’t stop because of the hardships. You should stop if what you wanted has changed or does not exist anymore.”
The podcast ends with Sumit talking about the importance of Mental health.