5 Indian eCommerce Giants Who Had Humble Beginnings

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It is a well-known fact that even tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook had humble beginnings. Steve Jobs along with Wozniak build the first 50 units of Apple 1 in his parent’s spare bedroom – the designing and testing of which were done in the garage. Now Apple is worth more than a whopping 750 billion U.S. dollars.


With the great surge in eCommerce, several companies in India sky rocketed to become some of the top companies in the country – a lot of which had a rather humble beginning.

Several top players in the eCommerce industry in the nation like OLX, Junglee, Amazon India, are multi-nation companies which had enough liquidity to venture in India. However, some of the companies in the industry were just meek and unpretentious Indian startups only a few years ago.

We have listed below some of top 5 coolest e-commerce companies from India that were struggling startups only a few years ago.


Flipkart is a household name in India and beyond any speculation the most popular e-commerce company in the sub-continent, which now pulls in a gross revenue of 1 billion U.S. dollars and employs more than 15,000 people (and growing.) Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal only 7 years ago founded Flipkart.


When the company was just a new-born infant in the Indian e-commerce realm, Sachin was going about Bangalore to convince book stores for small distributions. Now you would see Flipkart advertisements on YouTube, Google Search, television and print media.

However, back in the days, the Bansals remember how they would stand outside fine book stores in Bangalore to hand out bookmarks to people who come out of book stores who had actually bought books since they were not in a position to afford giving away free bookmarks to everyone who came out of the stores. And then a couple of rounds of funding from Angels and the rest is history.

Now Flipkart is India’s first $100 billion online company. Flipkart have several offices across the country to handle operations and sales, the largest of which is a 3 million square feet office space in their home town of Bangalore.


RedBus is the undisputed champion when it comes to booking bus tickets online to travel across the nation. It was started back in 2006. With over 2 million users and having sold more than 11 million tickets the company mints 600 million rupees revenue annually.


Panindra Sharma the co-founder of RedBus conceived the idea during his desperate attempt to travel from Bangalore to Hyderabad to celebrate Diwali with his family in 2005. He realized that the system needs to be organized and the process stream-lined and simple for the end-user.

He also reflected back on how he used to actually go to the bus stand / boarding points in Bangalore to ensure that the people who booked via the website were actually provided seats.


SnapDeal is only second next to Flipkart when it comes to online shopping in India. Kunal Bahl along with his schoolmate Rohit started an offline couponing business. Yes! SnapDeal was not an online website when it was started.


Kunal in desperation was cold calling potential investors to take his offline couponing business to the next level. Luckily for them, they were able to get a decent amount of money to jump start the online venture from IndoUS Venture Partners. As of 2015 SnapDeal empoys 2000+ employees, and makes millions of dollars in revenue.


BookMyShow is India’s most popular events and cinema ticketing brand on the internet. It was launched in 2007 and was founded by the trio Ashish, Parikshit and Rajesh who studied at SIM Mumbai together. They now have more than 400 employees which only started as a humble team to manage all the operations.


The success of BookMyShow lies in the fact that most of the cinema theaters did not had an online portal for people to book tickets online. People had to go to the ticket counter and stand in queues to book tickets.

Selling movie tickets account for major revenue of the company although they sell tickets for seasonal events like IPL, other sports events, music concerts, plays etc. Like SnapDeal, BookMyShow were also lucky enough to find some good investors during their early days.


Zomato was founded by Deepinder Goyal in 2008. It was initially called Foodiebay.com and was later re-branded as Zomato since they had ‘ebay’ in the name and find a more generic name so that they could venture into any industry other than food in the future. They started gaining reputation and recognition after they were listed in the top 25 most promising internet companies by SmartTechie Magazine.


Now the first thing that comes to the minds of people who want to read reviews or post opinions about restaurants and eat-outs is Zomato. They received their first round of investments from Info Edge and received several more rounds of funding which stands at a total of $113 million.

There are sure a lot of other companies in India in the e-commerce industry who are now successful now or even bigger than some of the companies we have mentioned above, but we tried out best to list companies from various niches. The start-up scene is still quite fantastic in India.

There are a lot of startups out there who struggle to find office spaces with the right infrastructure, get funding, find the right people, business acquaintances, etc. If you think we have missed a company or have interesting stories to share about startups please leave them in the comments below.


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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