Two of the most high-profile Flipkart executives – Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori, who left the e-commerce major last month amid a sudden shakeout in the company – are gearing up to launch a new venture in the healthcare and fitness space.
This would be Bansal’s second stint at entrepreneurship after having successfully built the fashion commerce portal Myntra, which he sold to Flipkart in 2014. Nagori, a Flipkart veteran who joined the e-tailer back in 2010, had said while leaving that he was working on an idea in the sports talent development space. Nagori was Flipkart’s chief business officer at the time of leaving the company, while Bansal helmed the most crucial part as the head of commerce after coming into the Flipkart fold in 2014.
Talking to TOI, Bansal said the new venture would have two separate brands – one focused on fitness and the other catering to healthcare. “Both these categories are extremely fragmented. What we are trying to build is an integrated solution.” The startup will have a strong technology backbone and the product is at least six-nine months away from launch, Bansal said. “We are looking to leverage technology to develop the right product,” he said. Both Bansal and Nagori are investing around $5 million in the soon-to-be-launched startup as they begin to hire a team. They haven’t got any investor on board yet.
As a sector, healthcare, wellness and fitness is gaining traction among urban Indians who are willing to spend big sums to stay fit. In the US, startups like ClassPass run monthly subscription programmes for fitness classes across gyms and studios, which have received huge investor interest.
Bansal said they were not looking at any comparables in the US or China market. On the healthcare management front, the concept would revolve around helping people manage and track their health. “Be it preventive check-ups, keeping a history of one’s health records, or things like health insurance, we would look to address all these for the consumers,” he said.
The departure of Nagori and Mukesh Bansal had created a flutter in the startup ecosystem, coming on the back of an unexpected management rejig that saw Flipkart co-founder and COO Binny Bansal take over the mantle of CEO from the other co-founder Sachin Bansal. The two Bansals (who are not related) started Flipkart as an online bookstore based on the Amazon model in 2007 in Bengaluru.
In the past year, much has been spoken about the chasm which has been building between the old guard, represented by the likes of Nagori, most of whom have already quit, and the newly-hired executives, as Flipkart went on a tear and got on board a bunch of highly-paid executives from Silicon Valley. The differences emanating as a result pose a huge challenge for the company, which is fighting Amazon in a fierce battle for e-commerce supremacy in India. Flipkart also competes with Snapdeal and Paytm.