The genesis of Fynd – Harsh tells the full story here….but here’s an extract to get you started.
Since Sept 27, 2012 (when addSale was officially registered in Mumbai), we have gone through two industries, two serious potential buyers, three ground-up built teams, three names, five offices, 10 internal and external products, trying to sell in 15 countries, 22 names on the cap table, deployments across 25 cities in 100+ stores and 120+ team members.
Along all of this, we have always remained true to our passion to build products that help people shop.
Our vision was to be at the intersection of technology and retail. We wanted to straddle the gap between the ease, convenience and personalization of digital technology with the instant gratification, touch and feel experience of physical retail.
So how did we become one of the 22 names on the cap table?
I will never forget the meeting with 7 of us crammed in our very tiny conference room in Nariman Point looking at a demo video where Harsh was at a Diesel store mixing and matching looks on a touch screen powered by (then) addSale. The pitch was that retail was going to go digital and in order to stay relevant, physical retailers and brands needed to up their game and introduce digital experiences in-store to enhance sales. While in February 2013, this required a little bit of mind-bending by us. Harsh, Farooq and SMG exuded confidence, conviction, optimism and a real passion for solving for this Physical-Digital divide. That is what we bought into. Their conviction and commitment.
Over the last 6 years, spending time with the founders and the team has been like being in an entrepreneurship boot camp of sorts for me. I have learnt that doing more with less is an art, but building a data-driven organisation is a science. For a founder, knowing and believing in their purpose is central to persevering and ignoring the noise that surrounds them. Brutal honesty and transparency is directly linked to speed of execution.
To paraphrase what Farooq says, “great leaders build great cultures that build great companies”, (read the full blog here for more on Fynd’s culture.) and there are two things that have really stood out for me.
Data-driven has never been a buzzword, it is a religion at Fynd. Every (and I mean every) single person in the company is an expert on all the internal data systems and SQL literate. This means, that everyone can query data and find their own insights that help them take better decisions in real-time. There are giant screens all over the office that are constantly streaming dashboards. Transparency rules here.
The second is their grit. Farooq says “ We have had a fairly difficult fundraising history, but that has never stopped us from thinking big and then executing relentlessly.” It is this ability to never give in to what looks impossible, but to in fact turn that into an advantage that has made the Fynd team and their journey special. It is their infallible grit and grind that keeps them moving forward.
Kae Capital was the first institutional investor in addSale which rebranded to ShopSense and then again in Fynd. We have been privileged to see this journey from its inception to rapid scale to exiting an investor who has big plans for retail in India. We wish the Fynd team the very best on this new adventure of theirs.
We have always backed exceptional founders through good times but especially through bad times and will continue to do that.