prime venture podcasts

PrimeTime

Kunal Shah

In this episode of Prime Time, Amit Somani talks to Kunal Shah, founder of FreeCharge, In this podcast, Kunal speaks exclusively to Amit about his journey from Paisaback to FreeCharge and what holds next for him.

Kunal Shah doesn't need an introduction! He is the man behind online mobile recharge platform, Freecharge. He is on a mission to make every Indian who owns a smartphone to use Freecharge every week. Nearly 14 years ago, when Shah started as a junior programmer at a startup, this was unimaginable. Kunal became financially independent at 16, selling T-shirts, mixed tapes and even teaching internet courses. After acquiring a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Mumbai's Wilson College in 2000, he briefly studied MBA before dropping out to become an entrepreneur. Shah initially started a company called PaisaBack that offered cashback promotions for organised retailers. After observing the potential of online recharges in an emerging market, he then founded FreeCharge in 2010 along with Sandeep Tandon. In April 2015, FreeCharge was acquired by Snapdeal for an estimated amount of $450 million. Kunal remains on the board as Chairman of FreeCharge. He is also an active adviser to entrepreneurs and has made over a dozen angel investments. He is also an avid student of behavioral economics and a poker player.

Transcript

[00:00] Kunal has had his phone on silent for the last 12 years. Why?

[01:22] On getting formally educated in Philosophy and how it has helped him.

[07:00] Early story of Cashback, Freecharge and raising money.

[10:58] How to create something of value? Delta-4 and UBP.

[17:11] Lows, self-doubts and downside of raising capital

[24:00] Great companies are bought and not sold.

[27:45] On letting go and hiring “professional” management/CEO.

[34:06] What did he underestimate and overestimate about the Freecharge journey?

[36:20] What’s next for Kunal?