Exclusive Interview with : Veteran Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Rakesh Mathur, CEO at Flywheel Software
Updated on: 01 Jul 2016
Thanks to the unprecedented success of companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Mu Sigma and Paytm entrepreneurship and startup culture have become mainstream in India in the past five years. These success stories have impacted the mindset of young Indians and encouraged them to tread the path of entrepreneurship. While the world started acknowledging young Indian startups and their founders only in the recent years, Rakesh Mathur took the startup world by storm when his price comparison portal Junglee was acquired by Amazon way back in 1998.
A veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Rakesh is an alumnus of IIT Bombay and The University of Texas. He has founded and led over a dozen startups including Junglee, Webaroo (now known as GupShup), and Snapstick.
In the last three years itself, two startups backed by him – Just Chalo and Droptalk – were acquired by OpenTable and Dropbox respectively. Currently, he is leading a new venture – FlyWheel, an e-hailing app that everyday taxi drivers can use to pick up smartphone users in a handful of cities across the US.
Recently, Rakesh was on a visit to India and YourStory got chance to 'walk the talk' with him. On Ola versus Uber
Ola started its operations in 2010 and has since dominated the online cab hailing space. However, Uber – which made its debut in India in 2013 – seems to be gaining the pole position this year. Recently, news reports outline that in a fierce battle to gain marketshare, Uber has outpaced Softbank funded Ola. When asked about how he sees the cab hailing market in India, Rakesh says, So far the cab hailing business is all about giving discount to consumers. However, the time has come when better technology and superior consumer experience would ultimately emerge as the winner. According to Rakesh, Uber has an upper-hand over Ola, as its technology is primarily meant to minimise human intervention. He adds:
On the contrary, if you look at Ola, it probably has 15X more employees than what Uber has globally. Uber has impressed me with its capability as a technology provider.
At the same time, like others Rakesh doesn't believe that Indian e-commerce is a winner take all game. He says,