There’s a lot of talk around about this, so might as well. Before you hear of it from elsewhere. I’m not sure I should be revealing all this … don’t even think I’m authorised to reveal this … but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway. All you journalists, feel free to quote me on it:
5> Flipkart funds food
It’s true, and not in the Sodexo Coupon way. Flipkart pays for most of the meals of most of the employees. Breakfast, Tea, Lunch, Tea, Evening Snacks, Tea. Flipkart also caters to the discerning tastebuds; adrak chai, badam milk, turmeric milk, black coffee, con leche, sans lait, food without roots and tubers, fast food, food from Kareem in Delhi, kulchas from the guy across the street. It’s like a wedding every day. Almost.
4> Flipkart provides funding for my shelter
I’m a leech. I have slept in Flipkart’s old office, I’ve slept in Flipkart’s new office, I’ve even slept in Flipkart founder Binny Bansal’s house. I now sleep in Flipkart’s guest accommodation suite. And I’ve been a guest for a year now, so that should give you a good idea.
3> Flipkart is funding telecommunications
I don’t use a cellphone. So they bought me a cellphone. I then went on to lose the cellphone (in Binny Bansal’s house, oddly). Now they are after me to get a phone. Here’s my plan: If I delay it long enough, they will be forced to get me a phone.
Meanwhile, Nandu the office boy had his phone stolen. The other Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal gave him his own cellphone.
Nandu then had his cycle stolen, which brings me to the next point …
2> Flipkart is funding transportation
A few SELECT employees get travel allowance. Fuel allowance. People like Nandu also get a cycle. Which then unfortunately gets stolen, again.
But the most important thing Flipkart is funding is
Hope to all those who never had access to books they needed, and though not necessarily cheap, making it affordable to these same people.
Hope to all those independent authors who can never go through traditional channels, by making it less cumbersome and by getting them to their audience.
Hope to International authors, by giving them access to Indian markets which they would never have had before.
Hope to other Startups and would-bes, by being an example. It’s not easy and the hurdles are immense. But a lot can be done by two people whose sum capital investment is the price of a Hyundai Santro.