“I was invited as a speaker for a panel discussion on e-commerce. There was an all-male member panel and then, one for only women. I was asked to be a part of the latter and was very offended because the men on the other e-commerce panel were not half as successful as I was. I do mind being slotted as a woman entrepreneur at all times,” affirms Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder, ShopClues, one of the country’s largest e-commerce marketplace.
Aggarwal set up the e-commerce venture with her husband Sandeep and Sanjay Sethi in 2012. ShopClues happens to be one of the newest entrants into the Unicorn club, the coveted label earned by start-ups that have crossed the billion-dollar valuation mark. But what really sets it apart from the other e-commerce players is the founder’s claim of being profitable by 2017. ShopClues has about 25 million registered buyers, 500,000 merchants and ships about three million products a month.
Always on the move
Aggarwal wasn’t born into a conventional business family. Her father worked with the Indian Army while her mother was a dietician. Like any other army ward, Aggarwal had her share of Bharat Bhraman (India excursion). “I grew up in 10 different cities, including Pathankot, Ahmednagar and Jodhpur and attended as many different schools,” she shares. But she admits that the constant process of shifting base had its own set of advantages. “You had to change school, move to a new place, and leave your friends. In hindsight, it was the best childhood one could ever have. It gave us the opportunity to make new friends and adapt to change. That experience helped me while running a business,” she says. “You can put me in any situation, even where people don’t speak the same language and I can adapt well. Perseverance is another quality I picked up during my growing-up years. I don’t give up easily and that helps, because everyday is a struggle in the start-up world,” she reveals.
Her father left the Army to start his own health club at the age of 45, back in 1992. She helped him in his entrepreneurial venture during her early twenties as a fitness trainer, which is also how she secured her first pay cheque of Rs.400. However, her first encounter with entrepreneurship stemmed not from t