Podcasts have been one of the ways we try to bring out untold stories of startup founders. Continuing with this tradition, we at Accel are excited to introduce our new podcast mini-series: Untold Seed Stories. Sometimes we forget that businesses that are big today have had their share of early-stage challenges they had to overcome. This new show aims to unravel the first 500 days of our founders’ startup journey — ranging from how they first conceived the idea and met their co-founders, to details of how they secured their first funding and challenges along the way. The purpose and our hope for this podcast is that early-stage founders are able to see themselves in these stories and perhaps draw inspiration while they continue to build sustainable, large businesses. We kickstart this series with Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Co-Founder, and CEO of Ninjacart (leveraging technology to reimagine the fresh farm produce supply chain). Today Ninjacart delivers over 1500 tonnes of vegetables and fruits to thousands of shops and retailers across multiple cities in India while raising the income of the 20,000+ farmers on its platform through fair prices. Ninjacart’s constant innovations in the supply chain were pivotal in ensuring a steady supply of fruits and vegetables during the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus. Podcast Summary 2:55 : Early Life jobs and reflection on life 7:45: Learnings from Taxi For Sure work experience 16:30 - Building the founding team 26:00- First meeting with Subrata, Accel at his home 36:26 - The major pivot to the business model 42:32 - Rapid fire round
Thiru is a serial entrepreneur in its truest sense. He founded six startups including a coaching academy and a Biryani cloud kitchen before he landed on Ninjacart - which, interestingly, isn’t the same business as it was initially perceived. Though the first six companies failed to take off, he did not give up and kept charging ahead with one idea after another.
His attempt at building these companies came with its set of learnings but his biggest learning of building a large, fast-growing company was from his stint at TaxiForSure. “This is where I learnt how to build a culturally strong startup,” says Thiru about TaxiForSure. After the Ola acquisition, Thiru decided to revisit his last startup, Shout, which was initially a location-based social network app. He decided to convert it into a location-based e-commerce app which eventually became Ninjacart.