Entrepreneurial Brilliance: Kunal Shah

India’s Bangalore ranks third in the world for most startups. Startups are formed on the foundation of an idea or principle that differentiates it from other companies in the market. Not all startups are successful. However, the ones that do succeed go on to create a separate industry altogether for the products and services they have to offer

An MBA dropout from NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies), Shah launched his first startup: Paisaback in the year 2009, which was later suspended by Shah to set up Freecharge in 2010. The basic idea surrounding Paisaback and Freecharge was the same, to provide cashback to its users for making any kind of payment be it for movie tickets, phone recharge,etc. Freecharge faced several hurdles majorly because of the lack of online transactions in India; although the company picked up pace and within the time span of only a year, the company bagged the most promising technology startups tag from by Pluggd.in

Later on, Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal in 2015 for a whooping 450 million dollars, making it India’s largest startup acquisition deal. Shah stepped down from Snapdeal leadership in 2016. During this period, Kunal travelled a lot and seemingly, Mr. Shah had perceived the concept for his next startup. He sought to build a venture on “trust”. In an interview with “Forbes”, he explained that nobody has been rewarded for paying back on time.

In 2018, Shah launched Cred, an app meant to make credit card payments easier and hassle free. Cred’s business model is simple yet innovative. In order to join Cred, members must have a credit score of 750 or higher. For every credit card payment made by Cred members, they are rewarded with Cred coins . These Cred coins can later be used to purchase vouchers from companies like Flipkart, Amazon, Zomato,etc.

With Cred, Shah has intended to create a community of people who were awarded for their good credit scores and timely payments for their debts. The app also takes great care to spell out the hidden charges that credit cards entail thereby safeguarding its users. Cred controls 22% of all credit card payments in India and aims to acquire at least half of the credit card users in the country in the coming years. Within a time span of only 2 years, Cred has been able to generate 800 million dollars from investors. Its latest funding has set Cred’s valuation at 2.2 billion dollars, entering the unicorn club.

Cred’s future plans involve financing personal loans for its clients. Cred is and will remain a large club, catering to a select audience.  It has built its business model around trust and so far the idea of not catering to the masses has paid off extremely well for Shah and company. An angel investor and entrepreneur, all without an MBA degree. Shah’s story is one that inspires the youth to create new avenues for themselves and to fashion their own success stories.

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