Udaan, India’s largest b2b e-commerce platform has appointed co-founder Vaibhav Gupta as CEO. This is part of the plan for the next phase of growth for the Bengaluru-based company. The firm said this is in line with the evolution needed to become a publicly listed entity in 18-24 months and become a best-in-class large global public company.
The other two co-founders, Amod Malviya and Sujeet Kumar, as Board members will actively work with Vaibhav Gupta to ensure that the organisation effectively transitions to a CEO-led structure for continued success and achieve their shared vision for the organisation. The changes will be effective September 10.
The plan, which involves a CEO-led and Board driven organisation, envisages building Udaan as a future-ready organisation. The aim is to capitalise on the enormous growth opportunity that the Indian e-commerce market offers.
Earlier, the company didn’t have a CEO and was mainly headed by the three co-founders. The co-founders are former top Flipkart executives and friends who started business-to-business e-commerce start-up Udaan five years ago.
The development comes at a time when Udaan is now eyeing to tap a $100 billion opportunity in the next few years. The aim is to have 10 per cent of the total transactions ($1 trillion) on the Udaan platform in the next few years. Most of this growth would come from Bharat or rural India. However, booming online retail sales show that smaller cities and rural areas of the country are now a key market not only for Udaan, but e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance’s JioMart and Tata as well.
“I am humbled by the responsibility that has been entrusted to me, and I look forward to strong support from Amod (Malviya) and Sujeet (Kumar) for realising the dream that we have envisioned together,” said Vaibhav Gupta, co-founder and CEO, Udaan. “Looking at the strong professional team that we have been able to create, and the growth scaled in such a short span, I am confident that we shall be successful in realising our vision of transforming India’s massive $1 trillion trade market.”
Founded with a vision to empower the small and medium businesses of Bharat, Gupta said Udaan has come a long way in the last five years creating not only the b2b e-commerce industry in India but also a playbook that is now being fastly emulated in other developing economies. “As we embark on the next phase of our growth journey, it is important to lay the right foundations for that,” said Gupta. “It is with this objective that this structure has been created that will help in the evolution of the organisation, enhance agility and efficiency, drive innovation and bring us closer to the customer.”
The co-founders always envisioned Udaan as an institution that is professionally run and will last beyond them. As part of this vision, they combined a strong and shared vision with their expertise to build an admired and professionally run institution. This model enabled speed, allowed rapid experimentation and learning – contributing to strong business foundations and leadership depth. As Udaan embarks on its next leg of growth, it has been decided to move to a CEO-led and Board driven structure that will enable the organisation to evolve, scale-up and achieve its growth ambitions. This is also in line with the evolution needed for udaan to become a publicly listed entity over the next 18-24 months.
Amod Malviya and Sujeet Kumar, co-founders of Udaan, said the Indian market offers tremendous growth potential in the b2b e-commerce space, and having worked together for years, they know that Vaibhav Gupta, with his in-depth understanding of the business, is the best person to lead the organisation.
“For the next few years, our focus will be on strengthening governance, driving innovation, capabilities, systems and processes, with a special focus on building a talent pipeline to capitalise on the huge opportunity that Bharat offers,” said Malviya and Kumar. “What we have achieved in the last 5 years is just the tip of the iceberg. Together as a team, we look forward to building on what has already been created and making Udaan another world-class institution from India.”
This year in January, Udaan attracted $280 million in additional financing from its existing and new investors including Lightspeed, Yuri Milner’s DST Global, and Tencent, at a valuation of over $3.1 billion. The funding is helping Udaan to strengthen its supply chain and logistics capability and serve small businesses across the country, through UdaanExpress and lending capabilities through UdaanCapital.