She dared to challenge the online giant Amazon and set up a billion-dollar company: Here’s Radhika Aggarwal

Her first stint in the business world was when her father left the army to start his own health club. 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.

She credits her father’s army job with training her to adapt to any situation. It was the best childhood one could ever have, she says. “It gave us the opportunity to make new friends and adapt to change. That experience helped me while running a business,” she says.

Her first brush with entrepreneurship stemmed not from the discovery of an idea, but from a dearth of options of ad agencies to work at in Chandigarh. She pulled the shutters on the advertising agency in two years though, and enrolled for an MBA at the Washington University instead. Along with her corporate career, she maintained her own fashion blog about South Asian fashion. It was her husband and future business partner, Sandeep, who encouraged her to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

It was not an easy beginning for the duo as Snapdeal and Amazon had already bombarded the online shopping space. “There was a moment when we questioned whether we took the right decision of coming to India. Our first-term-sheet was withdrawn because there was a news report stating that Amazon was entering India,” says Aggarwal. She dealt with both personal and professional crises to lead Shopclues to the success it sees today. What excites her more is the fact they have managed to build the business with minimal capital. The company was valued at $1.1 billion when it raised an undisclosed amount from Singapore sovereign fund GIC and existing partners such as Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners.

She credits her team for her resilience. “My success as an entrepreneur is largely team-driven,” she says. Aggarwal also appreciates her children for being accommodating and understanding of their parents’ professional choices. “They see both their parents working hard and both of them learn from us.”

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