Meet the man who put the ‘kart’ in Flikpkart

Ambur Iyyappa Image courtesy:

Ambur Iyyappa has many credits to his name. Being a multi-millionaire is not one of them.

The very first employee of e-commerce major Flipkart, this unassuming tamilian from Ambur (yes, of the famous biriyani) helped put together what today is the core of the order management system that Flipkart uses. He has also become, inadvertantly, the human heart of a success story that has been driven by technology and capital.

Iyyappa, who was an account manager with a courier company, bravely took 3 months off to pursue a diploma course. In days when job security mattered more than anything else, he decided it would be important to further his skills, even at the cost of his job. 3 months later, he came back wiser – only to find out he was out of a job. A colleague put him in touch with the Bansals, and that marked the start of a long growth story – for both Iyappa and Flipkart. Today, the ‘human ERP’ as Binny Bansal calls him, is the know-all for all things Flipkart. The founders stand testimony to the effort he has put in, starting as their man Friday. With a veritable photographic memory, and an unending appetite for work, Iyyappa soon took over most of the tasks that had kept Sachin and Binny busy from day 1. This resulted in them being able to focus on scaling operations, and eventually writing code that would replicate most of what Iyyappa was doing for them.

The Bansals, who founded Flipkart in 2007 have been credited with creating the first ‘Unicorn’ from India.

The hard work that they unflailingly put in inspired Iyyappa to match up to them, and go beyond. Early mornings, late nights, and odd hour deliveries were routine, but these only drove him harder. Managing logistics and order-fulfillment wasn’t easy, but the processes he laid out were adaptive, immediate and need-driven, and not drawn up with the luxury of time. Being clear about priorities helped this self-starter further efficiencies in operations rapidly. Today, the team at Flipkart sees Iyyappa as an embodiment of core values that they cherish. Iyappa is an integral part of the system now, one that he has inspired build. And what better place for someone who understands it all in and out, than in customer support?

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