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Snapdeal Co-Founder Kunal Bahl Reveals How the E-Commerce Platform Got Its First Angel Investor

The story begins with Bahl’s chance encounter with a guest lecturer at a US college.

Snapdeal Co-Founder Kunal Bahl Reveals How the E-Commerce Platform Got Its First Angel Investor

Photo Credit: Twitter/ @1kunalbahl

Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl (R) with Ken Glass at his wedding

Highlights
  • Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl chronicled the story on Twitter
  • Bahl recalled how he first met Ken Glass and how he supported him
  • "There was no negotiation, no back and forth," Bahl said

The story of Snapdeal finding its first angel investor 14 years ago is as much a lesson in entrepreneurship as it is about enterprising. Describing it as a story of “kindness and serendipity,” Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl said he met his first angel investor during a guest lecture at a US college. But it took him a few years to get the person to invest in his startup and he still continues to be an investor at Snapdeal. Outlining the journey in a Twitter thread, Bahl thanked Ken Glass, the professor from Seattle who decided to invest in his firm, saying everyone ever associated with Snapdeal will always bless him.

Bahl began the story with his chance encounter with Glass. One day, Bahl walked into one of his management course lectures in college. And a grey-haired man, dressed casually, was chatting with his regular professor outside the class. “I wondered who this was, guest speaker it seemed,” said Bahl.

As the class started, the “gregarious, animated, excited” man asked one question that got everyone guessing: "What does the entrepreneur need the most to succeed?" The hint was it started with the letter 'P'. Several options came up — such as patience, perfection, and persistence — but none made the cut.

“The right answer was… Passion,” said Bahl, adding he then decided to be an entrepreneur.

However, he wanted to make a softer transition after college by taking a job at Microsoft. Bahl recalled that the guest lecturer who visited his college was a former Microsoft executive from the '80s. "I cold emailed him to let him know that I had attended his class a few years ago and was now moving to the Seattle area. Being a 22-year-old fresh graduate I didn't expect a response.”

But he got a response within 30 minutes. Their meetings, accompanied with laughter and humour, continued for some months, when Bahl's visa got shockingly rejected, which meant he must leave the US.

So Bahl decided to have a last lunch with his “friend” before leaving the US.

During the conversation, Bahl told him his plans to start a coupon book business in India.

Glass smiled and told Bahl, "Let me know if I can help in any way in your journey."

It was 2007 and there was no angel investor ecosystem in India.

Bahl called Glass and explained in detail what he was up to and sought ideas who he should approach for funds. Glass said he wanted to support the venture.

“There was no negotiation, no back and forth. We agreed on simple terms and within a couple of weeks we had the money that we needed to get our entrepreneurship journey off the starting blocks,” said Bahl.

At the end of the thread Bahl shared an image of Glass, who visited India for the Snapdeal co-founder's marriage in 2012.

“And yes, Ken did visit India for the first time in 2012 for my wedding! 5 years after he had first invested!” wrote Bahl as he ended his thread.


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Further reading: Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal, Twitter, Ken Glass
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