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Ambur Iyyappa was out of a job when Flipkart took him on as their first employee to handle logistics; he quickly became indispensable
Barely 12 years ago, Ambur Iyyappa was a delivery boy with a courier company . To day, he's a dollar multi-mil lionaire at Flipkart. The story of that transformation is fascinating.
Iyyappa grew up in Ambur in Tamil Nadu, famous for its biryani and leather.After completing his pre-degree, he went to Hosur for a diploma, which helped him land a one-year apprenticeship at Ashok Leyland. He then joined First Flight Couriers in Bengaluru as a delivery boy . During his four-year career with them, he rose to managing the logistics for south Bengaluru.
At one point he felt he needed to do a three-month course to improve his qualifications and asked for leave. But when he returned, First Flight did not have a position for him. First Flight happened then to be one of the four courier partners of Flipkart, a barely known online bookseller at the time. Iyyappa heard from the delivery boy who managed the Flipkart account that they were looking for an in-house logistics person.
So Iyyappa went to Flipkart's office and met the young founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The discussion was mostly about delivery issues.Iyyappa got the job, and became Flipkart's first employee. He recollects he received the offer letter almost a year later as there was then no HR team.
Iyyappa soon became indispensable.Binny has described Iyyappa as Flipkart's “human ERP.“ “Iyyappa would know exactly which books were pending to be bought, which customers were waiting for delivery, etc. When a customer called, he would know exactly what was happening with his or her order without looking at the systems.He had also found an effective way of pasting all this order information into Gmail and using that as an ERPservicing search engine for orders!“ Binny wrote on Flipkart's blog. As orders picked up, Binny wrote code that automated a lot of Iyyappa's work.
Iyyappa's first salary was less than Rs 8,000. But he also received shares in the venture, which proved a bonanza when the share value grew exponentially. Iyyappa says he has sold his shares twice, the first time in 200910, for his wedding expenses, and again in 2013.
Today, he is an associate director managing customer experience at Flipkart and draws a salary over Rs 6 lakh.He continues to live in the same locality where he lived a decade ago. He used to walk to work, but now uses a Suzuki Access 125 scooter; he still does not own a car.