Jabong is heading for a $1 billion-mark, says CEO Arun Chandra Mohan. When e-commerce giant Jabong.com’s founder and CEO, Arun Chandra Mohan, came to Mumbai on Monday to announce the launch of a new collection designed by actor Alia Bhatt for the fashion portal, buzz was that his wife had delivered a baby that morning.

However, he revealed that the latest addition to his family arrived almost a week ago. “The Mumbai team probably got to know of it only now… if my wife had delivered this morning, I wouldn’t be here,” Mohan said, showing signs of an entrepreneur who demarcates his professional and personal lives.

The conversation shifts to work matters. E-commerce retailer Flipkart’s recent valuation soared to $7 billion, sparking a debate if it has been over-valued.

Asked for his opinion on the subject, Mohan defends Flipkart, saying, “I don’t know what went on behind Flipkart’s valuation per se, but I think that e-commerce, if not undervalued, is at least rightly valued. We, as an industry, are providing a very important platform where consumers are able to access products which they would not be able to otherwise. Think about all the tier-2 and 3 cities in particular. Add to that, there’s not much physical retail going on at the moment across the country and brick and mortar is going nowhere either. E-commerce as a business model has now proven itself. People are accessing sites from phones and tablets too so no one can tell me that the valuations are too high. I believe the valuation of my company is going to be significant. We are going to be a billion dollar business.”

Talking about the challenges of running a fashion portal, Mohan says that earlier it was about getting the ball rolling and fixing glitches, now it is about improvement. “Today, it’s about how I go forward,” he says. “What are the 10-15 things I should do to improve the overall strategy of the business? The focus, let’s say, is less on fire fighting and much more about structuring.”

Finding the right kind of talent is difficult as well. “I look for a couple of qualities. Functional capabilities are important too, but for me the most important thing in an employee is drive. There needs to be a larger goal and I need to see that the employee is thinking of their role as much more than a job. Trust me, I reject most candidates based on the lack of drive… and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to notice it. Second quality is intelligence.

E-commerce is a new industry and so is our company. I don’t necessarily need people with 20-30 years of experience… I don’t value that so much. I’d rather go with people with just about enough experience but who are capable of learning quickly. Of course, they all need to be team players and have a positive attitude.”

ET Retail article

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