Success Story of Kunal Shah on Building CRED a Unicorn Company

Ritika Deshpande

Kunal Shah CRED founder

Meet the MBA dropout who proves that you don’t need a fancy degree to be an eminent entrepreneur — Kunal Shah, the founder of CRED.

You’ll rarely meet successful people who are not exciting,” says Kunal. Let’s dive into the life of this billion-dollar company owner, and how he built it.

Who is Kunal Shah?

Kunal Shah is an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist, and the founder of a billion-dollar company, CRED. Before this, he had built ‘Freecharge’ that got acquired by Snapdeal and later by Axis Bank.

Kunal was born on 20th May 1983, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. His father was a businessman and Kunal always used to help him with his work. Unfortunately, his father’s business was operating at a loss, and his family went through a financial crisis when he was just 14 years old.

As a result, he had to learn to deal with the financial aspect of life from the very onset of his life. He then decided to take up a job to support his family and was determined to earn well for the sake of himself and his family. 

Surprisingly, his educational background is not entirely related to what he does now. He actually possesses a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Wilson College, Mumbai. He hence is big on getting to the bottom of human motivation, which has indeed helped him build companies for people.

He says that he is the only founder in the list of ‘100 unicorns of India’ (a startup with a valuation of over $1 Billion) who has a background in humanities.

Entrepreneurial Journey and Starting Up

Kunal worked in multiple companies from 2000 and 2010 as a CEO. And his first startup was named Paisaback which he founded in 2009 as a promotional discount campaign.

In 2010, he along with Sandeep Tandon founded a company called Freecharge which aids in paying bills like gas, telephones, mobile recharging, etc. Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal in the year 2015 from whom Axis Bank acquired in 2017.

After exiting his first successful startup, he founded CRED which is a platform for credit card users. Along with this, he is one of the top angel investors, investing in more than 200 companies.

CRED Success Story

I’m sure, you must have seen some pretty interesting advertisements about this inCREDible platform. It’s based in Bangalore and was founded in 2018 with the aim of developing an app that rewards customers when they pay their credit card bills.

CRED app was developed after scrutinising the loopholes in the credit card payment system and was determined to find a solution to it. The app till date has over 10 million downloads and processes around 20% of credit card payments in India.

CRED is one of the fastest companies to enter the unicorn club of India, a list of billion-dollar companies. Interestingly, CRED was also the official sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) from 2020 to 2022. 

Does a college degree ensure a successful life?

Kunal had enrolled for an MBA degree but later dropped out because the course didn’t meet his expectations as the education system constantly focuses on mugging up each answer and lacks the aspect of practicality which he didn’t approve of as it won’t really benefit in the long run.

He believes that a piece of fancy paper doesn’t guarantee success. He goes on to say that one doesn’t really benefit much from it if we take the practical world into account; and that people will soon realise that they would need to get out there and present their own skill sets to the world in order to gain recognition.

He thus believes in general excellence and the skills that people possess. He also aims at hiring people from different backgrounds like psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc. 

Kunal Shah’s Delta 4 Theory

The founder of CRED, Kunal Shah has come up with his own theory called Delta 4 which determines the factors that contribute to a successful startup.

Any company with an efficiency score of more than 4 points on a 10-point scale indicates a worthy startup. For example, booking an uber right at your doorstep is far more efficient than the old-school method of waiting and waving at rickshaws in the scorching sun.

He says that there are 3 things that come with a delta 4 product/ service: 

  • Consumer behaviour is irreversible — once you shift to a highly efficient method, you just can’t go back.
  • You tolerate the product even if there are drawbacks to it.
  • You can’t stop bragging about it. He calls it the unique brag-worthy proposition

Kunal Shah has a great message for everyone. “The need and the curiosity are just not there. We really need to break out and create new territories,” he says while talking about how the general population is not curious enough and talks about how we really need to get behind the “how” of things. He also adds that we should be fairly sure about what we want and choose our role models wisely.

Related Posts

Visual Stories

Leave a Comment

3D Wings Chair AI Image Bing Prompts These 35 Are India’s Coolest Startups as per Business Today 20+ Snapseed Presets QR Code for Cinematic Photo Editing Inspiring Dialogues of The Telgi Story Scam 2003 Web Series Top 10 Stock Broker Companies in India