Mr. Shah is a visionary entrepreneur who possesses determination, tenacity and an unrelenting passion for logistics. Such characteristics evolved at the early age of eleven while riding his bicycle at 5am every morning to deliver newspapers across his neighbourhood in London. ‘’I would earn a meagre 5 pounds a week,’’ he reminisces. At the time, it was required by law to be at least thirteen years old to deliver newspapers. When questioned by local authorities he would fabricate a story to continue earning his pocket money.
Mr. Shah’s father expired when he was just fifteen years of age forcing him to be independent and self-sufficient, early in life. This shaped his determination for the future. While studying at the residential King’s School in Harrow, UK, he was on the rugby team as a ‘rake’ – an intense position that required playing in the front row during scrums while being tackled by other teenagers nearly twice his size. Despite “numerous bruises, stiches, a few fractured ligaments and ice-cold temperatures during winters”, he would be back on that field every day.
He completed his under-graduation in B Com from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. At a time when the postal system was virtually the only mail service available, he had a vision and founded Elbee Services, one of the first courier companies in the country. Through several years of hardships, mishaps, negative cash flows and even his own extended family often referring to him as a ‘’mailman’’, he remained determined and persevered. The company he founded eventually grew to be one of the largest and most successful players in the market, dominating the logistics industry in terms of technology, infrastructure and excellence in service. Elbee went on to launch an IPO that oversubscribed twenty-two times. During his tenure, he struck an exclusive partnership with United Parcel Service (UPS) and handled all inbound and outbound shipments for over twelve years. He further went on to unveil the first cargo airline in the country, disrupting the domestic market, paving the way for the future of the industry and establishing himself as a business leader.
In the early days of 2010, Mr. Shah had another vision: cross border e-commerce, a segment that was unheard of at the time. He wanted to make the widest range of international brands accessible to the Indian consumer. Today, his vision is becoming a reality. The cross border e-commerce market, what PayPal described as the ‘’modern spice route’’, is the fastest growing segment in online retail. Emerging markets are increasingly purchasing products from developed markets as direct imports, due to limited access and range. In 2014, global cross-border online shopping grew to US$230 BN accounting for 16% of the global online retail market. By 2020, the market is expected to balloon to US$1tn industry.
In his heyday, Mr. Shah helped set-up the logistical infrastructure for several e-commerce players. He believes that “70% of e-commerce is logistics.” This belief propelled him to establish Shop Your World Pte Ltd in 2010. The company has offices currently in Singapore, USA, China and India, currently has over 90 employees and the company has grown over 500% this financial year and is excepted to reach Rs 150 crores in 2016, Shop Your World is breaking new ground.
A new paradigm in e-commerce, the company provides a wide range of internationally branded products to the Indian consumer. In order to transcend the barriers of cross-border trade, the company has set-up offices and fulfillment centres in the US, China and India. Mr. Shah has built a strong team with expertise in the fields of e-commerce, logistics, finance, technology, marketing and customer service. The company has over two million products across categories from some of the world’s largest brands. In India, it has partnered with Amazon (India), Flipkart, Snapdeal and eBay (India), Paytm and ShopClues, offering over 90% of the e-commerce market to any international brand wishing to enter this space in India. Mr. Shah led the company in a recent equity investment from iGlobe Partners, Khattar Holdings and Wavemaker Partners, all Singapore-based private equity and venture capital funds.
When it comes to his management style, Mr. Shah has laisse-faire approach. He prefers when his employees approach him and propose recommendations to finding solutions, rather than bringing problems. “They should come to me saying that this is the problem and this is how I intend to solve it,” he says. He is meticulous in his approach and is heavily process driven. Mr. Shah is a hard task master and often ensures his team members are on track through rigorous follow-ups and persistence. But he is also humorous and likes to crack jokes to help keep a light-hearted work environment. He motivates his team using this style of management and often says, “as long as I am motivated, they will be”.
His plans for the future include opening offices and fulfillment centres in Dubai and Europe, and expanding the current company infrastructure in the US, China and India. He aspires to create a full-fledged technology platform in order to provide a simple one-stop solution to international brands for entering the burgeoning cross border e-commerce market. Over the next few years, Mr. Shah plans to build the largest cross-border e-commerce company for international brands offering services such as marketing, inventory management, fulfillment, cataloguing and customer service. His plan is already coming to fruition, with several renowned brands stocking their inventory in the company’s fulfillment centres in the US and China.
Mr. Shah has several years of experience and accomplishments under his belt. He rapidly grew to become a pioneer in the express and logistics industry in India, spearheading one of the largest domestic courier companies. Mr. Shah has over 20 years of experience and this understanding of the industry was crucial to the establishment of the Express Industry Council of India (EICI – members include UPS, FedEx, DHL, Blue Dart), where he served as the Founder Member & Chairman for 5 years. He also served as the Chairman of Aviation Committee at the Indian Merchant Chamber for two years, prior to this.
As the Managing Director of the company, he oversees and manages day-to-day business activity with a focus on logistics, operations, marketing, technology and customer service. In his free time, Mr. Shah enjoys travelling, reading and sports and loves to unwind with a good film!