It is not often that you see a Shark Tank India pitcher rejecting an offer from the judges especially when the company itself was almost on its last legs and on the verge of shutting down. But that is exactly what happened when Flatheads Shoes’ co-founder Ganesh Balakrishnan after getting an investment offer from the judges decided to decline it in order to better support his family.
Flatheads Shoes is a startup that makes sustainable and environment-friendly shoes for the ‘all-day casual shoes for the urban workforce’ in between the price range of Rs. 1,000-5,000. It was also among the first in India to have linen sneakers in its inventory and the world’s first banana fiber sneakers.
Balakrishnan got only one offer from Peyush Bansal (co-founder, Lenskart) and Vineeta Singh (co-founder, Sugar Cosmetics) who put forward a deal of Rs. 75 lakh for 33.3% equity in the company valuing it at Rs. 2.25 crore.
Balakrishnan however, rejected this offer, saying that “I need to evaluate my priorities in life right now. I will go out there and work with a D2C brand and understand how to do this before I come back and try again. I need a couple of years. But that perspective needs to be built. And the best way to build it is to work with somebody who’s done this before.”
Flatheads Shoes Co-Founder’s Wife’s Emotional Note
While Balakrishnan broke down on the episode talking about how he will have to shut down his business if not enough funds are generated, it was his wife Anuradha Pasupathy’s emotional words on her LinkedIn profile that caught the eyes of many.
In an emotional but strong note, she wrote:
“Main kamati hun, wo udata hai” – I am Ganesh Balakrishnan’s wife, and this is my side of his story.
When Ganesh decided to leave his corporate job and start up on his own, I had my own apprehensions about how this will work.
“It is very difficult to do a startup in India, it needs a very strong, resilient mind. Coming from a very conventional family, will he be able to deal with the rigours of entrepreneurship?”
She further wrote about her apprehensions, the journey of their startups, their struggles and hope for the future:
“There are plenty of wolves out there, will being an honest lamb really work?” But even with all these doubts, I still had belief in him. He is a fighter, who is determined to make a dent in the universe.
The belief slowly started becoming stronger when Momoe exited to ShopClues, and later when he started up Flatheads. I was really kicked by the USP of Flatheads – ultra-lightweight and breathable shoes with natural materials.
The lockdown was a big existential jolt to all of us, I feared that my company may start layoffs and we will be left with no income. Thankfully it did not happen. It really hurt when I used to listen to Ganesh and Utkarsh pitching to investors and hearing one rejection after another.
I tried my level best to bring some positivity into the little time we spent together as a family. The last phase of Flatheads when we decided to wind down operations was very painful. We brought shoes home from the warehouse, and I used to stare at the cartons in our bedroom blocking our pathway. “How much more do we need to endure?”
Throughout this journey, as a techie in Bangalore, I could have chosen a better paying job or even explored international career options. But I chose stability over ambition. It was a choice I made to take care of the family as Ganesh pursued his dream.
When we watched the Shark Tank episode, I didn’t cry. Because all these hardships have only made me stronger and more determined myself, and I know this is just another storm that we can sail through despite the odds. Bring it on!
As some kind of silver lining though, right after the episode came out and people got to know Balakrishnan’s brand, Flatheads Shoes ended up trending on social media and furthermore sold out its entire inventory in India.
Balakrishnan on his LinkedIn account said “We’ve almost sold out our inventory in India, so pardon us if you aren’t able to find your size on flatheads(.)in.”
Image Credits: Google Images
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Find the blogger: @chirali_08
This post is tagged under: Shark Tank India Pitch, Flatheads, Flatheads startup, Flatheads footwear, Flatheads shark tank india, Flatheads Shoes, Flatheads Shoes Ganesh Balakrishnan, latheads Shoes co-founder wife, Anuradha Pasupathy
Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.