Entreprenuers

Who is Kunal Shah: CRED CEO & A Tech Enthusiast

Who is Kunal Shah? Indian entrepreneur, angel investor, and the founder & CEO of CRED, a platform to manage all your credit cards and receive cashback and points for spending on cards.

He is one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs in the country. He founded PaisaBack, a cashback and promotional discount campaign platform for retailers, in 2009. Kunal shut down PaisaBack and set up Freecharge in 2010, along with Sandeep Tandon. Snapdeal acquired the startup in April 2017. 

After its acquisition, FreeCharge continued to operate independently under Shah’s leadership. However, he left the company in October 2016, and Axis Bank acquired FreeCharge in July 2017.

Shah’s third startup, CRED, gained its customer base among urban elites who use multiple credit cards. CRED is a members-only credit card bill payment platform that incentivizes and rewards members for clearing their bills on time.

Kunal Shah: Early Life & Education

Born into a business family, Shah completed his bachelor’s in philosophy from Wilson College, Mumbai. He joined an MBA program at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai but dropped out. 

Kunal Shah had business acumen from his teenage days, and he started working at 15 to help his family tide over a financial crisis. He continued working while pursuing his bachelor’s degree and had gigs as a freelance designer and programmer before starting his venture.

Kunal Shah: Personal Details

Full Name Kunal Shah
Date of Birth May 20th 1983
Place of Birth Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Marital status Married
Spouse Bhavna Shah
Profession Entrepreneur, Venture capitalist
Net Worth $806 million

Career Trajectory

After exiting Freecharge, Kunal noticed a rise in credit card payments and defaults in India. To reach the top 1% of society that has plenty of money to spend, Shah founded CRED in 2018. The startup’s mission was to encourage responsible financial behavior among credit card users in India. CRED is an app where users can make credit card payments and earn rewards. Moreover, Kunal is an independent director in multiple companies and an angel investor in many startups.

 

  • Junior programmer in a BPO after dropping out from MBA
  • CEO & Founder PaisaBack(2009 – 10)
  • CEO & Founder Freecharge(2010 – 2016)
  • Founder & CEO, CRED (2018 – Present)
  • Independent Director at Syrma SGS Technology Limited (Nov 2021 – Present)
  • Independent Director at Pine Labs (Aug 2021 – Present)
  • Advisor To The Board at Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. (Times Group) (Oct 2017 – Present)
  • Advisor at AngelList (Jan 2018 – Present)
  • Investor in multiple companies across India and SE Asia (Jan 2016 – Present)
  • Advisor at Sequoia Capital (Jan 2017 – Dec 2017)
  • Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (Jan 2016 – May 2017)
  • Part-time Partner at Y Combinator (Jan 2016 – Dec 2016)

Awards & Honours

Recognizing his entrepreneurial achievements and impact, Kunal Shah has received multiple prestigious awards

  • Comeback Award by Economic Times (2016)
  • Economic Times 40 Under 40 (2016): Recognition by Times of India
  • Fortune 40 Under 40 (2015, 2016): Featured by Fortune Magazine

A Story of Grit & Determination

At present, Kunal’s brainchild, CRED, has over 5 million users and processes about 20% of all credit card payments in India. It is now the second-fastest Indian startup to emerge as a unicorn, valued at $1 billion or more. 

CRED’s success has made Kunal one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India, with a net worth of $900 million.

Kunal Shah’s journey shows that anyone who is dedicated to a cause and working hard can achieve great success. His journey is an inspiration and a lesson to young entrepreneurs to keep working despite initial failures.

 

Read more: Lal Krishna Advani: The Man Behind BJP’s Rise

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