Have you heard about Kunal Shah, the founder of CRED? His story is truly inspirational.
From dropping out of an MBA program to building startups worth billions, Kunal Shah has come a long way.
In this blog, we will explore his journey, CRED’s success, and Kunal Shah net worth in 2024.
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Kunal Shah Net Worth: From Humble Beginnings to Massive Success
Kunal Shah was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Wilson College, Mumbai.
After that, he enrolled in the MBA program at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in 2003.
However, he dropped out of the course after the first year to pursue entrepreneurship.
He even started working freelance as a designer and programmer at the age of 15 to support his family financially.
His first startup was a SaaS company called PaisaBack, which he founded with his friend Sandeep Tandon in the early 2000s.
The Birth of FreeCharge
In 2010, Kunal Shah rebranded PaisaBack to FreeCharge to capitalize on the growing mobile and online ecommerce market in India. FreeCharge allows users to recharge their mobile balance and pay utility bills online.
Within a few years, FreeCharge became one of the leading online recharge platforms in India.
It raised multiple rounds of funding from venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Valiant Capital Partners.
In 2015, Snapdeal acquired FreeCharge for a whopping $450 million!
Kunal continued to lead FreeCharge as its CEO. Then in 2017, Axis Bank bought FreeCharge.
The Origin Story of CRED
After exiting Freecharge, Kunal noticed that credit card spending and defaults were on the rise in India. He realized that there was an opportunity to help creditworthy individuals better manage their cards and rewards.
This led him to start CRED in 2018. The startup’s mission was to encourage responsible financial behavior among credit card users.
CRED is an app that allows people to pay their credit card bills conveniently. But unlike other payment apps, CRED also helps users track expenses across multiple cards and provides access to rewards and deals.
The app uses credit score data to determine eligibility. Only individuals with high credit scores get access, making it an exclusive club of creditworthy borrowers.
This innovative, members-only model along with a slick user experience allowed CRED to gain rapid traction among urban professionals.
CRED’s Meteoritic Rise
Within just 3 years of its launch, CRED has become a unicorn startup valued at over $2 billion!
Let’s look at some of the key milestones in CRED’s success story so far:
- CRED had over 5.9 million users by 2021, accounting for nearly 20% of credit card bill payments in India
- The startup became the official sponsor of Indian Premier League (IPL) for 3 seasons from 2020 to 2022
- CRED’s revenue grew from ₹18 crore in FY20 to ₹95 crore in FY21, a 5x growth in one year
- The user base doubled from 7.5 million in FY21 to 11.2 million in FY22
Clearly, CRED has been growing at a breakneck speed under Kunal Shah’s leadership.
He has disrupted the fintech space by building an innovative platform focused on user experience.
CRED Founder Net Worth & Salary
As the founder and CEO of a thriving fintech unicorn, Kunal Shah net worth is estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore as of 2021.
CRED is now valued at $6.4 billion after its Series F fundraising in 2022. Kunal is reported to own a significant stake in the company.
In addition, he has made savvy investments in startups across India. Some of his portfolio companies include Unacademy, Razorpay, Voonik, and TVF.
Kunal is known for maintaining a very simple lifestyle. In fact, he only pays himself a salary of ₹15,000 per month currently!
Lessons to Learn from CRED CEO Kunal Shah
Kunal Shah’s inspiring journey from a middle-class upbringing to a self-made billionaire offers many lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs,
Think big – With CRED and FreeCharge, Kunal targeted big industries like credit cards and mobile recharge. He scaled his ideas despite initial challenges.
Stay focused – Right from his college days, Kunal was fixed on starting up. He left his MBA midway when he saw the opportunity in payments.
Leverage expertise – Kunal built on his experience with FreeCharge to create another winner with CRED. He stuck to his core domain.
Solve real problems – Issues like hidden fees, low credit scores, and tedious payments plagued credit card users. CRED built an innovative solution around rewards.
Prioritize customer experience – CRED built a slick, rewarding, and elite experience for customers to pay bills and dues. The app became a status symbol.
Kunal Shah’s story contains many inspirational and actionable lessons for those hoping to build the next big unicorn startup in India.
His journey shows how a middle-class boy with big dreams and relentless dedication can rise to incredible success and net worth through entrepreneurship.
Total Experience of Kunal Shah
- Independent Director at Syrma SGS Technology Limited (Nov 2021 – Present)
- Independent Director at Pine Labs (Aug 2021 – Present)
- Founder of CRED (Apr 2018 – 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)
- Go-Jek, Zilingo, Unacademy, Shuttl, Chillr, Innov8, Lifcare, TinyOwl, Spinny, Jugnoo, Mobile Premier League (MPL), Azani, Tapzo, Runnr, Flyrobe, Razorpay, Voonik, TVF, PocketAces, Rupeek, Dil Mil and 20+ more
- 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)
- Founder and Ex-CEO/Chairman of Freecharge (Aug 2010 – Oct 2016). Started the company in 2010. Acquired by Snapdeal in 2015 for $450M.
Kunal Shah – Honors & Awards
Kunal Shah has received several prestigious honors recognizing his entrepreneurial achievements and impact,
- Comeback Award by Economic Times (2016)
- Economic Times 40 Under 40 (2016): Recognition by Times of India
- Fortune 40 Under 40 (2016): Featured by Fortune
- Fortune 40 Under 40 (2015): Featured by Fortune Magazine
Here is the list of frequently asked questions about CRED and its founder Kunal Shah.
CRED is headquartered in Bengaluru, India.
Kunal Shah is 40 years old. He was born in 1983.
No, CRED is a private company currently at the Series F funding stage.
CRED reached a valuation of $6.4 billion after its Series F funding round.
Kunal Shah, founder of CRED, is married to Bhavna Shah, a freelance graphic designer.
Yes, CRED is considered a unicorn startup because its valuation exceeds $6.4 billion.
Browse More Resources:
- Sachin Bansal Net Worth 2024: How He Became a Self-Made Billionaire with Flipkart
- Deepinder Goyal Net Worth in 2024: The Journey of Zomato’s Visionary CEO
- Bhavish Aggarwal Net Worth – The Success Story of Ola Cabs Founder
- Amit Agarwal Blogger Net Worth and His Keys to Success as India’s Top Blogger
- Vijay Shekhar Sharma Net Worth: The Billionaire Founder of Paytm
Final Thoughts about Kunal Shah Net Worth 2024
Kunal Shah’s journey shows that with hard work and ambition, anyone can achieve great success.
He dropped out of college but built billion-dollar startups like FreeCharge and CRED. His customer-first approach made CRED a top fintech app in India.
Kunal’s story inspires young entrepreneurs to dream big and keep trying despite early failures.
So what do you think about Kunal Shah’s rollercoaster journey? Share your thoughts in the comments. And don’t forget to check out CRED if you are a credit card user in India!