May 17, 2022


Skillful Business Crafters

Lessons from Jeff Bezos about building a successful start-up

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ entrepreneurial journey is an inspiration for many. But for Nipun Mehra, it hits closer to home.

As a former software engineer working in Amazon’s Seattle HQ in 2004, Mehra got to see first-hand the inner workings of the then-burgeoning retailer, and absorb the leadership lessons of its founder.

So when, 15 years later, Mehra and his former Amazon colleague, Alan Wong, decided to build out an e-commerce company of their own, they had some key learnings to draw on.

“My first job out of college was Amazon. We were inspired, both Alan and I,” Mehra told CNBC Make It.

Lessons from the boss

It’s about growing the pie … The was again something that we learned very early on in our grooming in Amazon.

Mehra said that rapid growth stems from the business-building lessons and technology-first approach he picked up at Amazon.

“How do you optimize e-commerce? How do you build a business? The fundamentals of selection, service, price all come from Amazon. The technology-first mindset. Those are some things that are very fundamental to how we evolved,” said Mehra.

Nipun Mehra, co-founder and CEO of Indonesian e-commerce marketplace Ula.


But perhaps more than that, said Mehra, was the Amazon-inspired customer-centric approach, which enabled the company to onboard and support stall-owners as the pandemic threatened their businesses.

“We’re very customer focused, [we have a] very strong belief in that,” the Ula CEO. “The belief that the mission is so much bigger than any of us.”

“It’s about growing the pie and actually creating an impact in people’s lives,” said Mehra. “To me, that was again something that we learned very early on in our grooming in Amazon.”

Winning Bezos’ backing

I would hope it’s for the quality of what we’re doing. I would hope it’s also because of our Amazon way of thinking.

Nipun Mehra

co-founder and CEO, Ula