For people who knew Ambareesh Murty, the Co-Founder and CEO of Pepperfry, the news of his sudden demise came as a shock. An avid biker, Ambareesh was on a road trip to Leh and only a day ago, he posted a video on his Instagram handle titled “Motorcycle Diaries,” in which he prophetically spoke about “God not accepting him as an angel.” Even more eerily, his post from six days ago contained a quote: “Life is a limited company with unlimited dreams.”
News broke on Tuesday morning that Ambareesh died at age 51 after suffering from a cardiac arrest on the night of Monday, August 7.
The charismatic entrepreneur founded Pepperfy in 2012 with Ashish Shah. The duo were to celebrate the company 12 year anniversary this year, but his life was cruelly cut short. Here’s looking back at Ambareesh’s illustrious life as a serial entrepreneur who never balked at taking chances to build businesses.
The IIM Calcutta alumnus joined Cadbury as a management trainee in 1996 and worked there till 2001. He went on to work for ICICI Prudential AMC and Levi Strauss later.
Despite Pepperfry’s meteoric rise, Ambareesh saw his fair share of failures early on in his entrepreneurial career. He owned Origin Resource, a business training venture, from 2003 to 2005 without success. He then went back to working for a corporation, joining Britannia as a marketing manager. Later, he also held the positions of country manager for Malaysia, the Philippines, and India at eBay. He met Ashish Shah, who would go on to become a close friend and the co-founder of Pepperfry, while researching the e-commerce boom.
With Shah and Ambareesh at the helm, Pepperfry proliferated with three warehouses and over 60 experiential studios spread over 20 cities, delivering to 500 cities. Since its founding, Pepperfry has funded $245.3 million (or around 1,770 crores), according to company information provider Crunchbase. Around the pandemic, when every business was suffering and re-inventing itself, Pepperfry also went a huge change where the company became an online marketplace. Today, Pepperfry is known as a leader and a pioneer in the furniture e-retail space.
Recently, at the Pitch CMO Summit where Ambareesh was one of the speakers, he spoke of the vision that led to the birth of Pepperfry: “If somebody hangs around long in a place…so suppose somebody’s working in an organization for 10 years , typically the word that gets used for the person is ‘yeh insaan to furniture ho gaya’. So the pace we were operating in was one where furniture was not really even thought to be agile or thought to be something that is glamorous, new, trendy and so on. So, the vision that Ashish, my co-founder, and I had was that we were going to make this category really exciting and it started off with a name. We could have been called ‘Fabulous Furniture’ but we didn’t choose to be called that. Instead, we chose to be called something that had nothing to do with furniture – Pepperfry. And I think that is where it started.”
Ambareesh often jokingly called himself a “Closet Sociopath, History Buff, Solo Rider, Furniture Salesman, Poker of Bears” on his social media profile, and was an avid lover of adventure. His untimely demise has also led to an outpouring of grievance from people who knew and loved him.
Extremely devastated to inform that my friend, mentor, brother, soulmate @AmbareeshAmbareesh is no more. Lost him yesterday night to a cardiac arrest at Leh. Please pray for him and for strength to his family and near ones. ?
— Ashish Shah (@TweetShah) August 8, 2023
It is with profound sadness that we announce the unexpected demise of our beloved co-founder & CEO, Ambareesh Murty. The Pepperfry family, along with its employees, investors, partners, customers, mourn the loss of a visionary leader who was crucial in shaping our journey. pic.twitter.com/5EuUg27N77
— Pepperfry.com (@Pepperfry) August 8, 2023
Terrible news. Ambi was my senior from IIM-C. A great guy. Our batch mates and I are all in shock… Sincere condolences to his family.
— Amish Tripathi (@authoramish) August 8, 2023
He and his spouse were close friends to a super close friend.
Awesome. Simply awesome
— Harini Calamur (@calamur) August 8, 2023
I am deeply saddened by the sudden and timeless passing of #AmbareeshMurtyCo-founder of #Pepperfry.
My thoughts and condolences go out to his grieving family and friends during this difficult time.#OmShanti https://t.co/FqJaJhCL0W
— MB Patil (@MBPatil) August 8, 2023
Shocked to hear about Pepperfry founder Ambareesh Murty’s passing! Used to know him from his days because Cadbury’s. RIP Ambareesh.
—Lloyd Mathias (@LloydMathias) August 8, 2023
With deep reverence, we pay tribute to Ambareesh Murty, a true visionary, entrepreneur. His legacy as a leader will continue to inspire countless founders in their journey’s.
Our Sincere and Deep Condolences to his Family, Pepperfry Family and all his Friends & Relatives. pic.twitter.com/nmtmqpqdJQ
— TiE Mumbai (@TiEMumbai) August 8, 2023
Even rival brand Urban Ladder posted a tribute to the Pepperfry founder, speaking volumes about the respect that Murty commanded:
—Srinivas (@its__srinivas) August 8, 2023