WhatsApp, along with its payment unit, is on verge of completing its India leadership team and for same the Facebook-owned messaging firm has roped in former Paytm vice-president Amit Lakhotia to head its payments entity in India, reported Economic Times today. Lakhotia is known for his track record of serving only billion dollar valuedd startups.
With 8 years of experience in internet space – travel, payments and e-commerce, Lakhotia has served as Vice President at PayTM in 2012-15 and built meaningful size businesses from ground zero. He is an alumnus of prestigious IIM Ahmedabad and prior Paytm had worked with MakeMyTrip (2007-11) for about four years to build their B2B business from scratch to an annual sales topline of about 500Cr.
According to Lokhatia’s Linkedin profile, he is currently serving as Vice President of Business at Indonesion unicorn startup, Tokopedia, which is an online marketplace that allows individuals and business owners in Indonesia to open and maintain their stores for free
Notably in 2011, Lakhotia along with three other including OnlineTyari founder Bhola Meena, co-founded GetMeCab, an online aggregator and seller of car rental services in 20+ cities in India.
Coming on to the ET report, it further said that former India head of Amazon’s financial services, Sriraman Jagannathan, was also been approached and interviewed by WhatsApp. Jagannathan however chose in favour of doing something else, said the report.
This recruitment drive by WhatsApp for its payment business is result of a rejection that the company faced last month while launching it payment service across India. The government had told WhatsApp to set up an office and recruit a team in India before launching the payment service.
WhatsApp currently has one corporate entity in India, by the name of WhatsApp Application Services Limited, and is registered in Hyderabad with Rakesh Rewari, formerly with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and its general counsel Anne Hoge Milken, as the entity’s directors.
WhatsApp had been expected to expand its payment service nationally as soon as June this year but got delayed over and over again due to several reasons, first for having office and team in India and then to explain government more about data localization.
As WhatsApp is entering the payments segment of India as a third party payment service provider in partnership with banks offering UPI-based payments.
Even though there are no regulatory requirements to set up a separate payments entity within India, Google however has set up a separate division under Google Pay and has hired key functionaries in top executive roles to drive their payments strategy in India. On the other hand, Amazon operates payments as a RBI-registered Prepaid Payments Instrument licence holder which required it to set up a separate payments entity here.
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