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Upasana Taku, Co-Founder of Mobikwik and First Female Executive in Indian Fintech

About Upasana Taku, Co-Founder of Mobikwik and First Female Executive in Indian Fintech

With the development of technology, it was only a matter of time before people began to conduct their business online. While the online transaction method was very popular, several companies developed the e-wallet ideologies. The wallets are a unique payment because they are connected to the user’s bank account. Since the idea of accepting payments online has been so effective, many local businesses are embracing it.

Mobikwik, the company, is responsible for its success. By reading this article, you will learn about Upasana Taku’s success story, a co-founder of Mobikwik.

 

Mobikwik

About Mobikwik

A mobile phone-based payment system and digital wallet are provided by MobiKwik, an Indian company that was formed in 2009. Customers can deposit funds into an electronic wallet that can be used to make purchases. The Reserve Bank of India granted the company permission to use the MobiKwik wallet in 2013. The company started offering modest loans to customers as part of its service in May 2016.

The business reported having 1.5 million merchants using its service and a user base of 55 million customers as of November 2016. With approximately 325 employees, the company operates in three markets: consumer payments, fintech, and payment gateway.

Recently, Mobikiwik shut down its electronic wallet on April 1 on all major cryptocurrency exchanges in India.

History: Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku Singh, a husband and wife pair who met at IIT Delhi in 2002, created MobiKwik in 2009 because they identified a need to improve the possibilities for cellphone recharging. He invested in the business, created the website and payment methods, and leased Dwarka, Delhi, as the company’s headquarters. The original service was a website with a closed wallet feature, but MobiKwik slowly expanded its offering to include mobile apps. The business first collaborated with online retailers to make their wallets a payment option on e-commerce websites.

In 2012, MobiKwik introduced a digital wallet platform that allowed users to make online money deposits to pay bills and other services. Financial services provided by MobiKwik include loans, DTH recharging, IMPS money transfers, credit card bill payment, life insurance, fire insurance, and accident, life, and life insurance. Additionally, they added the capability of sending and receiving money through a mobile app. Express Computer revealed in September 2014 that MobiKwik was working with GoDaddy and other foreign businesses to assist them in adhering to Indian payment legislation.

According to Forbes India Magazine, MobiKwik claimed to be attracting one million new subscribers each month and had 15 million users as of April 2015. On May 20, MobiKwik started offering consumers small loans between $500 and $2,500 through a collaboration with CashCare. In November 2016, the firm released its MobiKwik Lite mobile app, which was created for people who use outdated 2G mobile networks and live in places with inadequate internet connectivity.

Over 1.5 million merchants and 55 million users used MobiKwik’s service in the same month. By the end of December 2016, MobiKwik had seen a 400 per cent rise in the number of financial transactions made utilising the service after the November 2016 demonetisation of Indian banknotes. The company claimed in February 2017 that it would invest roughly $45 million to increase its user base from 50 million to 150 million in 2017.

Paytm and Mobikwik accounted for 80% of all mobile wallet transactions in India as of June 2017.

MobiKwik announced a new agreement with DT One to broaden its service globally in 2019. The business started providing loans, insurance, and investment advice in 2019.
On February 25, 2021, Rajshekhar Rajaharia, an Indian security researcher, asserted that the hacker collective Jordandaven had taken the KYC information of about 100 million MobiKwik members from a company server and sold it on the dark web.

The firm refuted the assertion and threatened legal action against the researcher on March 4, 2021. Later, several different users and independent researchers confirmed that their Mobikwik data was accessible online. On March 30, 2021, TechCrunch revealed that it was contracting a third party to carry out a forensic data security audit.

Funding: Following the $250k seed investment from founder Singh, MobiKwik received $5 million in Series A funding from an unknown US-based venture capital firm in 2013. An additional $31 million was secured in 2015 through Series B rounds led by American Express and Cisco Systems, two US financial services and technology companies, and Chinese investment firms Tree Line Asia and Sequoia Capital.

The company raised more than $80 million to date. It announced in May 2016 that it had raised $50 million in a Series C round headed by the Japanese internet giant GMO Internet and the Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek, with participation from Sequoia and Treeline Asia.

Medianama said that Mobikwik had notified them on June 19, 2017, that they had raised $150 million from unidentified investors at a $1 billion valuation.

On August 3, Bajaj Finance acquired a 10.83 per cent stake in MobiKwik for 225 crores. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority invested $20 million for a 2.7% stake in MobiKwik in June 2021.

MobiKwik submitted a draught red herring prospectus on July 21, 2021, to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to raise $250 million through an IPO. According to The Economic Times, MobiKwik reached a $1 billion valuation in October 2021 due to a secondary employee stock ownership sale spearheaded by the former head of Blackstone India, Mathew Cyriac.

Following approval from SEBI in October, MobiKwik is expected to begin its first IPO on November 4. The company was reportedly considering delaying its IPO to 2022 because it was having trouble locating international institutional investors at the necessary price, according to a story in The Economic Times dated November 23, 2021.

MobiKwik wallet: The Reserve Bank approved a semi-closed wallet called MobiKwik of India in 2013. To prevent the allegedly high failure rates of payment gateway transactions in India, the RBI now authorises the business to establish marketplaces where customers can buy goods and services from independent vendors.

Partnership: In July 2015, MobiKwik and Uber formed a partnership to allow Uber and its drivers to use MobiKwik to handle debit and credit card payments.

In February 2020, MobiKwik and Google teamed up to offer a mobile recharge search function that helps Indian consumers to recharge using Google search. The organisation had constructed a biller stack for e-commerce businesses to incorporate bill payment categories into their mobile apps.

Mobile application: MobiKwik introduced its MobiKwik Lite mobile app in November 2016, targeting people living in areas with low internet availability and those utilising 2G cellular networks. To introduce a co-branded virtual Visa prepaid card for Mobikwik users, IDFC Bank and MobiKwik agreed to strategic cooperation on November 8. Due to Aarogya Setu, Mobikwik was taken down from the Google Play Store on May 28, 2020.
mobikwik

Upasana Taku- Education

To study engineering, Taku completed her secondary education in Surat before enrolling in the reputed National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. After graduating from the university with an engineering degree in industrial engineering. She received her MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in the US.

Her qualifications and training brought her to HSBC in San Diego. Taku excelled in her position there. She succeeded in many industries, including forecasting, market research, marketing, and outreach. She joined PayPal at a time when major businessmen were driving change in American commerce. She gained knowledge of the payment systems in the Americas, Europe, and Asia while working at PayPal. In addition, she learned about user experience, design, risk identification and fraud management.

mobikwik

Upasana Taku- Coming out of the comfort zone

Upasana Taku had a good existence with the corporate job in 2008, but she realised she no longer wanted to be in a corporate world. She said that even though she worked on high-impact initiatives and made millions of dollars, the work was getting too simple. However, she wanted to return to India and support the startup scene there. Well, Taku’s career did really change at this time!

By 2009, she was back in India. She made many new friends in the subcontinent and gained insight into the hottest industries and unmet needs in the startup and business environment. She claimed that a wallet like PayPal was not well-liked in India. Users could never envision a future without currency a result. Well, the notion of closing this gap and fighting for the development of technology in the nation came from the example of India.

She met her spouse and fellow firm co-founder Bipin by chance while working on her ideas and project. Through a common connection, she met Bipin and learned that he was keen to contribute to the improvement of the startup ecosystem as well. After six months, Upasana was assisting him in many business-related areas. Later, she joined Mobikwik as one of its co-founders.

mobikwik

Upasana Taku: Transforming the Fintech Industry

Mobikwik by Upasana Taku is very basic and centred on needs. They initially started the business as a recharge platform, but it quickly became the nation’s leading mobile wallet after a few years. Taku changed the industry by introducing the idea of a physical wallet to a mass audience at a period when people were still reliant on physical cash for small sums like Rs 10.

A millennial today can’t even envision going to a store for minor recharges; all they need to do is utilise an app. Mobikwik has now experienced phenomenal corporate growth. It was tough for the team to locate someone with the same mindset to serve the community when the company hired its first employee in 2010.

With only six team members in 2011, the team’s growth was extremely slow. The home-office market was their main source of income. Taku and Bipin Preet had to work for the company even on their wedding day! They rented their first office, five rooms, in 2011.

They quickly expanded at a remarkable rate, and by June 2012, they had a team of 35 people. The team requested an RBI PPI licence in September 2012, and in July 2013, they were granted one.

This represented the team’s development and was a major turning point. The company received $5 million in its initial round of funding, allowing them to relocate to a larger location in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, with 50 staff. In 2015, they secured a second round of financing in the amount of $25 million from Sequoia Capital, American Express, Tree Line Asia, and Cisco Investments.

Although the number of e-commerce transactions in the nation has increased, slow payment gateways have been one of the biggest challenges to expanding businesses.

There weren’t a lot of payment options available during their period of expansion. There were hardly any competitors because a small number of enterprises dominated this market.

The third round of funding for Taku’s business arrived in 2016. This time, Net1, the GMO payment gateway, Mediatek, Sequoia Capital, and TreeLine Asia raised a minimum of $50 million. This was a massive accomplishment for the business because it allowed them to gain widespread recognition in the circuit.

mobikwik

Upasana Taku- Success Mantra

She has found it easier to stay focused during challenging times thanks to Taku’s motto, “Kick up a storm or die trying.” She believes that perseverance is essential. Therefore, she has become a role model for many aspiring entrepreneurs due to her dedication to helping the startup community and hard work.


Upasana Taku- Awards & Recognition

  • Best Woman Entrepreneur Award 2017 by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India
  • First Woman to lead a Payment Gateway Company in India Forbes “Asia’s Women to Watch (2016)”

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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