Upasana Taku: Bringing Mobikwik to the big stage!

With the rise of technology, it was just a matter of time for people to shift to online transaction mode. While the online transaction mode was a big hit in the circuit, many companies came up with the ideologies of e-wallet. The wallets are linked with the bank account of the user and hence, acts as a better mode of payment. The concept of online payment has been very much successful, therefore, many local shops are also adapting to this concept. One of the company which made it successful is 'Mobikwik'. Read this article to know about the story of Upasana Taku.

Upasana Taku- Quick Facts
Upasana Taku and her company
Upasana Taku- Education
Upasana Taku- Coming out of the comfort zone
Upasana Taku- Revolutionizing the sector
Upasana Taku- Success Mantra

Upasana Taku- Quick Facts

Name Upasana Taku
Citizenship Indian
Education B.Tech in Industrial Engineering (NIT Jalandhar)
MS in Management Science & Engineering (Stanford University)
Title Founder of Mobikwik
Spouse Bipin Preet Singh

Upasana Taku and her company

The e-wallet companies like Paytm, PhonePay, and GooglePay have been the popular names in the Indian market. However, another e-wallet company that has been taking giant strides during recent times is Mobikwik. Meet Upasana Taku, the woman with Kashmiri blood that pumped her to make a name for her society, a Gujarati alma mater that established unshakable gumption in her, and a very unique Punjabi coming-of-age stint that taught her to appear as a formidable force in adversity. The story of Upasana is very much important for aspiring entrepreneurs, the main reason being her addiction to work.

Upasana Taku- Education

Taku finished her schooling in Surat and went on to pursue engineering at the prestigious National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. She holds an engineering degree in Industrial Engineering from that institute. Later on. She did her MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, US.

Upasana Taku- Mobikwik
Upasana Taku- Mobikwik

Her skills and education led her to HSBC in San Diego. There, Taku was very successful. She was successful in many fields like marketing and outreach, forecast, and market research. When the United States was experiencing a change in business, lead by many big entrepreneurs, she joined PayPal. During her tenure at PayPal, she learned about payment systems in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Apart from that, she also gained knowledge about risk detection and fraud management, user experience, and design.

Upasana Taku- Coming out of the comfort zone

During 2008, although she had her comfortable life with the corporate job, she realized that she no longer wanted to be a corporate drone. According to her, work was becoming too easy and she had worked on some high impact projects and had accumulated millions of dollars. But, she wanted to come back to India and contribute to the startup ecosystem. Well, this was the turning point of Taku’s career!

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The next year, she was back in India by 2009. In the subcontinent, she met a lot of people and extracted ideas about the buzzing sectors and unsolved gaps in the business and startup ecosystem. According to her, a wallet like PayPal was not popular in India. Therefore, users could never imagine a cashless world. Well, the example of India gave the idea to resolve this gap and work for the advancement of technology in the country.

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While working on her ideas and project, she happened to meet Bipin, who is her husband and co-founder of the company. She met Bipin through a mutual friend and came to know that he was eager to work for the betterment of the startup ecosystem. After six months, Upasana was helping him with many aspects of the business, and later on, she joined Mobikwik as its co-founder.

Upasana Taku- Revolutionizing the sector

Taku’s Mobikwik is very simple and need-based. Initially, they launched the company as a recharge platform, and soon, with a few years, it became the face of mobile wallets in the country. At a time when the people were dependant on physical cash for a trivial amount like Rs 10, Taku revolutionized the sector by bringing on the concept of a physical wallet on the big stage. Presently, a millennial cannot imagine going to a shop for small recharges, all he/she needs is to use an app to cover all the recharges. Now, Mobikwik has grown exceptionally as a company. In 2010, the company hired its first employee and it was somehow very difficult for the team to find someone with the same mindset to serve the community.

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In 2011, the team grew very slowly with a team member count of six! They were dependent on the home-office sector. Even on their wedding day, Taku and Bipin had to work for the company!  Later in 2011, they were renting their first office that had five rooms. Within a small period, they were growing at an exceptional pace and were a 35 people community by June 2012. In September 2012, the team applied for RBI’s PPI license and they received it in July 2013.

Inspiring words from Mobikwik founder

This was a milestone for the team as it was a symbol of their growth, The first round of the company’s funding was $5 million which enabled them to shift to a larger office in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon with 50 employees. The second round of funding came in 2015, they were able to draw funding of $25 million from Sequoia Capital, American Express, Tree Line Asia, and Cisco Investment.

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However, despite the growth of e-commerce transactions in the country, the sluggish payment gateways have been of the major obstacles in the growth of the companies, During their time of growth, there weren’t too many payment choices available. Also, only few companies were ruling this segment, and hence, there were very few competitors.

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In 2016, the third round of investment came in for Taku’s company. This time, no less than $50 million was raised from Net!1, GMO payment gateway, Mediatek, Sequoia Capital, and TreeLine Asia. This was a remarkable achievement for the company as it was enough for them to make a big name in the circuit.

Upasana Taku- Success Mantra

Taku’s mantra Kick up a storm or die trying has helped her to stay focused in difficult times. According to her, Tenacity is the key. Hence, her hard work and desire to serve the startup community have made her an inspirational figure for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

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About Yash Gupta