Her persistence and hustle have helped her build a leading mobile-payment company – Meet Mobikwik’s Upasana Taku
It was during her Masters in Management Sciences atfrom Stanford University that the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown in her. “Stanford has an age-old tradition of entrepreneurship. Lots of big companies have been built in its dorms, and it is very industry-oriented as well. Even when you are studying marketing as a part of your theory, you are required to find a company to practise at,” says Upasana Taku, co-founder of Mobikwik, a mobile payment platform. After working in the corporate sector for few years, she decided to come to India to something fundamental at the grassroot level.
The decision didn’t come without hurdles. Her parents hadn’t accepted it readily. Even in India, she struggled to find her calling in NGOs and social sector. However, things fell in place for the ambitious start-up girl when she met her future husband and business partner. They went on to found MobiKwik.
They did face financial difficulties in the beginning. “It took us nine months to complete the first deal,” she remembers. While they raised less than $5 million in their first round, MobiKwik has cumulatively secured around $80-85 million in three rounds from Sequoia Capital, Cisco, American Express, Net1 and Tree Line Asia and the employee count has since reached 190. Her entrepreneurial hunger didn’t stop here. She went on to start Zaakpay, a digital payment gateway for e-commerce firms in 2010.
Taku feels that it is her “ability to hustle” and her persistence that have been the drivers of her success. “As you grow your business, you have to continuously hustle, even if you have a 100-member team behind you, and millions of dollars in your bank account. The day you start running your business in a relaxed manner, everything starts going down,” she cautions. Taku values persistence, as the most critical trait because no matter how much an entrepreneur hustles there will always be highs and lows in a business.