There is no shortage of retail food retailers in India, with their number reaching 13 million this year. However, until a few years ago, many of these small businesses were struggling financially, especially when it came to initial access to cash, such as accepting digital payments through UPI. or cards, quick access to loans for business expansion or in the form of work. capital for the purchase of new shares.
Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani startedin March 2018 with the aim of solving these problems encountered daily by retailers. The company has since grown to enable 10 million merchants in over 400 cities to process $20 billion in annualized POS (Total Payment Volume) in payments.
In this week 100x Entrepreneur Podcast, Shashvat and CEO Suhail Sameer talk to host Siddhartha Ahluwalia about how they’ve scaled BharatPe over the past four years, things to keep in mind when building or scaling any new product , And much more.
BharatPe’s core philosophy has always been to launch something unique that doesn’t exist in the market, the executives say.
By introducing a single QR Code for small businesses to accept multiple types of digital payments, the company has made it easy and cost-effective for retailers to accept digital payments, which has brought about a change in the landscape of UPI payments in India.
In 2020, it launched India’s first zero MDR interoperable QR code. It also launched its loan product, UPI payment-backed merchant cash advance, which was India’s first EDI (Electronic Data Exchange) product and was very new to merchants. The company launched its investment product, which it said gave returns in the range of 10-12%.
“We will also stick to our core philosophy in the future. Whenever we launch products, we will either disrupt the market with something unique underlying or we will not launch it. pilot projects for products that haven’t worked well in the past. So we killed it,” Shashvat says.
Process and jostling in the company
BharatPe’s core DNA has always been innovation and speed to market, says Suhail.
“Whatever you do can’t be expensive, and that’s something we’re very aware of. Anything that improves your decision, makes your innovation more successful, or ensures that you spend less money testing your innovations – we are all kind of welcome; beyond that, we kind of try to manage the configuration of the process,” he says.
Suhail does not place too much emphasis on process. According to him, processes are needed to help companies move faster towards the end goal or systematically add value.
Adding to that, Shashvat mentions, “It’s the art of balancing process and execution speed because you don’t want to give up growth or execution speed either. Processes might help structurally, by supporting a new agenda, but at the same time it shouldn’t slow down business. »
What’s next for BharatPe?
With a valuation of $3 billion and 10 million merchants on its platform, BharatPe aims to focus more on growing its merchants. While the company has provided loans for only five lakhs, Suhail says they plan to work more in this area.
Second, merchants are struggling to acquire new customers, especially in the face of fierce competition from e-commerce players who overwhelm consumers with a bitzkrieg of advertisements. BharatPe plans to help traders in this area.
“We are still scratching the surface. New products will continue to arrive; some of them will evolve and some of them will be killed. But we will keep innovating, launching new products, figuring out how we will become more and more useful to the merchant,” says Suhail.
Talking about IPO, Suhail says BharatPe will go for IPO when they are ready for IPO. He clarified that if the core business makes money and is profitable, the company will be ready for an IPO.
Suhail says, “Good markets will reward great growth, even at a loss. But you don’t build a business for cheap, you build a business for sustainability. It must therefore be able to go through bad cycles and good cycles. And in bad cycles, everyone comes back to profit. People won’t judge a tech company by how much profit it makes because they understand that you redeploy a lot of that profit to keep growing at that rate.
“But you have to prove that you can make money, because a lot of the questions that tech companies face tend to be that they offer great service and a great consumer value proposition, but will they win? money day? That’s a question that probably every tech company asks, but if you can prove you can do it, I think that kind of thing is IPO-ready for me. And once you’ve proven that, I think it’s a great opportunity for retail investors to come in because they know the sustainability of the business,” he concludes.
For more, listen to the podcast here:
01:35 – Expectations with current BharatPe scale
03:17 – Join a rocket as CEO
05:10 – Evolution of the culture and customer offers over the last 2 years
12:19 – Very little attachment to a particular role among founders and CEOs
4:30 p.m. – Dealing with and getting out of hard times in BharatPe
18:17 – Sponsored by Zoho – Prashant Ganti on Where are founders struggling with payroll and how can they fix it?
19:33 – Help the team innovate faster and plan the Go-To-Market strategy
25:37 – Strengths and weaknesses of Shashvat
29:33 – Strengths and weaknesses of Suhail
31:03 – Management of shooting decisions
35:17 – What are the things they bond over?
36:38 – Process v/s Hustle in traversal 0 to 1 and 1 to 10
40:49 – Secret recipe behind 0-to-1 success at the product level
44:02 – Idea behind the construction of the distribution network
47:33 – Suhail’s main priorities in joining BharatPe
49:29 – Prejudices and things Suhail had to unlearn
55:21 – Listen to younger, older team members when making decisions
58:39 – Next chapter of BharatPe
01:01:00 – What does it mean to be ready for the IPO?
01:07:39 – Things they could have explored outside of Fintech?
(This story has been updated to correct a spelling mistake in the title.)