The Journey from IIT Bombay, JP Morgan to an Advocate of Small Businesses
Acquaint us with your journey in the retail sector.
Unlike metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, I spent my early life in a comparatively smaller and heritage city of India—Ajmer. After completing my graduate studies in IIT Bombay, I spent about 8 years in investment banking in JP Morgan and Barclays across various landscapes of the country. More than a decade later in 2017, I revisited my city Ajmer. I was surprised to witness a whole different world where I saw the evolution of every industry, beaming with growth and development. However, I found this one sector—the unorganized retail sector, which had hardly made any advancements and was still operating in a conventional way.
These mom and pop or Kirana stores in India constitute 95% of the retail market of the nation. Every street and corner of the rural, urban, and rurban areas have these stores standing upright with the dukaandars (local sellers) selling all possible items required on a day to day basis by any Indian household. However, there was a wide gap that needed to be bridged and I felt a sheer need to solve the problems that dukaandars faced. Thus the decision to turn this huge unorganised retail sector into a more organized one was my first step towards empowering the small stores across the nation, through Pay1.
Mission to Restructure India’s Un-organized Retail Sector
Tell us about Pay1’s mission and vision.
Pay1 follows a sincere mission to empower micro-entrepreneurs and make them more independent. It strives to replenish them with services that help to improve their financial status, gain more profits, and stabilize their income. We are committed to an all-inclusive vision to create a huge, undisturbed network of dukaandars and organize their sector. Likewise, given the growing digitization in our country and to bring our vision and mission into reality, we also believe in educating these small shop retailers. We aim to bring them a step closer to the digital world which will further scale up their businesses and take them to the desired heights.
Helping the Retailers Boost and Grow their Businesses with Pay1 Offerings
What type of products and solutions is Pay1 offering?
Pay1 offers an array of different products and services to the mom and pop stores of India. These stores are widely present in every Indian city and village. Thus, to serve and help these small lifelines of cities and villages, we have approached more than 1000 cities with 3 lakh merchants on our platform.
Starting with Pay1 Digi, which is a service that helps in easy Cash withdrawal and Smart Payments. Pay1 Digi provides solutions such as AePS, mPOS, Link Based Payment, and UPI. Then we have Pay1 merchant, a one-stop solution for all recharges, bill payments, money transfer, and PAN Card services. Similarly, our B2B platform, Travel enables retailers with an opportunity to earn more money by providing travel booking services to their customers. The last one from our bouquet of services is Shop 1—a platform that strengthens retailers’ logistics capabilities and offers access to trending and in-demand products.
The Never-Ending Zeal of our Dukaandars
What part of the business inspires you the most?
The small retailers in the country strive continually to increase and expand their businesses. The thing that amazes me the most is the endurance they possess regarding their business in spite of the increasing dominance of other big players in the sector. Their never-ending fight with the colossal business companies motivates us to facilitate them with the necessary services. Thus, seeing them work so hard inspires us to provide them with the best of services which will further ease their operations and assist them in increasing their business. Helping the retailers boost and grow their businesses is what keeps me going and impels me to come up with new solutions and greater services from time to time.
There is Nothing More Beautiful than Empowering People
Which has been your proudest career moment to date and why?
Pay1 Aaghaaz, which was organized last year, was the most fulfilling event and my proudest career moment to date. In spite of the weather Gods not being in our favor, there were about 80 to 100 distributors present for the meet. The word Aaghaaz translates to “the beginning” and the objective of this event was to initiate a communication platform where we could understand our distributors better, tackle their issues directly, and also educate them about our upcoming services.
Pay1 Aaghaaz has drastically helped us to closely interact with our clients and mend the direct communication gap. Getting to talk to our distributors and knowing how we, as a team, have been able to impact their lives in a positive way, was the greatest reward any company can ask for. There is nothing more beautiful than empowering people and uplifting them using our knowledge, zeal, and efforts.
Perseverance and Sheer Hard Work can Lift you Towards Success
According to you, which motivational movie should every business leader watch and why?
There are a couple of movies that prove to be a tub of ice-cream in your gloomy, down days. But my absolute favorite ones are Chak De India & The Founder. These movies teach us that success is not the end goal but a journey in itself. A person who believes in himself, his dreams and goals can achieve them with consistent hard work and unrelenting perseverance.
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