Finding Larger Fish to Fry
Shashank Kumar and Harshil Mathur commenced their entrepreneurial journey at IIT Roorkee, as a part of the developer community group that boasted of some of the best software developers in the country. At IIT Roorkee, the duo toyed with the idea of building a crowd- sourcing portal for India. However, they soon realised that there was another problem, a bigger one at that, which they had to tackle first — digital payments. They, then, redirected their energies and passions to building Razorpay, a payment gateway solution that offers an alternative to the tangled web of bureaucracy which prevents small businesses and nascent startups from accepting online payments.
Harshil and Shashank quit their jobs at Schlumberger and Microsoft, respectively, despite being unsure of their venture’s viability and long-term sustainability. They set off on the journey because they felt that they were young enough to take risks and hence, would not suffer serious setbacks even if the startup did not succeed. ‘Being a founder or an entrepreneur was never really the plan. We found a problem, and we thought we could do something about it,’ Harshil recalls. All they knew was that they wanted to build something that would benefit the masses and make this world a little easier to live in.
It was not an easy journey. They jumped hurdles, only to realise that there were walls to scale and rivers to cross. After leaving their jobs, they settled in Jaipur and began meeting with bankers who could help their cause. Day after day, they met with people who kept saying no and reminded them of their inexperience in the financial space. Their non-technical backgrounds made it onerous for them to convince authorities to provide them with the required certifications.
“What is that problem — the one that you want to solve, the one that must be solved? Work on it.”
Most would have folded after these constant let-downs, or would have blamed each other for the failings of the company, but Harshil and Shashank persevered and helped each other cross the stream. Cross they did, to glory! Being selected for Y-Combinator, receiving funding from Matrix partners, and 33 angel investors and strategic investment from MasterCard have been the defining moments of their journey. Reflecting back on the time they set up Razor- pay, a pioneer in the payment gateway space, Harshil and Shashank underscore the importance of taking the first step and then taking one step at a time, till you reach the destination.
In September 2017, they unveiled Razorpay 2.0, the first Indian fintech company offering end-to-end payment solutions to merchants. These sharp entrepreneurs know technology and know its use. It’s only a matter of time until they take on the world.