Somewhere along your journey towards any goal, entrepreneurial or otherwise, you would come across the tough decision where you have to decide whether or not to stay on your current path. We may plan for it, and create scenarios in our minds, however, I don’t feel anything can really prepare us for the emotions that are involved when your heart and mind say two different things.
My next interview was with an individual who I feel has faced this tough decision not once, but twice in his journey.
Mr. Deependra Raje Verma started his career at Hutch in 2005 and excelled at his company enough to be promoted three times in 18 months. With the expertise developed in the telecom space, he went on to work in the Banking industry, first at ICICI and then later at the Bank of America. This is where he met who would be his future co-founder Ms. Monica Sarang.
With a deep understanding of transaction monitoring and compliance, they went on to set up a cross-border money transfer venture which would allow people to make payments for goods purchased abroad and imported to the country.
The first client they signed on was through a cousin of Mr. Verma, and this got the ball rolling. They managed to acquire about 25 clients who would regularly use their platform to conduct their business. Things were beginning to look up for where the news came out of the forex scam at multiple banks in 2015.
While the scam didn’t have anything to do directly with their venture, what followed the scam certainly did. Exponentially stricter government regulations made it difficult for them to scale their venture. This is when Mr. Verma had to make a choice on whether to keep going with reduced profits or to cut losses and walk away. Operations were frozen.
This setback allowed Mr. Verma to reflect. He had an in-depth understanding of both the industries of which he had been a part. He spent his time now in helping some start-ups in their young years with advice from his experiences. On several occasions, he was also invited to speak to the students at NIT Delhi and mentored some of them.
The next thing Mr. Verma told me was something else I could strongly relate to, and I know many readers would as well. Ever since the age of 10, he had dreamed of being an entrepreneur. Probably before he could properly spell the word (no disrespect here), entrepreneurship was in his veins. As time went by he would finish his graduation and post-graduation as well, on a moderately ‘normal’ path, but the desire to have something of his own was in his blood and nothing would change that.
With that spirit, he along with his team built a software in 2016 which would allow for payments between two parties. It wasn’t the conventional ‘wallet’, but did enable you to make and receive payments from and to your bank account.
However, the advent of mobile wallets in India was (and probably still is) in full swing. This, I believe was the second tough decision in Mr. Verma’s journey so far. Whether to enter the already cluttered market of mobile wallets, or to stick to their vision and see it through.
The benefit that the OTC Payments app offered was a direct link to multiple bank accounts of the user and the ability to transfer directly to the bank accounts of other users. This created a convenient platform for many people in the country who were just now beginning to open bank account due to demonetization that happened late 2016.
Financial inclusion is the objective that Mr. Verma envisions for his venture. He wishes to further develop this platform to allow new users to open accounts and use them for their daily transactions.
For fellow entrepreneurs, he had one message, which you might see has resonated in his origin story – it is very important to understand the environment we operate in. That is what allows us to know when it is the right time to jump in, and also the right time to jump out of any endeavour.
What I liked about this story is the ability to not lose enthusiasm even after a setback. His keenness to learn and use his learning to try new things is also very inspiring. Planning for setbacks and facing them can be two very different things. I do hope the very best to him and am excited to know more about the new updates being made to the OTC Payments App.
– Abhishek Kaul