In conversation with Digpu, Shibabrata Bhaumik, Founder of London based Fintech startup PayQ, talks about the exponential growth of the company, adopting new territory starting from the United Kingdom to diversifying its merchant acquisition to the EU and his milestone of stepping into the Indian Market.
Fintech lending began to emerge in India around 2014 and soon mushroomed into a rapidly expanding ecosystem. But what is missed is the extent to which the rise of fintech has catalysed broader changes in the economy. Fintech will help unlock Bharat and India will emerge as a cashless economy and enhancing financial inclusion.
The entrepreneurship game has changed substantially during COVID19 and players have to change their game plan post COVID19.
In conversation with Digpu, Shibabrata Bhaumik, Founder of London based Fintech PayQ, talks about the exponential growth of PayQ, adopting new territory starting from the United Kingdom to diversifying its merchant acquisition to the EU and his milestone of stepping into the Indian Market.
PayQ’s entry to India comes at a very opportune time. During the lockdown, several questions have been raised about the readiness of the Indian grassroots system to allow its small businesses to participate in an end-to-end digital ecosystem that powers content, transactions and finally, payments and fulfilment. With this one move, PayQ has sent out signals to take on the giants in the payments, content and eCommerce spaces, simultaneously.
PayQ’s digital payment platform also includes digital billing to even geotagging, Shibabrata believes that merchant digitization business will boom when the lockdown eases. PayQ also deals with a merchant account for high-risk businesses like payment gateway for tech support, Merchant accounts for Pharmacy and aims to go beyond the traditional payment method to revolutionize the e-commerce industry.
While Paytm, Google Pay, Naspers-owned PayU and other players were aggressively trying to rope in small businesses on their platform, as B2B doesn’t bleed the business, the big scramble is for over 60 million small businesses. PayQ and Shibabrata are trying to get them hooked to the payment gateway by offering a host of services, including loans, easy payment acceptance and settlement to small businesses including Kirana shops.
In style and philosophy, Shibabrata Bhaumik, the 36-year-old founder and CEO of PayQ, is in the camp of the financial anarchists. He sits, jammed alongside Developers, Payment Technology Experts and Data Scientists, in a row of tiny desks resembling library carrels and he prefers to sit and work with the team around their desk not like a typical CEO with fancy cabin. He talks about a brave new world in which we are liberated from the shackles of giant banks and government-controlled money supplies.
The CEO of PayQ, Shibabrata Bhaumik is a young first generation entrepreneur, who has developed application programme interfaces (APIs) for India’s ambitious Unified Payments Interface (UPI). He says, “Working with the government is not so difficult. It has been an enriching experience. Your credibility depends on your delivery of performance. The payments landscape is going to change fundamentally”.
On being asked by Digpu about why he got into this business in the first place, “I wanted the world to have a global, open financial system that drove innovation and freedom.” In the following business model, though, Shibabrata fits in with the pinstriped financiers working down the block.
Born at Kolkata, India to an engineer Father, Shibabrata displayed an entrepreneurial streak as early as grade school. He recalls being hauled into the principal’s office on charges of operating a candy-reselling venture on the playground. The business flings continued with a scheme to resell used computers and, after he earned a master’s degree in 2006 in International Business.
In 2012, Shibabrata read the manifesto by a European Union Bank that proposed card payments of Visa, Mastercard & the future Fintech companies will have limitless possibilities and bitcoin as an underground currency. Its transactions are recorded on a ledger called the blockchain, maintained in duplicated computer files by a band of self-appointed guardians called nodes. The nodes are kept honest, and troublemakers at bay, by requiring a participant in the network to engage in some arithmetic busywork before certifying a batch of transactions.
The busywork, called mining, did not interest Shibabrata. But he did see an opportunity in the business of safeguarding the keys to the coins and setting up transactions. Working weekends and late nights, Shibabrata and his Developing Team created a Payment gateway to process high volume transactions and connected the nodes with the acquiring bank and launched the first payment portal in 2014 but later sold it to an EU Bank.
Few Venture capitalists from Russia and Germany, invested 5 million USD in Shibabrta’s innovative approach in 2017 and motivated him to create PayQ, a unique high-risk merchant account company whish uses cryptocurrencies and blockchains to build transaction networks for corporations.
Crypto has been condemned as rat poison by Warren Buffett, as a fraud by Jamie Dimon and the mother of all scams by doomsday economist Nouriel Roubini. Where’s the payoff to the economy?
“It’s coming,” Bhaumik says. He posits a future in which thousands of startups use crypto to raise capital in a global marketplace no longer controlled by Wall Street firms. Within a decade, he predicts, the number of people participating in the blockchain economy will explode from 50 million to 1 billion. We are destined to enjoy a financial system that is “more global, fairer, freer and more efficient.”