You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave: The story of building an institution and then moving on
Four years ago, I joined MobiKwik when it was a 50 people startup with $30 Million in payment volume and a recharge business. Over the next four years, we have gone ahead and built a financial services platform that processes billions of dollars in payment volumes, has 3 Million merchants, and processes loans within 90 seconds.
As that journey was unfolding, I got the opportunity to serve our users and merchants in many ways: as part of the merchant acquisition team; driving MobiKwik’s progression into newer areas in financial services; making investments and acquisitions of AI and wealth management startups and making bids on several others.
The destinations in which the journey was to unfold took me places-from Vizag to San Francisco, Shanghai and Chandigarh.
Before I joined MobiKwik, I had the opportunity to make less risky and safer career choices. Except that for me, the biggest risk to my career would have been to join a large corporate and lose myself in the corridors of corporate politics with millions of consulting and business school executives.
MobiKwik was refreshing. Nowhere else would this story have been possible. The story of creating a payments brand from a recharges brand; AND the story of creating a lending brand from a payments brand; AND the story of creating an AI-driven credit disbursement in 90 seconds.
But the stories that are hardest to tell are the ones about the relationships that you build on the job — in the most innocuous but most powerful ways.
That time when you really needed a team member to shed his confidence issues and deliver that new merchant. AND HE PREVAILED AND CONVERTED THE OPPORTUNITY.
That time when you really needed that fund manager to put money into you. AND HE INVESTED.
That time when you really needed that product manager to look at the funnel and come back with a plan. AND HE DID. AND VOLUMES JUMPED A HUNDRED FOLD.
That time when you really needed the Founder of a startup that you were trying to acquire, to see that you were giving him a great deal and agree to it. AND HE AGREED.
As I check out, I see all these stories. All these people. The institution is part of the stories and the people. It lives on in you. There is no taking it away. The institution lives on within me.
Those stories and those people are part of the institution. They live on in it. There is no taking them away.
I leave MobiKwik stronger than what it was when I joined.
There is a lot for which I must be grateful. For the teammates who I worked and laughed with. For the shareholders who invested money, but more importantly a small part of their lives into MobiKwik and me. For the vendor partners that worked through Diwali taking time out of their family time. For the founders who let me write out my own job description.
For these, and for many other reasons, MobiKwik leaves me stronger than what I was when I joined.
For now, it is time for me to check out. Check out to devote a bit of time to the family and relationships that felt strained with me away for weeks; to take all the strengths that MobiKwik armed me with, and perhaps put it to the good use of another initiative, another institution.
The friends, the colleagues, the backers, the mentors, all know that the new path leads to journeys that may not be common. Yet they cheer me on. But we smile, we rejoice in what we shared, and we feel proud to have worked with each other.
The person leaves. But he lives on in his institutions and his people.