The leading force at Mobikwik and ZaakPay, Upasana Taku is counted amongst the powerful women entrepreneurs in India. Working extensively in the corporate sector with finance giants like HSBC and Paypal, Taku decided to build her own company to contribute to the Indian ecosystem. Fast forward to over a decade, she has truly transformed digital transactions with innovative startups like Mobikwik and Zaakpay. Here we bring you the success story of Upasana Taku, a fierce technoentrepreneur who revolutionised the world of digital currency applications!
Education and Early Career
Born in Gandhinagar, Upasana Taku belongs to a family of academicians. She completed her formative education in Surat, Gujarat, before moving to Jalandhar to pursue Bachelors in Industrial Engineering at the famous National Institute of Technology. Taku studied MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, USA. After graduation, she took up the role of Business Analyst at HSBC Auto Finance in San Diego, USA. Later she joined PayPal as a Senior Product Manager, where she gained extensive knowledge about payment systems, risk management and product management.
An Inspirational Homecoming
Upasana Taku decided to come back to India in 2009 after working for over 4 years abroad as she realised that she wants to establish something on her own to contribute to her country’s economy.
“Work was becoming too easy. I had worked on some high-impact projects running into hundreds of millions of dollars, but the satisfaction was not there. I wanted to come back to India and contribute to the ecosystem back home,” Taku said in an interview with YourStory
This inspirational homecoming became the turning point in her career as she worked on the idea of creating an Indian mobile wallet app. She came to know her future husband, Bipin Preet Singh during the same time and both of them together founded Mobikwik, to simplify mobile transactions in India.
“MobiKwik was very simple and need-based. We launched MobiKwik as a recharge platform and, soon, it became the mobile wallet of every Indian. I take pride in saying that MobiKwik was the first mobile wallet of India.” (Source: YourStory)
Early Startup Days
When Taku and Singh started their Mobikwik office in Dwarka, it was based in a home-office environment where the small team would bond over home-cooked meals in a blend of personal and professional environment. Even on the wedding day of the couple, both of them were working from the venue itself taking breaks to quickly complete their tasks. Struggling with money, the couple got their first office by the year 2013 and then swooped into a whopping investment of $5 million. This helped them expand further. Mobikwik was going to get even more investments in the coming years from popular investors like Sequoia Capital, Cisco Investment, Mediatek, Treeline Asia, amongst others.
Making it to Forbes’ Women to Watch List 2016 & Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2019
As Mobikwik scaled newer heights, 2016 became a phenomenal year for Upasana Taku as she played a larger role in handling the finances and auditing at the startup. She even stated once that investors often asked to talk to “someone male” regarding the financial talk but she eventually became an expert on VCs. Even during the time of monetisation, Mobikwik saw a massive boom of 400% in transactions and became home to more than 45 million users which was only to boost more in the future!
Taku was also featured on the Women to Watch list by Forbes in 2016 and then in the list of Power Businesswomen in 2019.
Upasana Taku wears many hats as the co-founder of Mobikwik and the founder of Zaakpay. At Mobikwik, she is responsible for heading partnerships, talent acquisition, and strategic planning and marketing for her company. Her business acuity has not been unnoticed and she has been the recipient of several prestigious awards like the Young Business Women Award at CNBC Young Turks Conclave 2017 and Best Woman Entrepreneur Award 2017’ by Assocham. She was also one of the 112 women achievers honoured by the President of India in 2018.
After revolutionising the digital transactions for consumers, Taku further wanted to transform online payments for businesses which led to the foundation of Zaakpay. Upasana Taku also witnessed the issues faced by online businesses in terms of payments and with the aim to resolve those, she came up with the idea of Zaakpay.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling to Becoming a Supermom!
Upasana Taku truly emerged as a fierce technoentrepreneur as she shattered the glass ceiling and paved a new path for women in tech entrepreneurship. She faced many gender stereotypes as well as financial difficulties but channelling her inner power and getting the best support from her husband, she found her way to becoming a renowned name! Taku is now a working mom with a four-year-old son but that’s only a new add-on in her journey for her to shine brightly and prove that women run the world!
We hope that the passionate and persevering success story of Upasana Taku inspired you! Follow our latest series on ‘Her Vision’ presenting the 62 stories of inspiration throughout this month as we celebrate the awe-inspiring women from around the world! For more exciting content, follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram and Quora.