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Upasana Taku: Tenacious Leader

Upasana Taku: Tenacious Leader

The daughter of a physics professor and a music teacher now leads a prominent digital payments company, and is leading its IPO effort

Upasana Taku, 42, Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder, MobiKwik -- Photograph by Rajwant Rawat Upasana Taku, 42, Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder, MobiKwik -- Photograph by Rajwant Rawat

Upasana Taku never had it easy. After doing BTech from NIT, Jalandhar, she got into Stanford University, US, but without a scholarship. Taku spent a month marketing herself door-to-door at various labs to get a research assistantship. Eventually, she secured a full scholarship, which paid the $100,000 required for her two-year Stanford programme.

Four years later, Taku gave up her cushy US job at PayPal and joined a non-profit in India, which took her to several villages in states such as UP and Bihar. She later met her future husband (currently MobiKwik MD, Co-founder and CEO) Bipin Preet Singh and they decided to do something in mobile payments. "When we launched in 2009, less than 10 million Indians transacted digitally. We felt it was a huge opportunity," says Taku, now COO and Co-founder of MobiKwik. "Today, about 300 million Indians transact digitally, and 100 million of them are on our platform." Quite an astounding statistic, that.

Fast forward 12 years, Taku is leading MobiKwik's initial public offering (IPO) process to raise Rs 1,900 crore. "I'm taking a leadership role for the IPO. I have been in several meetings, in-person and digital, where there were like 20-30 people and I'm the sole woman. It has been an interesting experience, to put it lightly," she says. She is hopeful that stories like hers will help improve the gender gap in entrepreneurship and inspire more women founders to bring their companies to the public market. Truly inspirational.

@binu_t_paul