INTERVIEW | R&D is what keeps us essentially away from competition, says Harshil Mathur, CEO & co-founder, Razorpay

Published: February 27, 2020 1:50:17 AM

As the digital infrastructure grows in the country, the company has been launching new products and features to end the current financial year on a high note.

Harshil Mathur, razorpayThe idea behind every product we have been launching is to find out what are the various kinds of transactions that a business does and how we can unify them on Razorpay platform, says Harshil Mathur

By Srinath Srinivasan

Razorpay has been riding the UPI wave, seeing an upsurge in payments via its tech platform. As the digital infrastructure grows in the country, the company has been launching new products and features to end the current financial year on a high note. Harshil Mathur, CEO and co-founder, Razorpay, shares his insights into the company’s working, SMEs, banking and more with FE’s Srinath Srinivasan. Excerpts:

Razorpay has a long list of products. How are you identifying use cases as you grow and where will you bet your money today?

We are on a journey. The idea behind every product we have been launching is to find out what are the various kinds of transactions that a business does and how we can unify them on Razorpay platform. We most importantly identify use cases from interacting with customers. We are structured to be a R&D lab and a start-up. Almost 50-60% of our team is on R&D. Since we are a tech company, automation is an important part and it takes care of running the business. This in turn allows us to work on research and development of new product. Banking for SMEs is a new area that excites me. It will help us innovate and scale drastically. We are not looking at becoming a bank anytime soon.

You have been having little to no competition. How do you see this trend? How do you contribute to the payments-tech ecosystem community?

When we started there were a dozen players competing head on with us. But today, we carved out a territory where there is no direct competition. We are looking at the market with a holistic view. In fact, we face competition from traditional banking system, too. But it is not threatening. R&D is what keeps us essentially away from competition. We don’t have a choice to become complacent. When we stop innovating, the competition will catch up to us. To contribute to the community, we opened up certain codes. For instance, we have our bank IFSC code API that gets updated as RBI updates its database. We made it for ourselves but now even our competition uses it and tells us that it’s really useful. This is the position we are in today.

Are you also fuelled by the trend of becoming a unicorn? What is the target you are working towards?

Becoming a unicorn is just a tag on our back, in my view. We have to make a sustainable model to go public. That will generate good value for everyone. Because, getting public money into the business is a very difficult task and we have to develop a standard where people can trust us with their money. We can do that in one of the two ways, by setting valuation targets or by setting targets based on unit economics and scale. I go with unit economics and scale to be sustainable.

What are the roles that will have demand this year in fintech?

We are operating in the era of new economy. For us, it is important to focus on user experience and visual appeal. So, product companies like us will look at roles that contribute to design and user experience mainly – visual designers will be on increased demand. Visual design is still not part of our Indian curriculum sadly. We will also require product managers, data scientists and machine learning engineers. We also expect operations and management guys to get transferred from large corporates to us. That is the bigger trend I am expecting this year.

The writer is CEO & co-founder, Razorpay

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