This Power Couple is Recharging Each Others' Lives
It was after a few months since Upasana had moved back to India, after a working stint in the United States. Around 2008, she wasn’t too sure of whether she wanted to continue or start something on her own. At a friend’s place, she met Bipin which went on to become a life-long association. A native of Rourkela, Bipin moved to Delhi in 1993.
While on date, they merely exchanged words of love and would rather talk about their aspirations and entrepreneurial inclination; wherein both of them found an instant connect. Sharing the same, Bipin says, “Both of us were frustrated with what was happening in our lives.” While working in a Noida-based firm, Bipin had already bought the domain Mobikwik in 2008 and was working with an IIT junior to build the website. Bipin’s manager came to know about it and didn’t approve of it. He quit the job at the very moment to focus on Mobikwik exclusively.
Talking about the role Upasana played in the entrepreneurial call taken by Bipin, he says, “She literally pushed me to quit my job, I really had no money to start Mobikwik.” “There was a big backlash in his family when he spoke about his entrepreneurial venture,” remembers Upasana. Although Bipin comes from a business family, with his father running a bookstore that got burnt down during the ’84 riots. Following the incident, they faced a huge financial distress.
The family found stability again only after Bipin started working for the MNC. The idea struck when Bipin saw that his mother regularly ran out of phone balance. “So every two days, I had to go and recharge the phone, so I was like, what is this? So I started thinking how can it be solved?” “In June 2009, it officially started. Upasana was till then just helping out.”
Currently Bipin is the majority shareholder in the business followed by Upasana. Together, they hold 51 per cent of the shares in Mobikwik. The last quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016 proved to be the most challenging in their lives.
Agrees Upsana, “If you talk to parents of young babies, you know the first 6 months are hard for any couple. Now during this time, you are also concerned about your other baby, which you have spent 6-7 years trying to build together. And now it is like, Oh my God, if we don’t raise more money, then the company might have to shut down or fire a few people. This is the time it hurts to be a couple entrepreneur.”
(This article was first published in the March issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)