Hello, this is Tarush in Bengaluru. For fintech executives, Diwali festivities came a week early. Several firms announced a top-deck shuffle with founders moving on to focus on the big picture, as business heads became chief executives of separate verticals.
While fintech infrastructure provider Perfios appointed a new chief technology and chief people officer, digital payments service providers Razorpay and Mswipe promoted a bunch of senior executives to leadership roles.
Online payments major PhonePe appointed four CEOs to head major business verticals.
What’s the matter? With fintech startups expanding their scope of business from what they started out with, the appointment of individual leaders for each vertical shows companies are now becoming full stack.
For instance, PhonePe began life with UPI payments in 2015 but now offers credit, insurance, wealth management as well as offline payments. All of these businesses will now have separate CEOs.
Razorpay began by facilitating ecommerce transactions in 2014, but now offers digital banking, credit and is also bolstering operations outside India.
Zooming in: As startups expand to newer geographies, founders are increasingly looking at these markets and are appointing seasoned professionals to handle their India businesses.
Both Mswipe and Razorpay, are aggressively eyeing international markets across the Middle East, North America and South East Asia.
Mswipe, which recently entered the UAE, is looking to launch in Singapore and Indonesia by January next year. It is also eying the US and the UK markets.
Mswipe founder and managing director Manish Patel along with chief executive officer Ketan Patel will now focus on future synergies and international expansion, as the India leadership continues to report into them.
“We wanted to streamline the business and focus on expansion, while ensuring India business is well covered. These leaders will ensure operational excellence for the firm (in the domestic market), as founders may be in different time zones focusing on expansion,” said Ketan Patel, who was also elevated as cofounder.
At Razorpay, which recently ventured into Malaysia, newly-appointed chief operating officer Rahul Kothari will look at product crossover for international geographies and ensure revenue outcomes from Southeast Asia as well. He was earlier responsible for revenue outcomes in India.
Kothari will also be responsible for fine-tuning processes domestically, across technology, quality and customer service functions.
“Inducting a strong leadership in place allows founders to start thinking about the strategic direction of business and not just day-to-day operations,” said a fintech founder closely watching these movements.
Run up to an IPO: For a few of the fintechs that have started preparations for a public listing, these appointments have come at a crucial time.
For PhonePe, the appointment of CEOs for these individual businesses indicates:
1. A strong second-tier leadership structure, essential to give confidence to prospective public investors.
2. Identifying executives responsible for individual business’ revenue lines, needed to spruce up PhonePe’s overall revenues.
3. Signals its transformation into a full stack financial services company, with credit, payments, insurance as standalone businesses within the PhonePe group, much like its close rival Paytm.
Banking on professionals: With key responsibilities in place, cofounder and PhonePe chief Sameer Nigam is likely to focus more of his time on the strategic direction for the group while making the company IPO-ready.
Even fintech infrastructure provider Perfios has roped in Sumit Nigam as chief technology officer, who was previously the engineering head at BigBasket, and Anu Mathew as its new chief people officer from Pine Labs with an eye on an eventual listing.
Fintechs have also been hiring seasoned bankers at key roles indicating their seriousness about the new businesses. Cred recently hired Sujay Das, a senior banker, to head its risk functions as it ventures into lending through its own NBFC.
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