42-yr-old Shyam Kumar was happy with his salary of rupees 8000 per month being a peon with this Mumbai startup just because the amount was more than what he could earn as a security guard in his previous job. He was not expecting a high paying job because he had left his education incomplete due to father’s bad health. He knew nothing about technicalities of ESOP despite his CEO explaining him many a times. He just knew that ESOP is something that would benefit him in long run.
Shyam Kumar stayed in a 10×10 room in a slum in Malad area of Mumbai suburbs. The 100 sq. ft area would house 10 people that included Shyam and his own family; his parents and his brother’s family. The family used curtain to divide the sleeping area as the room was too small for any other arrangement. Shyam would reach at 10pm every morning to their small basement office in Santacruz of Mumbai. He would often be alone in the office as other people including CEO Jitendra Gupta were usually out for meeting and business expansions. Many a time he would be sceptical about the nature of business his company was in.
Today Shyam lives in a 1 BHK rented flat in Mumbai, planning to buy a new house in outskirts, has a better mobile phone, planning a holiday in Goa and has health insurance too. Thank to his continuous trust in the company he was working despite knowing much about its business.
Kumar got the job back in 2010 when his company Citruspay was formed. While the company was working on business development, they got funded in several rounds by Sequoia Capital, Ascent Capital, eContext Asia and Beenos Asia and few others. By 2016 Citruspay had customers that included Indigo, Go Air and Amazon India. That same year, South African-firm Naspers-backed PayU acquired Mumbai-based CitrusPay for USD 130 million in September last year, in an all-cash deal. Making Shyam one of those 50 odd employees who got benefited by the deal.
Shyam’s story is itself a rags to riches story that many would credit to his organisation. Kumar who was the first few employees of the organisation saw the firm growing from scratch. Despite payment gateways and ESOP being too complicated ideas for him, he continued his trust in the company and got rewarded.
In 2016 when Citruspay got acquired, his CEO personally called him and told that he would be getting 50 lac for his stake in the company. He did not believe the news at first but was later explained about the technicalities. When Shaym told his wife about the news, she too did not believe it till the money was actually deposited in the bank.
Shyam Kumar’s story is a fine example of India’s growing startup culture and represents the big Indian dreams.