Satyen V Kothari and Jitendra Gupta met socially at a party. The duo immediately realised the opportunity of working together but it took them around six months before they agreed to work together on Citrus Pay. Citrus Pay is an innovative payments company focused on providing simplified payment experience to consumers. “The thought originated from problem statements by consumers about issues around payment dropouts and lengthy checkout process,” says Jitendra.
Team behind Citrus Pay
Citrus is founded by Jitendra Gupta and Satyen V Kothari. Before they launched the venture, Jitendra worked as a banker with ICICI Bank. He has over a decade of experience in financial services domain and was instrumental in designing Merchant Acquiring (online and point of sale) strategy for ICICI Bank. Satyen has spent the last 16 years in Silicon Valley and India working with several startups and large Corporations like Intuit, First Data, Cisco, AOL, Yahoo, Frog design and Apple Inc.
Building the initial team was challenging
It is always a challenge to get a team in place. “I used to spend hours on LinkedIn to identify right the people and then follow it up by meetings in coffee shops. We didn’t have an office in the first six months. Coffee shops and hotel lobbies were our meeting points with potential partners and employees,” says Jitendra. The duo took almost two months to get their first 10 clients and have successfully retained majority of them. “I personally call clients to address their issues even if they do not figure in our top 40 clients list,” he adds. .
Recently Citrus Pay has raised $5.5 million in Series B funding from the Japanese online payments service provider e-Context Asia and Netprice.com’s wholly owned subsidiary Beenos Asia with participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital. e-Context is largest payments company in Japan and Netprice has been investing in lot of marketplaces across Asian markets. “We will gain significantly from experience of these investors in different markets,” reveals Jitendra. Earlier in 2012, the company had raised $2 million from Sequoia Capital.
First mover advantage
The company’s flagship product is Citrus Checkout where consumers can create a Citrus wallet for convenient shopping experience across multiple merchant sites. eBay- owned Paypal launched such wallets in other parts of the world. “We’re the first Indian company to introduce such a feature in this market,” adds Jitendra. Flipkart-owned PayZippy recently launched a similar offering. “The good part is that we have first mover advantage in the industry and we are in a healthy situation to tackle any competition ,” he adds..
Payments business is all about trust and scale
Citrus Pay had its own set of challenges to gain trust in the merchant community and the consumers. “We took six months in crossing our first 10K consumers for Citrus Checkout but now we add the same in less than a week,” he says. The company spent significant amount of time in creating the market for its product because initially the merchants were resistant to share details of consumers such as email id, which is an identifier for Citrus account. “We showed them we had no conflicting e-commerce company to misuse the data,” reveals Jitendra.
Citrus Pay is gaining great momentum in the last three quarters. It serves over 1200 plus clients and enables close to a million consumers transacting actively at these merchant locations. “We process around two million transactions a month which is growing by 20-25% on a monthly basis,” says Jitendra.
According to Jitendra, this year has been a turning point for the company. “We achieved scale, built teams and raised funding to boost our growth plans. I think we are geared to move to the next level.”.