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From peon to millionaire — how Citrus Pay rewarded Shyam Kumar for his loyalty

Think Change India
posted on 23rd February 2017
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In today's world, loyalty isn't all that common, making any display of it not only special but rewarding as well. This rare story of a peon who started working at a startup in 2010 and is now a millionaire just for sticking with the firm is something all of us need to read about.

Source: Money Control

In 2010, Shyam Kumar asked his younger brother, who was working as a driver for a senior banker, to help him get a job. This banker spoke to his good friend Jitendra Gupta, founder of Citrus Pay about it, asking if Shyam could get a job.

Those were the initial days of the e-commerce boom in the country and the time Jitendra was attempting to establish his company. Shyam had a meeting with Jitendra and it fetched him the job of a peon at Citrus Pay for a salary of Rs 8,000.

Shyam had to drop out of school because of his father's ill health and he had been struggling to find work until he joined Citrus Pay. There were instances when Jitendra explained the concept of ESOPs and how they would help him but Shyam never really understood the idea. An ESOP, or an employee stock ownership plan, is basically an equity-based compensation plan.

Shyam used to stay in a small 10×10 room in the slums of Malad in Mumbai. This house hosted 10 people, with his parents and his brother's family. They had to use a curtain to separate the room into halves for comfortable sleeping in the 100sqft house. Shyam used to spend a lot of alone time at the office in Santacruz where he often wondered what the company did and what the business was about.

Over time, Citrus Pay had gone through a series of funding rounds by companies like Sequoia Capital, Ascent Capital, eContext Asia, and Beenos Asia and even went on to acquire big clients like Indigo, GoAir, and Amazon. But what turned out to be a turning point was PayU acquiring Citrus Pay for $130 million in September 2016. This advancement gave way to Shyam's stock of around Rs 50 lakh for his association with the company. Jitendra called Shyam himself and told him about it. Neither he nor his wife was able to believe it until the amount deposited in the bank account.

Shyam presently stays in a rented one-BHK flat and is planning to buy a new house on the outskirts of Mumbai. He uses a better mobile phone, is planning a Goa trip with his family, and even has health insurance now.

Shyam's story is one in a million and it just shows how the startup ecosystem in India seems to be on the right track.

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