She Turned Down Rs.145 Cr and Built a Rs.8200 Cr Business Empire

Learn about Suneera Madhani's journey from a finance enthusiast to a leading CEO, creating a unique business model that challenges traditional payment processing.

She Turned Down Rs.145 Cr and Built a Rs.8200 Cr Business Empire

Tuesday November 14, 2023,

2 min Read

In 2014, Suneera Madhani and her brother Sal Rehmetullah embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that would redefine the payment platform industry. Their brainchild, Stax, stood out in a crowded market by adopting a unique business model: charging a flat monthly fee rather than a percentage of sales. This innovative approach not only distinguished Stax from its competitors but also signified a bold step in the payment processing landscape.

Suneera's journey to success is deeply rooted in her family's narrative. As the daughter of Pakistani immigrants in the United States, she witnessed firsthand the struggles and failures her parents endured in their business ventures. Nevertheless, these challenges fueled her passion for finance, leading her to earn a degree from the University of Florida. Her professional career began at First Data, where she gained valuable experience selling payment terminals to business owners. It was here that Suneera identified a critical flaw in the standard payment processing fee structure, which typically involved a percentage cut from sales.

Undeterred by the conventional norms of the industry, Suneera, with the support of her brother and family, set out to challenge the status quo. Her initial attempts to pitch her revolutionary idea to 12 banks met with rejection. However, persistence paid off. Taking a six-month hiatus from work, Suneera and Sal tested their concept in Orlando, successfully securing 100 clients. Their determination was further tested when they declined a lucrative offer of $17.5 million to sell their company, a decision that would later prove to be remarkably foresighted.

Suneera's vision and hard work culminated in monumental success. By last year, Stax had amassed over $263 million in funding and achieved a valuation exceeding one billion dollars. The company, under their leadership, has significantly impacted the industry, employing over 300 people and handling transactions worth $23 billion.

Beyond her achievements with Stax, Suneera has demonstrated a profound commitment to empowering women in the business world. She founded CEOSchool, a platform that unites over 300,000 women CEOs, providing them with support, guidance, and a sense of community. Additionally, she hosts a podcast and balances her professional life with her role as a mother to two daughters.

Suneera Madhani's story is a testament to the power of innovation, resilience, and the pursuit of the American Dream. Her journey underscores the importance of challenging established norms and illustrates the potential for success, regardless of one's background.