Rahul Chari

Founder & CTO, PhonePe
Rahul Chari is the Co-founder and CTO of payments platform PhonePe. He built the stack for eKart logistics at Flipkart before he went on to build PhonePe, India’s first non-banking payment platform. Unlike many other founders who think of IIT as the only stepping stone to success, Rahul believed differently. He cracked the premier exam and got admission to IIT-Bombay in 1995, but decided to bypass the institute. He joined the University of Mumbai to do what he always wanted to do: computer science engineering. Today, the three-time entrepreneur has over 18 years of experience in storage visualisation, content management, and supply chain technology. View on technology “I genuinely believe that India as a country (along with its people and industry) will leapfrog the traditional models of growth and progress on all fronts. This presents us with the unique opportunity to view every problem around us with the lens of applying technology to enable this jump. Technology, to me, is the means to apply solutions at scale to high impact areas that can bring about massive positive change in the society, shape the right behaviour, and bring otherwise not easily accessible offerings to the masses.” Key tech focus Building digital payments, commerce platforms Building fintech, digital media platforms, websites/mobile apps, ecommerce, supply chain systems Building embedded systems (SAN Switching, Storage Virtualization, SAN-based RAID) Building enterprise S/W Development (SAN-based data Migration, remote replication, iSCSI, IP over FC, FC2-4 stack). Role of AI and ML AI is a key driver of the future of technology and enterprises in general. Its effect can be seen in homes, businesses and even public spaces. AI will soon be all-pervasive from driving cars, stocking warehouses, and caring for patients to automating routine tasks. Systems leveraging AI and Machine Learning will only help employees or companies optimise tasks, become more efficient, and increase overall productivity. AI and ML will make us more efficient and free up time for critical thinking and ideation. Core skills of problem solving, creativity, and storytelling will always be the key to success. Top challenges As the scale and impact of PhonePe and companies of similar size grow, hiring top talent that comes with the experience of a similar scale is a challenge. A more structured approach to investing in growing talent internally is needed to meet the ambitions of the organisation As more world-class products come out of India, it should be matched by similar levels of contribution by the software engineering community to open source stacks. Need to create a more vibrant open source community in Bengaluru and the rest of the country.