“Mr Nagaraj, could I introduce you to someone," my auditor called out to the person I had just passed by. We shook hands. Mr Nagaraj was the country manager of the world’s largest payments terminal maker.
The year was 2006 when accessing internet meant connecting your laptop to an ISP through a telephone wire, the wire restricting your movement. We had created a small adapter, called Vaayu that plugged into a laptop’s telephone jack and wirelessly connected to its matching base station connected to a telephone wall socket. Vaayu removed the wire restriction, allowing one to move around while browsing on a laptop.
When created in 2004 it invoked good interest. The first customer was Apple in India and many others followed. However, sales in two years was tepid as we needed money to market the product and funding for hardware ideas was tough. Having raised a total of $200,000 from friends and family we were already running thin.
We met Mr Nagaraj and he asked whether Vaayu could make payment terminals wireless. Terminals those days operated on telephone lines. Our adapter made the terminal wireless, which could now be brought to the customer in restaurants and petrol bunks, driving security and convenience. Mr Nagaraj showed it to his Asia Pacific team. His international sales head called us asking us how quickly we could deliver 1,000 units. We had sold 200 units in two years. We sold 10,000 in the next six. From the outside of payment terminals, we started peeping inside and discovered our inspiration—the world of payments. We created the first cloud platform that could add intelligence to payment channels, helping merchants, brands and financial service providers save cost and discover news ways of enhancing sales.
If you are hungry and humble, your vision will evolve as opportunities come by.