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Respect the market and act like a rookie, even if you are a promising US-based fintech startup carrying out transactions worth $3 million monthly. This ideology has kept PingPong afloat and on its way to dominating the cross-border payments market globally and in India.
The world has seen several notable brands and businesses collapse due to their resistance to change and adopting new ideologies. Global brands have entered the Indian market, only to return to their headquarters with dejected hearts and big holes in their pockets.
And that’s something PingPong did not want, at any cost, when it entered the Indian subcontinent in 2019.
Founded in 2015 by Fudan University alumnus Yu Chen in New York, Ping Pong’s mission since its inception was to empower and enable e-commerce sellers to make a significant margin on their profits and to save the majority of their hard-earned money after currency conversions. Within a short period, PingPong climbed the fintech ladder establishing itself as a salient player while expanding its base globally.
“Our goal would definitely be to become a regional unicorn in India, in the next couple of years,” shared Mukesh Sahu, country head, PingPong India on being asked what the plan is for the next two-three years.
Undoubtedly that was the vision when PingPong entered the Indian market in Q1 of 2019, launching global payment services for export sellers. After all, within a few months of India vertical’s inception, PingPong US was deemed a Unicorn Enterprise with a valuation of $1 billion. The parent company
Headquartered in Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley counterpart of India, PingPong is a payment service provider on the export side of the country’s trade. It helps Indian exporters get their money back into their bank accounts at a meagre foreign exchange rate and in a reasonable timeframe. Calling themselves a provider of an ‘entire lifecycle’ of export payments, PingPong facilitates right from payment reception, payment gateway, and currency exchange to repatriating into the exporter’s bank accounts. Apart from having its wallet, PingPong’s payment gateways help b2c brands process payments on their websites.
To find a solid footing in the market as a fintech player, PingPong Global Solution Inc India sought the cooperation of the stable e-commerce giants of the country. “We didn’t know how exactly India is going to perceive a FinTech company like us. Hence, we wanted to go with a very stable business and learn the compliance practices and product requirements of the country through a stable platform like Amazon and other e-commerce platforms. So that’s how we started in 2019,” shared Sahu.
By 2021, the company realized that they were catering to a large population of e-commerce customers, making up the startup’s largest segment. However, it was time to diversify the customer base. PingPong expanded its base from e-commerce exporters only to cater to traditional goods exporters, freelancers, and service exporters.
True to its goal, PingPong has shown tremendous growth and potential in the market, making its customers and investors believe in their vision for 2026: to become a regional unicorn.
The startup claims to have grown from a market share of 10 per cent in 2019 to close to 40 per cent in the ongoing year and vouches for an impressive growth rate of over 200 per cent year on year for FY21 and is eying at a three-digit growth rate this year as well. In FY21, the fintech brand declared that it had clocked in approximately $500 billion+ export transactions.
Soon, it realized that the core product itself was not enough and that diversification of products and services was needed. The traditional methods of payments process have always included banks. The financial institutions have a diverse offering to exporters, enabling them to achieve more in the long run. Thus began the experimentation. Sahu claims PingPong to be the first PSP to have built an ecosystem for exporters with its VIP Program and PingPong Accelerate Program, which includes business consultations on how to grow their business and diversify their verticals.
The startup proudly boasts of diverting a significant chunk of its competitor and bank’s customers to itself and credits its additional offerings for the same. In January 2021, it introduced Request Payment, which generates a payment link for the customers to upload and send their payment invoices for small-value remittance.
“We obsess over our customers. That’s something which is in our DNA, and which runs through every one of us who works at PingPong. So that’s not going to change for sure. And that is going to be our guiding light, to do everything in India,” Sahu shared hopefully.
The fintech startup will continue to evolve and experiment to develop new products and services to make the lives of its customers easy when dealing with exports and repatriation.
Watch the full interview on Entrepreneur India’s official YouTube channel.
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