An individual’s goal should not be to merely exist or survive; rather the individual should pursue a better tomorrow which alleviates the shortcomings of today.
-Asgar Ali, CEO, eSewa
When phones were not smart and the time was still physical, a young lad from Argakachi doing his undergrad in software engineering along with few of his peers thought about creating a business around online payment that would now be known as eSewa. However, bringing a new concept with no framework or foundation to land upon is the same as going on a suicide mission. For online payment to operate, the banking industry had to be straightened in terms of system technology. Setting their vision on making online payment come to reality; he and his team started to work on building the needed framework. Building the framework in itself was bringing a huge change in the financial sector of the country. He, then with his team then started with SMS services which would enable anyone to check their balance, inquire about statement all through the phone. The ease this service brought was inexplicable. They were excited by the response of the people but at the same time knew that they that a lot more to do to complete the framework.
It is not the beauty of a building that you should look at, it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
– David Allan Coe
It was back in 2007 that they developed a system which would allow two persons sharing the same bank to do transactions between themselves. He pushed it a step further and made it possible to have transactions with anyone irrespective of the bank they had their accounts in. This completed the needed framework which allowed them to work on their vision of bringing online payment to Nepal. This concept then got a name and was thus introduced in 2009. eSewa in itself is a platform, a platform that represents a virtual wallet filled with digital money. This not only fosters technological development but also promotes the economy as a person even in a remote area can now conduct online business and tap into the market. This journey of his started back when he was 22 studying in his 3rd year of his software engineering; ladies and gentlemen introducing one of the cofounders of F1 Soft International and the present CEO of eSewa: Mr. Asgar Ali
Strengthening the banking system and technology was now all shaping up the road to bring online payment as only with a well-equipped system can online payment be successful. eSewa was never, is never and will never be a money making tool says, Ali, as this platform was designed with the sole reason to uplift all level of producers and help business owners, service providers reach as many people as possible so that it levitates not one but all. Asgar’s childhood was spent in various places which gave him exposure to different people, lifestyle, and culture at a very small age. Born in Argakachi, Ali shifted from there along with his parents studied his primary classes in Dang. After that, he came to Butwal and continued his education till intermediate level at Lumbini Boarding and then went to study in Horizon for his secondary level. He then came to Kathmandu to further continue his education and pursued his higher secondary and undergraduate education.
Started with an idea of bringing online payment to Nepal; Asgar and his team are now working with government agencies for making it possible to make the government payments all through the use of an app as eSewa in its truest form is a virtual wallet equipping the user to conduct transactions as s/he desires. Asgar now stresses to the young buds that only having an idea that solves problems is not enough; you will need to materialize the concept and bring forth the market; execute your idea or else it will be just words on your paper which is no good, is what he says.
A lot of times, people start out with a lot of good ideas, but then they don’t execute. They lose the purity of their vision. You end up running in circles.
– Jan Koum
As of now, eSewa has 1200 service providers but this year the team is dedicated and committed to having 10000 service providers so that more people can benefit from this platform. Asgar is working 9 to 9 these days and he checks his mail after he comes from work and dozes off at around 11-12. He and his team have planned on doing marketing like never before all for raising awareness about digital money and online payment which will educate people unaware about this; hence helping them to reap the benefits it has to offer. The company is valued at 15 million USD but plans to grow much more than this. They have licensed by NRB which has opened even more avenues to explore than before. For this, more willing people are definitely welcomed by the company but if the person is not willing enough to learn and cannot respect work his qualifications are of a null value says Ali because it is the self-interest and self- motivation that should drive a person and not money adds Ali.
eSewa’s bigger vision is to contribute to the country’s economy by having 2-3% of the country’s transactions through their platform. This will make people more technologically sound and take Nepal to a digital level. He shares that there will be times when the idea might not be just right for the market and thus might not be well-received but that does not give you any reason to quit and turn your back. He says to analyze what had lacked or had been miscalculated and work on it again and again and again. The industry does not matter, the money too does not matter as much as you think it does and the fame will come and go; it is the passion that matters, determination to do, solve, change that matters, so whatever it is that you do; do it passionately says Ali as his ending remarks to the aspiring youths out there.
There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
– Nelson Mandela
Written By Sagar, The Octopi