My journey of making a difference at BharatPe

Karuna Sharma

“I can’t be in a place where I know the answer to every problem.”

It’s been more than 10 years since I started my professional journey and I personally adore the fast-paced life that is the core of any startup. Having worked at Grofers, Rivigo, and now BharatPe, I consider myself a startup enthusiast. I was fortunate enough to be among the first few employees at all three companies, which allowed me to witness the creation of these unicorns from the ground up.

I love the hustle-bustle of a fast-paced environment where I always have something new to do. Whether it’s searching for answers for why something happened or dousing fires, it is always an exciting day at work in startups- one that is satisfying and high on learning. Conventional companies just don’t entice me that much.

Describing myself, I’d say that I am a great team player who is full of energy and is determined to do a better job with every single day. I always strive to be a better professional, a better person, and a better friend. And I aspire to be a good leader- one who inspires the team to deliver their best.

I enjoy the building phase and it gives me immense happiness to see things taking shape. I head Operations for BharatPe and I find delight in the fact that we’re making the lives of many merchants easier, we’re helping them realize their dreams by building a big business, and making money in the process as well.

3 Years and Counting

It all started with me being the first recruit in the Operations team. That was back in the year 2020 when I joined BharatPe and now, over 3 years later, it has become my second home. It won’t be wrong to say that I’m emotionally attached to this place. I’ve learned so much along the way, and grown professionally as well as personally in my tenure here. It’s such a close-knit family that you’re not just working for yourself or for your team, you work for the people around you.

I still remember my first-ever project here. It was in the pandemic era when we first started the DIY merchants project. We aimed to enable our merchants to download our app and order QR codes or other products. Earlier this project was put on the back burner, but we saw potential in it, extracted it and as of today, DIY merchants account for almost 10% of our total business.

Later in the year, we successfully launched the loyalty program for BharatPe. I spearheaded the ideating, designing, delivering, and everything around merchandise for merchants- from conception to execution.

By the year 2021, we were successfully running the lead generation program, under the guidance of Dhruv and Kartik Bakshi. Starting from the early days of operations, where we were still trying to figure out how to make a mark in the industry, to building a large team of over 200 people and managing a user base of over 10 million, the journey has been nothing short of exhilarating.

In the following years we successfully launched our own POS machines, postpe cards, speakers, and onboarded millions of merchants. What started in 20 odd cities, is now available in 400+ cities and 19,000 pincodes.

I’ve been one of the early team members of BharatPe and have been a part of the company’s growth journey from its initial days. We started small- a cohesive team based in a small office in Malviya Nagar, with a big passion to make it big. Today, as I look back, the company has achieved a lot. From becoming a unicorn to having a workspace in Cybercity, we’ve all come a long way together.

The Vibe at BharatPe

The best thing about BharatPe is the vibe here. I love how we all are working together to achieve a common goal, and I can just walk up to anyone and ask a question without being embarrassed. The vibe here is immaculate, there is a warmth in people and a sense of belongingness, which I personally love & adore.

A typical day at BharatPe for me starts with me having my breakfast with my friends at work. Even though we’re sort of dispersed, team-wise, we all make sure that we meet up every morning and have our breakfast together. I’m known as the de-stressor amongst my friends at work. People come to me when they feel that they need to de-stress or get their mind off something that has been bothering them. I am glad I am able to bring a smile to people's faces. After all, it should not be about work-work-work but a beautiful blend of serious and fun times. The zeal in people around me to make an idea work, is what inspires me the most and keeps me excited to be at work. It has been a memorable journey over the course of the last 3 years- our roles have evolved, and we have also evolved as individuals- but the bond has only grown stronger.

The Operations Team

From the era of excel sheets to now complete automation, we’ve come a long way. With the immense support of each member that worked on the speaker operations project with me, we’ve brought the escalations down from over 10,000 with 15 days of delivery TAT (turnaround time) to just 50 daily escalations and 3 to 4 days of delivery TAT. We’ve managed to get our operations to where a three-year old POS machine business would stand with no pendency at all. Now, we’re on our way to embrace ‘Make in India’ more rigorously. Let me just say, a lot of new things are coming!

My KRA, KPI and a personal motto is that the business cannot stop, orders will keep coming in, and we’d have to fulfill those orders. Because there are no down days for me, I never feel like quitting and that translates fantastically into my job.

Miles to Go..

In summation, I’m not where I wanted to be at this point in time but I’m surely on my way!

I want the best- I want to be the best and I want to do the best. Five years down the line I want to be able to look back and be proud of the person I’ve become, for myself and my daughter.