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How An Indian Immigrant Built €1.4 Billion Firm Starting With Just €32k

Indians don’t merely have business roots in India but have made use of their talent and knowledge in foreign countries, too. Today, we will walk you through the journey of a person who wanted to start a business, but had no clue about how to go about it. All his questions found their answers in his journey.

Paresh Davdra came to UK as an Indian immigrant when his family travelled from Uganda in 1972 with just 50 euros. His family had an entrepreneurial background and hence he, too, was driven by the thought of being his own boss one day. After graduating with a degree in marketing and computer science, he got a job with a foreign exchange firm in London at the age of 23.

It was all working well and he drew a handsome salary. But, an entrepreneur’s mind could see what no one else could and he noticed that firms dealing in foreign exchange don’t have an online platform. His plan was now clear, and decided to have a startup of his own dealing in foreign exchange on an online platform.

Paresh had a partner to help him with this. It was Rajesh Agrawal who was his father’s friend and had come to UK three years back. Rajesh was convinced with the idea and so in 2005, they together started their operations towards establishing their startup named RationalFX. They moved to Brighton to create a base for RationalFX with only a cell phone and laptop with them. The first step was to find funding and so Rajesh thought of approaching the banks. But, as RationalFX initially didn’t have a market reputation, the bank refused to fund them. The next day, Rajesh again visited the bank but this time he applied for a personal loan saying he wanted to buy a car. To his surprise, he received double the amount of what he actually sought. On the other hand, Rajesh sold his car and together they raised 32,000 euros of finance for RationalFX.

After receiving the required amount, they had to convince the banks to provide them with foreign exchange at a wholesale rate so they could offer a good deal to their customers. The banks agreed to it as Paresh pitched to them saying the banks cannot deal with several small customers. Instead, it would be easy to exclusively deal with one big customer which was RationalFX.

They then started connecting with certain companies that were into foreign exchange through phone. At first, they got in touch with big companies that helped them boost their performance in the market.

The business model of RationalFX included that they had less overheads than the banks. They focused more on consumer benefits and less on profits. Obviously, it was their need to be cheaper than the others. This helped them gain consumer support and get word of mouth promotion. They would visit London three to four times in a week to attend events that could help them network. Even today, 60 percent of their business works on recommendations.

After six months in Brighton, they shifted the business to London. Instead of fixing a compensation for themselves, the duo invested every penny back in the business to help it prosper.

In 2012, Paresh and Rajesh launched Xendpay, a subsidiary of RationalFX which lets people send money overseas online and allows people to pay as much or as little as they like for the service. Today, to deal in foreign exchange one has to have a license after the act passed in 2009.

Today, after 12 years of starting the business the company has a turnover of 1.4 billion euros and processes payments worth $10 billion. Today, Paresh, 37, thinks there’s a lot more for the entrepreneurs to do and to achieve. His dedication towards the business kept him going even in the toughest times and his patience bore fruits.

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