According to Mordor Intelligence, India’s digital payment gateway market is expected to register a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period (2021 to 2026). It is arguably one of the most dynamic markets in the financial industry. The sector has flourished so quickly that the projection into its future is staggering. Technology has driven change in the payment space, sweeping past cards, cheques, and cash, into a new era dominated by AI, machine learning, big data, merchants, e-wallets, and one-click online payments.
Rajesh Desai, CEO & MD of Lyra India, is one business visionary who has been instrumental in bringing about numerous changes in India’s fintech industry. Under his leadership, his company became the first venture to herald the country’s fintech industry banner. It introduced secure connections with an intelligent platform for point-of-sale terminals with 2G/3G/4G and PSTN technology, which proved to be a major disruptor in POS systems in India.
Let’s take a deeper look at the various elements that have shaped Rajesh Desai’s story, including his company, its origins, his professional journey, and advice for budding entrepreneurs.
An overview of his company and offerings
Lyra India is the Indian arm of the French multinational company Lyra. The brand’s journey began back in 2007. In 13+ successful years, it has established itself as a leader in securing e-commerce and proximity payments, standing amongst the most preferred partners for financial establishments. The company is on a mission to build relevant, reliable, and secure solutions to facilitate payments.
A trusted partner for all online payment requisites, Lyra India is actively leading the way in payment gateway services, banking solutions, and white label solutions. It serves the Indian market with highly secure payment acceptance solutions, including Lyra EPOS, SIM Solution, POS Routing Solution, Payment Switch, WhatsApp Payment Solution, and many more add-on innovative services in the payment processing field.
The brand’s inception story
Lyra was founded in Toulouse, France, by Mr. Alain Lacour, a brilliant techpreneur with in-depth knowledge and expertise in the payment domain. In 2007, he and Mr. Christophe Mariette (Commercial Director & Chairman) greenlighted Lyra’s journey in India.
India is an evolving economy, and its fast-paced growth has induced more and more people to embrace cashless payments. It was felt that these digital transactions, being safer and more convenient, could be boosted with technological advancements. Thus, Lyra Network India came into existence. Since the beginning, the company has served customers with quick, robust, and seamless digital payment solutions and services.
Admirable journey of success
It wasn’t easy for Rajesh Desai to leave what he was well-acquainted with. He relocated back to India for an overseas assignment with absolutely no idea of what lay in store. But looking back, he says the decision transformed his life.
His journey to take Lyra India towards success began from scratch. While he was still strengthening its roots, a seasoned professional expressed doubts over the company’s survival for more than a year. For Mr. Desai, it was a defining moment that ignited his entrepreneurial spirit. He resolved to establish the brand as a leader in India’s digital payment industry and make it a satisfying and exciting journey. Today, the CEO has proved all naysayers wrong.
Balancing professional and personal life
The visionary has always believed that a healthy work-life balance can lead to a journey with great possibilities. Every challenge one should incite the hustle to rise above one’s comfort zone. He firmly believes in scheduling priorities instead of prioritizing schedules.
Rajesh Desai’s family has been his biggest support system. He dedicates his success to the many virtues inculcated by his parents. His involvement in extracurriculars and sports since childhood has laid the foundation for a disciplined career where he can easily strike a balance between his personal and professional life.
The brand’s diverse clientele
Over the last decade, Lyra Network has crossed many thresholds and achieved several milestones. The biggest and the most popular payment gateway solution provider, it currently helps thousands of merchants process e-commerce transactions every day. During Rajesh Desai’s tenure, Lyria has served several major banks in India and government organizations, like the Department of Post. Today, the company’s growing customer base comprises renowned organizations in banking, e-commerce, merchant services, finance, railways, transport and other sectors.
The brand’s focus on R&D
Rajesh Desai emphasizes that research & development are the foundation of a company’s success, more so in today’s times. When technology is constantly evolving, your company, solutions, and service must be at par with the world. In his view, if you have done your homework, you will never falter. When it comes to Lyra, he ensures the R&D team remains in a constant pursuit to design, develop, design, and enhance existing payment products, services, technologies, or processes. Along with innovating new ones.
Work ideals that drive Lyra India
Mr. Desai firmly believes that when employees are content, they deliver satisfactory levels of productivity. Under his leadership, Lyra India has fostered a work culture that promotes team-building, accountability, and honesty as well as appreciates constructive criticism and the mutual learning curve. Instead of assigning duties, the company offers responsibilities that recognize employees’ efforts, celebrate their milestones, help them achieve growth, and make them part of the bigger picture.
Insightful thoughts on CEOs chasing their entrepreneurial dreams
According to the visionary, participating in something ‘non-traditional’ or ‘unconventional’ is not harmless. Entrepreneurship is often perceived as being distinct to the corporate mindset, as being reserved for only rule-breakers and game-changers. He, for one, is not for that distinctiveness.
Any CEO who desires to learn and try new things or apply his experience to succeed as an entrepreneur has Mr. Desai’s approval. But as one moves forward, new challenges and opportunities await to be conquered. Here again, he urges all CEOs climbing up the entrepreneurial ladder to believe in their instincts, stay positive and never forgo good advice. He believes that failures are an inevitable and essential part of the journey.
Lyra Network’s noteworthy milestones and accolades
Lyra currently enjoys a major market share thanks to its risk management tools and a stronghold over mobile and electronic payments.
What started as a small team in a shared corner office equipped with a single rack server has transformed over time into a prolific squad of 150+ professionals with multiple dedicated offices and data centers with sixty times more capacity. Under Rajesh Desai’s vision, Lyra Network has been creating smarter and safer network environments, where security is combined with high-value applications that increase efficiency and reduce failed transactions.
In 2017, the company facilitated the cashless conversation in the market triggered by the demonetization drive. During the initial months, almost all major payment gateway servers crashed due to the sudden influx of transactions and transfers. But Lyra’s servers remained perennial due to its technological edge.
The company also bagged the contract to equip Indian postmen with Point of Sale (PoS) machines that simplified paying for a parcel with plastic money. Mr. Desai takes pride in the last-mile connectivity project that has solved transaction processing problems in rural India.
All in all, Rajesh Desai’s experience as a business leader has led to the company bagging numerous awards for innovative solutions and being recognized as one of the most preferred partners for financial establishments.
Notable CSR activities of the company
Lyra India works with responsibility-driven behaviour, using every opportunity to drive social change. It has collaborated with educational institutes, donated to CM and PM relief funds, and actively works in healthcare, environment, and upliftment of the underprivileged.
Under Rajesh Desai’s vision, the brand has worked with Gokhale Education Society and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Education Society to help students, teachers, and academic organizations reach their full potential.
Lyra India has also played an active role in helping the needy fight against COVID-19. It joined hands with Bharat Param Sneh Seva Sansthan to empower the tribal communities in rural Chittorgarh. Together they distributed ration kits in Balkundi Kalan village in Rajasthan.
Future plans for the company
Rajesh envisions expanding Lyra’s presence in India via multiple offerings in the dynamic payment domain. According to him, Lyra will continue to play a key role in the government’s digitization initiative in the near future. The company has had an eventful decade, and with every step forward, he ensures to maintain its reputation as a leader. The aim is to keep serving clients with the same quality and dedicated service by playing to the company’s strengths – modern technology, reliable customer service, and above all, huge investments in terms of time, effort, and money).
Overall, this fintech maven intends to maintain the perseverance with the strategies that have helped the company grow so far and foresee an expansion of offerings in terms of resources, customer base, and partners.