Sameer Nigam is the CEO and a co-founder of PhonePe.
Sameer Nigam was born in Mumbai and grew up in Delhi.
His father is an IITian and an engineer and he initially worked in the Indian Navy and later, joined Larsen & Toubro and worked on many prestigious projects like INS Arihant and Chandrayaan.
Inspired to become an entrepreneur-
Even though the majority of Sameer’s family members chose conventional careers like IAS and other government jobs, his mother inspired him to become an entrepreneur.
His mother learnt computer science on her own and studied for a PhD.
In the early 1970s, she joined Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and was one of the initial employees of TCS.
Even though entrepreneurship wasn’t common in her family, she became a serial entrepreneur by the early 1980s.
Sameer grew up watching his mother working for long hours for her startup, thinking of brand names, initial employees, etc.
His mother was a fearless entrepreneur and as he was inspired by her, he too wanted to grow up to become a fearless entrepreneur.
Later, when Sameer became an entrepreneur, his mother whole-heartedly supported him.
In 1995, Sameer joined University of Mumbai to study a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Computer Engineering.
And he graduated in 1999.
In 2007, Sameer joined Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, United States to study MBA in Entrepreneurship and in 2009, this School awarded him Wharton Venture Award (WVA).
He also did a Masters (MS) in Computer Science from The University of Arizona.
An interesting fact- Sundar Pichai also did MBA from The Wharton School.
In 2000, Sameer joined a consumer internet company in Los Angeles, United States.
He worked at Shopzilla as a Director of Product Management and developed a proprietary shopping search engine.
His first startup-
Later, Sameer returned from the United States to India and in 2009, he along with Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer founded Mime360 in Mumbai.
He knew Rahul since 1995, as he was his classmate while studying at University of Mumbai.
Later, both of them were roommates in Arizona.
Sameer was the CEO of Mime360 whereas Rahul and Burzin served as the CTOs.
Sameer met Burzin in 2000 in Los Angeles and has been in constant touch with him since then.
Mime360 was a digital content platform focused on music.
Sameer invested his lifetime earnings to start Mime360.
Initially, he didn’t have enough funds for his startup and he didn’t want to raise funds so, he incubated on an engineering college campus and convinced the college faculty to provide him with students to work for Mime360.
This was a win-win situation as the students got an opportunity to learn and Sameer got free talent.
But Mime360 couldn’t become very profitable.
Working at Flipkart-
In 2011, Mime360 got acquired by Flipkart and so, Sameer started working at Flipkart.
Initially, he worked as a Vice President (VP) of Marketing and from April 2014 to August 2015, he worked as Senior Vice President of Engineering in Bengaluru.
Sameer also worked in many other roles at Flipkart and this varied experience later helped him at PhonePe.
In December 2015, Sameer along with Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer founded PhonePe in Bengaluru.
The beginnings of PhonePe was humble as it started out in a worn out office in HSR Layout which didn’t even have a car parking.
Sameer’s work experience at Flipkart helped him to recognise larger markets for PhonePe.
In 2016, PhonePe got acquired by Flipkart and in the same year, PhonePe’s UPI based on and offline payments app was launched.
Indian banknote demonetisation of 2016 played a vital role in the popularity of PhonePe.
PhonePe is owned by Walmart as in 2018, Flipkart, the parent company of PhonePe got acquired by Walmart.
As of 2021, PhonePe is India’s leading digital payments platform.
Now, PhonePe isn’t a mere payments app as it offers many financial services like Liquid Funds, Super funds, Motor Insurance, Travel Insurance, ATM, etc.
Sameer is also an investor and invested in three companies namely, Artifacia, Raise Financial Services and Bzaar.
Sameer is married and has kids and currently lives in Bengaluru.
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