We are starting a new series of blogs that feature startup founders. These stories are quick reads that try to understand who the founder is, and how they came to start the company. With some startups, the founding and early success happens serendipitously. But, perseverance is required to sustain the success. In other cases, startups need to toil away day after and day early on, and suddenly they achieve "overnight success". The aim of this blog series is to capture these stories and journeys from a founder's lens.

We are delighted to have the founder of inai, Anantharaman Pattabiraman, as our first featured founder (sounds like a tongue twister!). inai helps businesses integrate multiple payment methods seamlessly.

Your first venture was in the Fitness space. How did you end up starting something in the Fintech space?

When we were scaling our fitness content business into US and other English speaking countries, we found the need to localise the payment stack in every country we expanded. 

We realized that we were spending 30% of our engineering resources on payments when payments constituted just 2-3% of the product. We spoke to a few other similar businesses and realized that they were all building and solving the same set of problems. This gave us the conviction to build inai once we exited the previous business.

You and your co-founder were co-founders in your previous venture too. That doesn’t happen very often! How did you originally meet your co-founder, and are the separation of roles and responsibilities similar to what they were in your previous startup?

Karthik (my co-founder) and I have known each other since high school (8th grade). We ended up following different paths with me going into finance and Karthik in tech but we kept in touch with each other.

Now having known each other for over 30 years and also run and exited a business together, we have a great understanding of each other, our working style, our boundaries etc.

I handle sales, marketing and fundraising while Karthik handles product, tech and customer success. We had a similar split in our previous business (also worked across 2 geographies last time as well) so you can say we have now several years of experience in running the business this way.

Could you tell us about one lucky break you got in your personal or professional life, that helped you significantly in your journey?

Finding the right co-founder and the early team is quite crucial to the success of the company. I think I have been blessed with both with inai. We have managed to pull together folks from SaaS (Freshworks) as well as payments (Razorpay, Payoneer, FIS) folks into the early team.

inai helps companies build their modern payment stacks without any code. Can you tell us 2-3 different use-cases where inai may be relevant?

E-commerce merchants who are either operating at scale or across geographies and want to optimise their conversion rate or translation costs.

Subscription companies that need to build and maintain a subscription layer, manage payments, connect to CRM or finance stack and expand globally.

Higher risk merchants such as gaming or crypto who need to build redundancy in their stack, manage fraud and optimise for conversion.

Thanks a lot for your time, Anta. Good luck with scaling inai!

Thanks, Jayanth. Good luck with Equip too!