A superstar of India’s vibrant fintech scene, Razorpay is getting global attention as one of the world’s hottest startups.
The secure channel-based messaging platform Slack has been there from the very start, helping Razorpay build the culture and products that make it India’s highest-valued fintech.
Founded and led by college friends Shashank Kumar and Harshil Mathur in 2014, just eight years later Razorpay enables more than 8 million businesses to send and receive payments, employs about 2,300 people, and offers a full suite of business financial services.
The world is noticing. Legendary Silicon Valley tech investor Y Combinator recently ranked Razorpay among its Top 10 Breakthrough Companies worldwide—the first Indian company to make that list. Razorpay also made Y Combinator’s Top Companies list, putting it up there with names such as Airbnb, Instacart and Reddit.
“What we've always done was to map everything back to Slack, so that you are aware of what's happening inside the organisation. So that information is not siloed. And this is something that is very important to us, because we run on transparency.”
Slack: a cornerstone of Razorpay culture
Creating an incredible culture and adopting smart ways of working have fuelled this stellar rise, and also made Razorpay officially one of India’s “Great Places to Work.”
Razorpay director of design Chetty Arun, who’s been there since the beginning, says three key values are at the heart of the company: transparency, bias for action, and taking ownership.
“All of these values are interlinked. For you to take ownership, you need to have information handy. For you to have information handy, you need transparency. For you to run agile and have a bias for action, you need to collaborate well with people and you need to take that level of ownership.”
Slack is how those values come together. So much so that it’s actually part of the company’s DNA, Arun says. The company has grown up around Slack; it’s been Razorpay’s digital HQ since day one, and Arun says the company wouldn’t be the same without it. “There was no pre-Slack era for Razorpay at all. It was one of the first tools that we had when we started.”
Ask Arun what happens if there’s no Slack at Razorpay and his answer is simple: “Our values take a hit, right then and there.” Why? “Because the moment Slack is out of the picture, we’ll have to look for alternatives that seamlessly connect all our values.” Arun says comparisons over the years haven’t found anything that comes remotely close to Slack in doing this. Having Slack also means Razorpay’s values don’t just live in a PowerPoint somewhere. They’re right there, working where the business rubber hits the road.
Troubleshooting issues in real time with Slack search
For Razorpay’s customers, no payments means no business. “It’s as good as their business ceasing to exist,” says Arun. But online payments can be complex, making great customer service non-negotiable.
Customer service has to have all the right information centralised and at its fingertips, available for rapid response. Slack is where this happens. Again, transparency is key. No information is locked away, out of reach. All of Razorpay’s customer service help is archived, searchable and accessible quickly via Slack.
“If there is someone on the customer support team who’s stuck, Slack provides all the information for them. Either someone has answered this question already on Slack, or we’ve set up our FAQs directly on Slack,” says Arun.
Mentions on social media are also flagged directly via Slack and detailed answers to some queries are automated. Tricky problems can also be solved quickly via Slack with the answer shared across teams via “on call” Slack channels for greater transparency. .
“Having Slack as a communication platform has helped us in making sure that we are there for our customers with the right information at the right time, with the right speed,” says Arun.
Delivering high-quality products with speed
Slack also plays a major role in delivering Razorpay’s products. Razorpay Magic Checkout, which enables one-click shopping, is a prime example. It needed input from product, design, engineering, operations, and marketing. A project-specific Slack channel,
#razorpaymagic, brought all those teams together.
“Everyone just collaborates in one Slack channel. So I don’t need to specifically go into every function and tell them what’s happening in design. I can just post my designs in the channel and people are open to give me feedback,” Arun says. “So collaboration becomes a lot easier with Slack.”
It’s actually easier than trying to do it all in person, he says. “For example, it’s very difficult for me to bring in a hundred people working on Razorpay Magic in one room and have proper discussions. But it’s very easy to get them into a Slack channel and have threaded discussions where everything is properly structured and organised.”
“Razorpay is a company where transparency is one of the most important pieces for us. Slack aids brilliantly in this use case.”
Automating common tasks in Slack to save time
The different tools Razorpay uses are also brought together by Slack through hundreds of integrations with other apps and systems. And it’s easy to do. “Even though multiple teams have different tools, integrating them is just a click away for us,” Arun says.
Platforms like Jira, Confluence and Asana can all be accessed via Slack and staff save time by not having to constantly switch between platforms.
“What we’ve always done was to map everything back to Slack, so that you are aware of what’s happening inside the company,” Arun says. “So that information is not siloed. And this is something that is very important to us because we run on transparency.”
That culture doesn’t stop at Razorpay’s front door. Using Slack Connect as a way to collaborate with partners outside the company also takes away the operational friction that can come with working with external teams. “Collaboration becomes easier with Slack Connect. It doesn’t feel as though a supplier is part of an external team. It feels like they’re a part of the internal team itself,” Arun says.