First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: A decade and a half ago, Bishwas Dhakal was studying software engineering at the Nepal College of Information Technology (NCIT). Continuing his studies amidst various ups and downs, Dhakal used to work as a data entry officer in Plan International to meet his tuition fees and he was paid Rs 14,000 per month for the job.
Dhakal, who was studying IT, was thinking of registering a domain and starting a web hosting business, which he believed would generate revenue enough to pay his college fees. He decided to register a company and registered F1 Soft in 2004 and started web hosting business. Dhakal did domain registration works for about a year and a half. During that period, he had registered 4,000 domains. He expanded his office with what he had earned from registering domains.
F1 Soft, which Dhakal started to register domains, has today become the largest FinTech company in Nepal.
Today, F1 Soft has entered its 19th year and has become a ‘Group of Companies’ from a small firm that used to register domains. Under F1 Soft, 13 companies are in operation today. The company today is into multiple businesses across various sectors including banking, software development, health, insurance, bus ticket, money transfer, drinking water, travel, IT college, among others. The company has given direct jobs to more than 1000 people.
“F1 Soft was started as a small software company,” says Subash Sharma, chief executive officer (CEO) of the company, adding, “F1 Soft today has added various services.”
F1 Soft focused on banking and finance from 2006 onward. F1 Soft laid the foundation for digital payments in Nepal. On the one hand, efforts were made to make the banking system more convenient and digital, while on the other hand, digital payment services were introduced through eSewa.
When eSewa was started in 2009, people did not believe them. The team led by Dhakal was trying to establish digital recharging system in Nepal and they had a big dream. They were aware that digital payment has a big prospect in Nepal as services like PayPal were coming aggressively in India.
Dhakal wanted to make a special team working in eSewa as he felt that he could not work alone. Subsequently, Subash Sharma and Asgar Ali joined the team. Both were good friends of Dhakal in college. Since then, the team started working in the banking sector. SMS banking was started in 2008 and customers came to know that the information of the bank can also be taken from the mobile. Internet banking was introduced by further refining it. After that, F1 Soft also worked in mobile banking and provided necessary software to banks and financial institutions.
In 2012, eSewa was registered as a separate company. Fonepay has done a great job in the journey of F1 Soft. It is working to connect one bank to another bank, mobile wallet and bank by creating an ecosystem of the company’s products. Now the company will focus on bringing new services in the banking sector, informed Sharma. For example, Fonepay now offers a ‘mobile loan’ service that allows customers to get loan from mobile alone. “Now we will work on new products to facilitate such banking customers,” said Sharma.
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