Filing Tax Returns Made Easy: Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO, ClearTax
ClearTax has designed a great product which has created its own market by disrupting an industry.
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A software engineer in Silicon Valley who went on to helm one of India’s largest startups ClearTax, Archit Gupta is credited with spearheading a paradigm shift in the fintech sector through the use of technology, a feat that saw him make it to this year’s BW Businessworld’s list of India’s 40 most successful business leaders under the age of 40.
Gupta earned his B. Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, before proceeding to complete his master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating in 2008, he worked at a California-based IT company, Data Domain, as a software engineer.
Inspired by Silicon Valley’s startup environment, and have seen people solve problems through technology, Gupta felt he could do the same in his country as an entrepreneur — a realiSation that made him leave a well-paying job and return to India.
Having experienced firsthand how completely devoid of technology the Indian taxation system was, he began developing his idea for an online income tax filing system that simplified the tax filing process for consumers. The insights and knowledge he gained while working in Silicon Valley helped him in starting his own venture.
In 2011, Gupta along with friends Srivatsan Chari and Ankit Solanki co-founded ClearTax, a Bangalore-based fin-tech platform offering online e-filing and taxation solutions for individuals, businesses, chartered accountants, and tax professionals. In addition, it also provides solutions for GST and mutual fund investments.
“I learnt from my father who is a partner at an accounting firm that not only an average taxpayer but also professionals like him struggled to master the portal. With issues like the excel-based tool, XML formats, it was a major problem and needed a solution. After which I launched ClearTax. It was just 11 days before the deadline ended that year for tax filing. And in those 11 days, ClearTax had almost 1,000 people using the platform. Those who still needed some assistance, I offered it for a small fee. The company also offered corporates, SMEs and chartered accountancy firms a paid service for filing corporate returns,” recalls Gupta, Founder & CEO.
The initial journey was anything but smooth. “As an entrepreneur, it became important to ignore all the noise around, especially when you are not doing well. I found it difficult to make even the near ones understand that I was building a business. But the summer of 2014 was the year of change when the renowned Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Y Combinator selected ClearTax to be part of its accelerator programme. Since then, there has been no looking back.”
ClearTax received its series B round funding of $50 million from Composite Capital after being in the business for more than seven years. The company had previously raised a little over $15 million in a Series A round and angel funding. The investors include Y Combinator, SAIF Partners, Founder’s Fund, Sequoia Capital and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.
Gupta is backed by an extremely capable team and his vision is to make ClearTax the go-to tax solution for every Indian. “ClearTax has designed a great product which has created its own market by typically disrupting an industry. Me and my team aims to achieve an all-inclusive tax solution by building an extensive product catalogue that takes care of every Indian’s needs,” says Gupta