Chhatra Hari Karki
Founder & Managing Director, Midas Technologies and Midas Education
It was after high school that Chhatra Hari Karki, Founder and Managing Director of Midas Technologies and Midas Education, left for Australia to pursue further studies. With a keen interest in technology, he took up IT in college and started working in the sector soon after completing his graduation.
On coming back to Nepal for personal reasons, he had to prolong his stay. “It was then that I decided to start my own IT venture because I realised that unlike in Australia there weren’t many IT companies in Nepal,” he recalls.
The journey with Midas began in 2001. Karki says, “In the beginning I was trying to do a lot of stuff but later it dawned on me that health and education are the two sectors I should focus on.” He then decided that the guiding vision for Midas Technologies would be to streamline the country’s healthcare system through effective use of technology. The objective of Midas Education was also the same.
Midas, he says, is not solely about the profits they generate but the ability to have a meaningful impact on the lives of people too. In this edition of Business 360, we spoke to Karki to gain insight into the five things that have impacted his work and life.
Slow and steady growth
When I started the company, the IT sector in Nepal was at its rawest. There were only a handful of IT companies but I believe it is those companies that paved the way for us to understand, research and explore the concept of information technology in the country. The sector was relatively new but there were many people who were interested and willing to join hands and explore. The market welcomed us with open arms. There was no infrastructure to support the vision of IT entrepreneurs. Today, the landscape is very different from what it was two decades back.
When I look back at my journey, I cannot exactly say there was this one factor that changed the trajectory of my business. In the initial phase, we were trying to get involved in every field but later realised we needed to find the one or two things that would be our mainstay. Hence, we chose health and education, and now we have services called ‘Mero Doctor’ and ‘Midas e-Class’. We created our own market, and with time and patience, we have slowly and steadily expanded to reach where we are.
I am proud to say that we created the need for IT in the market and not the other way around. The research that we have been perennially conducting at the grassroots level to provide better services to people has helped us become who we are. Right now, the market has grown exponentially and there is tremendous demand as well as competition.
Finding our focus in health and education
When I started the company, I wanted to do many things and soon realised I was just doing business without a meaningful impact on society. Business was the fundamental aspect but deep inside I wanted a more fulfilling journey. I understood that health and education were two areas that I could both grow my business and make an impact. We decided to focus on only these two areas and this has been the best decision so far. It hasn’t been easy, we have made mistakes, but along the way, I have learnt a better way to do business.
The ability to respond to a crisis
The coronavirus pandemic hit us hard and fast, and both the health and education sectors were adversely affected. We received huge demand for our services. No parent would want their children to stop studying, no matter what the circumstances and no healthcare system would want to stop treating their patients. Both are critical sectors and the biggest challenge we faced during the lockdown was to provide immediate digital service to both hospitals and schools on a bigger scale. In a very short time, we had to train teachers and provide the necessary technology. We had to digitise the entire system of hospitals. Overnight, these changes had to be made across the country and it was a major challenge. Managing resources and arranging human resources was a big hurdle but it was also an opportunity for us that gained us trust of our users.
Creating social impact
I have always tried to help people in need. I am a person who travels a lot and when I see folks in the rural areas being deprived of even the basic services I want to reach out and try to assist by offering technological services where possible. Keeping this in mind, I have always focused on developing technologies that are affordable for the masses. Success for me is about filling this gap. Midas has been able to provide quality education through our software in most rural areas and is helping communities from Mechi to Mahakali. This is what I define as my success.
Women offer great leadership
Women leadership is important. Midas Education comprises all women leaders and they have been doing a phenomenal job in leading our company. In general, women are multitaskers. They have a lot of responsibility and commitment, and the ability to ace in every field. I have come to realise that when women are the core leaders, there is a certain peace and harmony in the actions taken.