A Finance Director's Journey in the UAE: The Decision to Leave a Well-Paying Job and Embark on Entrepreneurship - Here's How I Did It.

Indian CA starts business in Dubai after leaving highpaying job

  • CA Piyush Jhunjhunwala spent 15 years in the corporate world, across countries and MNCs such as Reckitt.
  • The dream to start something of his own started brewing in 2013, and he started saving little by little. 
  • He shares his experience of building Stockify Fintech in the UAE, including the licensing process and selecting the best freezone for the business.

Back Story 

I qualified as a Chartered Accountant from India in 2004 and was lucky to be recruited through campus placement by the Steel Authority of India. 

I was very aspirational but felt I didn't belong in the company.

What next? I decided to study further. 

To enhance my opportunities, I pursued the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. I did it while working at the Steel Authority of India from 2004 to 2006.

And the international qualification did open new doors for me. 

In 2007, I joined PepsiCo, and a year and a half later, I got an opportunity to work in the UAE. 

I was hired by the British MNC Reckitt, as a Senior Finance Analyst in their Dubai office. 

After almost 11 years with Reckitt, in 2019 I opted to start a new chapter. 

I joined Coty, an American-French multinational beauty company, as a Revenue Director.  

However, soon due to COVID-19, I was forced to move to Amsterdam, Netherlands, but I didn't want to relocate.

I also got an opportunity to work with a USD $1.1 billion company in the UK. I was tempted to take that job… but I knew it was time for my courageous pursuits. 

I ultimately chose to work for myself and started my company, Stockify Fintech. 

But hold on… this wasn’t a random move. 

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Starting Up In The UAE…Despite Lucrative Job Offers And High Costs 

The idea of starting my own first came to my mind in 2012, when I returned to Dubai from South Africa. (Reckitt identified me as a High-Potential Employee in 2010 and promoted me to Commercial Controller at their South African business.)  

By 2013, I had a very clear agenda to start a business of my own.  

Around the same time I got married and my wife too encouraged me to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations. 

People usually move to Dubai, and get carried away by fancy cars and the luxurious lifestyle. On the contrary, I was investing the money, in the right place. 

We lived a simple lifestyle and we were disciplined in our spending patterns.

While I was lucky to have great career opportunities that paid well, I also made thoughtful financial plans and refrained from spending on fancy vacations.

This frugal mindset and my undying ambition helped me create Stockify. 

Stockify Fintech And Its Growth Timeline 

There are over 1.8 million active companies in India, but only over 5,000 of them are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

Many good Indian companies are not listed yet but will be at a later stage, such as Chennai Super Kings, Tata Technologies, PharmEasy, Reliance Retail, and many others.

What we do is identify these companies that have the potential to become a multi-bagger in the next three to five years, and invest early in them.

Like any other Private Equity, Venture Capital, or top-notch firm we do due diligence on them and do the right valuations. Only then we place it on our website.  

We then offer the equity stakes to our retail and institutional clients.

Currently, 70 companies are listed on our platform, and I have read the 400-page annual reports of 45 of them, before the listing process.  

If you have a DEMAT account, or a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) account you can visit our Stockify Fintech website and place an order with a minimum amount of INR 20,000-30,000 (Approx. USD 240)  

Here’s how Stockify Fintech’s growth has been from 2021 - 2023


  • Instead of jumping in right away, I spent the entirety of 2021 planning.
  • I have been investing in equity way before I had the idea of Stockify. Despite that, I had to understand stocks well, before entering the fintech space. 
  • I had cash reserves of almost 12 months, since I have two young kids, and knew it would take time to set up the business.
  • UAE is an expensive country, so to sustain myself and my family I had to liquidate some of my assets back in India (Which was a very tough decision)
  • For the first 6 to 8 months, I co-worked with an individual in India who was already in this business. I was informally working to grow his business in Dubai and learned the tricks and trades of the business first-hand. 
  • Stockify is an India-centric product, so there are many regulations attached to it. I made sure to learn all the nitty-gritty of this particular product, including taxation and regulations.
  • Then, in November 2021, when I was confident enough, I took the plunge. The timing was perfect as the market was booming as well.  


  • In 2022, I obtained a license for Stockify in India.    
  • Our company is based out of Bangalore, India and we also have a sister concern in Dubai.  
  • I have a co-founder named, Rahul Khatuwala, who is also a qualified CA. He manages the India operations, while I manage the global operations from Dubai. 
  • We are a bootstrapped company and don’t have a plan to take outside funding for the next two to three years. 
  • It's a tech-based company, so the fixed costs are very small. 
  • By the way, we managed to achieve sales of approximately USD $2 million in 2022.


  • As of now, we have around 5K+ unique monthly visitors to our website, compared to only 5 or 10 last year.
  • I have hired a part-time software developer (Cannot afford a full-time developer, especially in Dubai). So I sit with him from 9 o'clock in the night to 3 o'clock in the morning in case I have to adjust certain things on our website.
  • We have had a positive start to 2023 and firmly believe that we are on track to achieve further success.

Also Read

This CA in Dubai took an entrepreneurial leap after 2 decades and launched an inheritance management company

Process Of Obtaining A Business License In The UAE And Factors To Consider

Getting a business license in the UAE is a very simple process. 

There are some licenses that will cost you around AED 20,000 ( USD $5.500 ) which includes a virtual office for the first year. 

For the second year, you can opt for a business center that costs between AED 5,000 to 10,000 ( Approx. USD $1400 - $2700).

I obtained my license through the DED (Department of Economic Development) in Dubai which is one of the cheapest and easiest options. 

When starting your venture, you need to consider the business activities you want to undertake, as there are some restrictions on the Mainland. 

For our activities, namely financial consultancy and marketing research, it was easy and cost-efficient to obtain a license. 

In the first year, we opted for a virtual office, and in the second year, we moved to a business center. 

While we do have an office in Bangalore, it is rented.

In my line of work, I don't need a physical office, so it made sense to invest more in operating expenses rather than capital expenses. It was cost-effective and easy to manage.

Most of our operating expenses include Google SEOs, marketing activities, and other initiatives.

Challenges I Faced As An Entrepreneur… It’s Not Going To Be Easy 

Foray into the tech space

  • Stockify heavily relies on technology, but as a finance person, I was more familiar with manufacturing and FMCG.
  • So, when I first came up with the idea of Stockify, I didn't know how to buy a domain. I didn't even know what Google SEO was.  I learned how to register a domain name from my co-founder.

Overcoming stress

  • There are days when I feel low, but it's important to motivate myself and remind myself that I can do it.
  • I play a lot of cricket which keeps me from overthinking.

Support from the right kind of people 

  • Having your family’s support in your entrepreneurial journey is very important, and my wife has been very kind and supportive.

Also Read

The UAE can be an attractive location for establishing startups. But when it comes to registering a startup in the UAE, the process can be complex. There are several factors to consider, says Lawyer.

Wondering Which Freezone Is Best For Your Business? 

Anyone who is considering starting a venture in Dubai, UAE should conduct their own research.

Do not fall into the trap of agencies that claim that you can register your company for just AED 10,000- 12,000 or even AED 2000. 

Many of those may not be helpful. 

Firstly, it is important to consider the nature of the business activity and the benefits offered by each free zone. 

From my experience, Dubai World Central (DWC) is perhaps the best freezone, as it is easy to manage and very cost-effective. 

You can just walk in with your passport and Emirates IDs, and you can open a free zone company in DWC within a couple of days. That’s the beauty of the Government of Dubai.

But for consultancy services, there should be no issue in opening a bank account. 

However, banks in the UAE are often reluctant to open accounts for new companies engaged in trading activities. 

If you know someone in the bank who can refer you, it may be easier to open an account. 

Closing …

There are some things that are beyond your control, but with time, things will happen.

If you are thinking about starting your own, don't leave your job without a proper plan. 

Most of us work from 9 – 7  which still leaves us with seven or eight hours to pursue our goals.  

Be mindful of how you invest money, whether it's yours or the investor’s. 

Look for people who are 10 or more years older than you, and learn from their successes and mistakes. And most importantly, remember that patience is key, and you must continue to work hard.

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