DAY IN THE LIFE INTERVIEW: KUMAR GAURAV
Following last weeks Blockchain conference and a week of related events in London, we are delighted to interview Kumar Gaurav, founder of Cashaa, a P2P marketplace powered by the Blockchain to transfer cash anywhere in the world.
1. First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your companies do?
I am a serial entrepreneur and technology evangelist. I been in the IT space for the past few years and have been responsible for helping build some of the today’s most exciting Blockchain and Fintech businesses. I am also the Chairman of Auxesis Group; India’s first Distributed Ledger (Blockchain) development company which was started in late 2014.
Before I moved into the world of financial technology, I worked for IT giant Wipro and delivered innovative systems for luxury automobile brands like BMW and Ferrari. This took me to Italy which is where I co-founded Darwinsurance, Italy’s first Peer to peer insurance company. Currently, I am now working on a Cashaa.
Cashaa is an ambitious project which aims to create a bridge between technology and the average consumer. Cashaa is a blockchain company based in Level 39, London. It’s a P2P marketplace that offers free cash transfers and higher exchange rates compared to any existing financial institution or service. Cashaa has created a win-win solution for the Cash sender and our cryptocurrency traders, and utilizes the existing potential of Bitcoin and Blockchain. Cashaa just launched on the 18th January starting with money transfers from the UK to Nigeria and India. During our product test, we had more than 11,000 traders sign up and had transactions worth more than 2 Million USD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBkRwU_qqjk
2. What brought you to this area?
I love travelling and meeting new people and to have firsthand experience of each country and its culture. While I was doing this, I used companies like the Western Union, who are charging simply for sending money, and the poorest countries get charged the most fees, plus exchange rate fees. At the same time, I met cryptocurrency traders who got me involved in Bitcoin and Blockchain and I started working on the solution of combining cash transfers with cryptocurrency, to solve the issue of high fees which are now approximately 10-15%.
3. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
It’s a difficult question to answer, and sometimes it starts at 5am in the morning to start supporting my team in India, but usually, it starts at around 7am. After doing exercise and taking initial follow-ups, my office starts from 9:30 to make calls and have meetings. As Cashaa has been in development phase for past nine months, most of my time was spent reading market input coming from our MVP and other touch points, and then to adjust the system architecture and business process. I also take care of marketing and the business and technological process and to oversee what’s going on in each part of the project.
4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
Aside from Cashaa, I am also the Founding Director of Auxesis Group, which is working on Blockchain and Fintech projects worldwide and has been one of the first companies in India to offer Blockchain solutions globally. We have partnered with many Blockchain Labs across the world like MultiChain, E-Cell and IIT Bombay. Customers include corporates, banks and SME’s who want to use Blockchain technology for either banking, insurance, supply chain and/or capital markets. Our existing solutions are built for remittance, exchanges, insurance claim settlement, supply chain, cryptocurrency wallets and Blockchain explorers. We are using the Bitcoin Blockchain, Ethereum smart contracts, Hyperledger and MultiChain.
5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
I want to pursue my passion by contributing towards the world’s economy as an engineer with the proper sense of cost optimisation for the innovative technologies. Two years ago when I read the Bitcoin white paper I realised that the potential of Blockchain is enormous. And now I am here making technology and products which can change the world and bring back a sense of decentralization and Cashaa is just the beginning, with more revolutionary products and financial instruments coming out soon!
6. What’s the best thing about working at your company?
It gives me the freedom to constantly innovate. It satisfies me as a person to build something which can help millions of people who are struggling and who are financially neglected by our financial society. And that’s why we are looking for investors who are aligned with our mission and are not looking for immediate returns.
7. What makes London a great city for technology, Blockchain in particular?
London has a friendly environment for startups and also provides an entrepreneur visa. For us specifically, London is a huge market, a global city with people from across the globe for whom Cashaa can solve today’s issues relating to cash transfer. Because of London’s high-liquidity Bitcoin market, it was chosen as one of the first cities for cash senders for Cashaa.
8. How do you see Blockchain evolving in your work/industry?
I expect in coming year Bitcoin will break the rumour and negativity around it and will move into the consumer space. Apps will launch which will help to deliver the advantage of Bitcoin and Blockchain to average consumers. I also believe that this year will bring more institutional investors into Bitcoin because as an asset it has proved itself many times against the likes of political and economic fluctuations.
Blockchain use cases on Trade Finance, Remittances, OTC, Asset Management and Supply chain, will come out from the POC to live and lead to a broader adoption. Banks like Goldman Sachs, Santander, Barclays and RBS will take the lead, and new use cases in education, insurance, water and carbon management will move toward POC along with corporate giants and international governing bodies. Wave will start bringing developing countries like India, Brazil and Mexico into Blockchain POCs and industries will start to develop Blockchain strategy, and start hiring key resources to launch pilots. We have already seen the effect in India after demonetization Bitcoin became popular and now Blockchain is becoming the buzz word.
9. Which tech trends are you most excited about?
The Blockchain is a great technology while Bitcoin is a great product which is borderless, immutable and gives the ability to include the people who are left out by our financial system, I would like to see how it goes.
10. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
Innovation driven, result oriented and to know how to balance work and family life.
11. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
Don’t be excited about new technologies; technologies are made to come and go, but the impact of the application of that technology and the change which it will make in society is more important. Our ultimate goal is to drive change in society by creating unique products. So focus more on the results of the product and how it will impact society.