Transcription Episode 89

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Satish Kataria. Satish is the founder of Fandora.

It is a platform which is revolutionizing the way users interact with, you know, the content that is being created by all of these fabulous content creators. Think of it like a mergence of content IP as well as Web3 ownership. They’re going to go live very soon, in April actually, like he mentioned and revealed on the podcast itself.

Satish has had a very diverse background and a lot of experience he’s had as a working professional. He’s worked as a VC, as an angel. He is still investing in his personal capacities, also an author.

He has a podcast as well. So he’s been in this space for some time and he has seen the technology evolve. This was a very interesting conversation simply because it is India’s first content IP investment network and it’s a chance for all users to become a producer themselves.

So I can’t wait for you guys to hear this, especially entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who are struggling, who’ve lost heart, who are building something new, who are launching something new. You’ll find some good insights here and let’s deep dive right in.

Hi Satish, how are you doing today? I’m doing good, Tarusha, and thanks so much for having me on this podcast. You know, I’m very grateful that you could make the time. We had quite a few mix-ups and, you know, a lot of reschedules, some from my end, a few, very few from your end, but I’m really grateful that you could make the time.

No worries, and likewise, I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Same, absolutely. So just for our listeners, you know, we’ve known each other for some time, but for our listeners, can you tell us a little about yourself and, you know, how you got in this space and what you’re building currently? Sure, Tarusha.

So I’ve been working for about last 24 odd years. After my first 10 years of professional life, I was into marketing and PR, both agency side as well as, you know, from a corporate point of view. After about 10 years, I shifted from PR to venture capital industry and kind of made a shift there.

Got an opportunity to work with three venture capital funds across real estate, media, and Category 1 AI fund for investing in startups, wherein I was part of the investment team. Other than venture capital industry, I’ve also been a serial entrepreneur. So it was in 2010 that I introduced the concept of crowdfunding in India for the very first time, when hardly no one had heard about it in Indian market.

So we partnered with a Singapore-based company called GroVC and brought them to India, which was a kind of equity-based crowdfunding model for early stage startups. But then after one and a half years down the line, I realized that maybe the idea was that beyond this time for Indian market, startups were just coming up at that time. So then I took a break for about a year and a half, worked with a publication group called Cybermedia.

And Pradeep Gupta was the director of Cybermedia. He was also a venture investor. So I was helping him in his investments.

Went on to launch my second crowdfunding platform called Catapult in 2013, which was a reward-based crowdfunding platform. And we started with becoming, being, helping project agnostic, but eventually evolved as someone who was helping early stage startups to raise equity-free money from communities and followers and fans. Got my exit in 2017, went on to work with another venture capital fund for time being, launched something in the revenue-based funding space, which was again acquired by a larger tech company.

And then, you know, the COVID happened, kind of did some consulting assignments. And then I think, post COVID somewhere around, I would say 22 and 23 starting, I started working on this idea of Pandora, which I’m currently building. And I believe, since I was already, have worked in the space of crowdfunding and media investments.

And then over the time I evolved and, understood more about Web3, about blockchain, about real world asset organization. So I think I tried to bring all these elements together and that’s how Pandora was born. And I think again, with Pandora, it has been an interesting roller coaster journey because we have also pivoted the model multiple times.

When we started out, it was something else. What we’re launching now is something else. But I think that’s how you learn.

And I think that is the more exciting. That is very typical. Yeah, that is the typical, not just Web3, I think that’s just a typical startup journey that, you know, you have to then pivot, you know, you come up with an idea and then while you’re executing, you know, you realize that, okay, there are certain flaws and certain things that can be tweaked.

And you know, you do that and more power to you to be able to do that, because I think that also takes a lot of conviction. Right. So can you tell us a little more about what Pandora is as a platform? And what is your vision for this platform? Sure.

So Pandora essentially is a co-investment and a tokenization platform for content IP, right? And since I was already working in the media investment space, you know, what has happened is that especially after the COVID, the content consumption overall globally has really increased by leaps and bounds, right? Today, content IP market is more than $300 billion market. And even if I look at Indian space, India remains one of the world’s largest content production as well as consumption market, right? But then, unfortunately, the entire market of content, you know, is kind of controlled by just a few hands, right? These could be studios, these could be some corporate networks, or these could be some well-funded hands. And which is why the structure in the entire content market is slightly lopsided.

Because if I’m a creator, I actually depend on these corporate networks or studios for giving me an opportunity. And which means that, you know, I will have to sell my IP or I will have to sell my creative rights at whatever that they’re asking for, right? I do not have a control on that. And then comes Web3, you know, then comes the entire revolution about read, write and own, right? And then I thought, if we can own our data through Web3, you know, why can’t we bring Web3 in this space wherein, be it the creators, be it the audiences, now they can also own a part of this industry, right? So, I think that is where Fandora is now going to work, wherein we want to unlock the potential in this space to a far more number of people, you know, and you want to bring Web3 essentially for two reasons.

One is, as I said, to help audiences and fans transform from just passive viewers to much more active stakeholders in the whole content IP ecosystem. And which can happen once they start owning or owning small bits and parts of their favorite content pieces, right? So, let’s say if I want to own a part of Shah Rukh Khan film, yes, now it can happen, you know, with Fandora. And on the other hand, I think if we can bring, if we can democratize the funding as well, I believe the creators will also be more independent and they will have a better control and a better understanding of, you know, what kind of content they want to make and where is that content going, how is that content getting monetized, right? So, this model actually then brings up advantages to both elements, which is your creators as well as audiences.

And I think we will be able to get to a stage where content investments becomes more transparent and participative. I think that’s where the vision is. Okay.

So, this sounds very interesting that you mentioned that, okay, if somebody, you know, really likes a Shah Rukh Khan movie, perhaps they can, you know, own a part of it. What does this exactly entail? So, you are like tokenizing the content that is being created and because, you know, you are tokenizing it, then the users are basically in a way able to fund and create an income stream for the creators themselves. Correct.

So, what happens is, so this is a part of what we normally call as the real world asset tokenization or the RWA tokenization, which I think is now becoming quite a positive narrative. So, in the same case, just as those tokens kind of underwrite any of those real assets, I think in our case, what we’re doing is we’re tokenizing content IP, which anyway have been a recognized asset class, right? We understand that it’s a huge industry and IP is the main element, is the main element which is monetized by anyone in the entertainment or the content creation space, right? So, that is what we’re doing and you’re right, once anyone invests or buy a token in a project, depending on how they like the project, each token then underwrites a share of revenue or a share of IP of that film and this share, whenever the money comes back to the project owners, will basically form a regular income for these token holders. So, that becomes a kind of an annuity income and then when we exit from a project, let’s say that project is taken over by OTP platform or whenever that project gets totally exit, whatever happens, even that appreciation then goes back to the token holders.

So, that’s the idea. Brilliant, brilliant. This is very interesting and you know, I’ll ask you a lot more questions about this because my knowledge perhaps is a little limited here and this is sounding very exciting.

So, how does Fandora make money? Do you charge the content creators or are you charging the users? So, yeah. So, Fandora has three-four revenue streams, right? One is that we would be first creating the content creators which could be independent creators or production houses because we have less funds, right? So, we would charge our fundraising fees from them. We could also charge our project listing fees because every project that we bring on board, it would be a curated project.

We would do a proper due diligence of the project because eventually, we are not just like an NFT marketplace because NFT marketplace, it’s fine because you are just kind of issuing a collectible instrument, right? But in our case, because we are underwriting the revenue and the IP of the project, we have been very sure that we do not recommend something which have a higher chance of failure. See, I understand that content is a very risky asset class, right? Let’s not beat the bush around that because it is a risky asset class. Be it films, be it music, the chances of failure are always higher on the higher side but then the chances of success also are on the higher side, right? So, going back to my saying that we would curate the projects, we would identify and evaluate the projects whether they can kind of give back the investment that a token holder is expecting back from it.

And then on that basis, so at the first level, the revenues are coming from the fundraising fees that we charge from the project owners. Once the project is funded and the project is produced and the revenues start coming back to the investors, in that case, when the investors have received their principal, we would take a certain carried interest which means that you would take a certain percentage from the profits that we are giving back to the investors. So, it typically works like any VC fund, right? We are taking in a certain fee from the projects as a fundraising fee and then we are taking a small portion of the profits when we are giving back at least the principal back to the investors, right? Other than that, there could be other revenue sources also.

For example, other than the financial utility tokens or the fractional tokens, we can also launch NFTs of projects, right? And these could be utility NFTs, these could be non-financial tokens as such and even there if the sale happens and that sale constitutes the revenue on the project, that could again become some source of additional revenue for us. But then this is something which will come when not in the current phase, this will come in the second phase. Okay, all right.

Beyond this, we had also thought of one more model which again is something which will be launched maybe in the subsequent phases was content licensing for Web3. So, let’s say you are a filmmaker or you are a magician, right? And you feel that there is a certain value of your project in a Web3 ecosystem. Let’s say I know that I’m a musician and I know that I can launch NFTs on my song, right? But then I am a musician, so I do not know how NFT works, how do I sell those NFTs, how do I mint those NFTs.

So, what I can do is I can license the Web3 rights of my content to someone who understands Web3, right? So, let’s say you are an expert in NFT, you know that, okay, if I can get NFT of this film, I know how to market this NFT and I can make a quick buff on that, right? So, let’s say tomorrow, Shah Rukh Khan again, taking the example, he wants to make NFTs of, let’s say, Pathan. Now, he doesn’t understand how NFT works, right? He doesn’t want to take that risk. So, what he can do is he can come to us, he says, okay, just like I was sending Pathan on multiple revenue streams and IP rights, there is one more IP right, which is a Web3 licensing, right? I can, I am willing to sell that also.

So, let’s say that on the other hand, who believes that yes, there is a potential of making money through Pathan NFTs. So, he will get the Pathan rights from us or he will make his NFTs and he will make further money on that. So, I think that’s another model that we are working with.

All right, okay. These are several models and this is, as I said, this is very exciting and as a platform, it’s sounding. So, how are you perhaps different from other platforms who are trying to do this? Because this is not, there are other platforms that are creating NFTs for creators and for content.

So, what is your USP? So, that’s what I’m saying. I think there are two differences. One is, you know, we are not a simple NFT marketplace because NFT normally bets either on the utility side.

But none of these NFTs are issuing a financial utility, which is the percentage of the revenue or the percentage of the return of a project. So, I think that is something that we are offering because, so we are more from an investment platform than an NFT platform. I think that is the USP, right? Because that would be like, basically you’re more towards the content IP side than say, creating an NFT or a utilitarian NFT for a content piece.

Right. Okay. So, are you guys live already? Can content creators sign up and what is the process? No, we are not live.

So, our MVP is almost ready. So, we have an app. Yeah, it says you can get early access, right? On your website.

Yeah, right. So, our backend is almost ready. It’s just that, you know, we are in discussions with two, three interesting projects because there was no point of launching the app without the projects on it because otherwise, you know, they would, they won’t be much for the audience to do as such.

Right, right. So, we are now kind of building that bridges, both on the supply side, which means that talking to project owners, talking to various kinds of content creators across the value chain, making them understand that what is it that we’re trying to do and how we can help them and make the process more participative. And also kind of trying to create a demand side because as I said, for me, the demand will be slightly different because with Fandora, we are not targeting the typical Web3 audience.

We essentially are targeting your HMIs, your investors who are looking at investing in alternative asset classes, right? And they would be coming to Fandora because they want to look at how content IP, just like other alternative asset classes like real estate, gold, stocks, so how content can also be one IP asset, one asset class which they can invest in. So, I think that’s my target so that again, we have to create those bridges and create, you know, build a lot of awareness amongst that side as well. And I think, and I think this is true for any RWA token project in India, right? Because even if we have, even if we have multiple real estate token platforms, we have some bond token platforms, I believe, you know, while technology is good, while the supply is okay, but demand is still something which needs a lot of work to be done.

Indian investors, you know, it is now after, I think, almost 10 years that finally the investors have started understanding real estate fractional models, right? These are basic models which doesn’t have any element of Web3, right? Now, to take them from this stage to a stage where they can see that how Web3 and asset can combine to present a very interesting financial instrument, that itself is the next turning for us. Right, absolutely. So, this is, again, like this is, we talked a lot about the content creators and how, you know, this kind of benefits the platform and this drives in and empowers content creators in a very special way.

What about the users themselves? Is there, apart from, you know, having the cloud that, okay, they are actually becoming a part of their content creator’s journey in producing their favorite content, is there any other, you know, benefit that the users will get by being a part of this journey? Yes. So, I think, again, you know, there are two kinds of benefits. One is, because even now, I think, you know, we are trying to position each project and take every project as a quasi-DAO.

So, we understand that India doesn’t recognize DAOs. So, you know, maybe we cannot be a legitimate DAO, but the idea is to structure ourselves as a DAO. To the extent that the people who are interested in that project, they can also participate in some of the creative decisions, right? Because ultimately, I understand that the whole benefit of Web3 and blockchain on one end is transparency, is the ability of fragmented investment.

But the other big opportunity for us, obviously, is to build on this community, right? And bring in this kind of ownership, not just a financial ownership, but even an emotional ownership with a project, right? So, which means that tomorrow, when I’m investing in a Saaru Khan film, it’s not just that I’m getting a percentage of return, it’s not just an investment product for me, but I may also get an opportunity to vote in the whole process of filmmaking, right? For example, now, obviously, I understand that, you know, I cannot take away all the creative rights of a producer because that is his product, that is his dream, and he will want to make it as per his understanding, and he’s an expert in that. But wherever we can include the participation of these token holders, for example, let’s say, you know, I’m a film production house, and my film is now ready. And I have an option of choosing between four or five different posters from a film, right? So there again, I can involve this community and they can have a tool, they can help me to choose which is the right poster from my film, right? It could be a lot of other opportunities of taking a creative decision of participating in the film, maybe even getting an opportunity to go to the studio and being part of the live production or live shooting as such, right? So all those benefits, all those peripheral non-financial benefits is also something that we will try to pack in and try to offer to the users as such.

Right. Okay, this is lovely. I think, well, you know, I would encourage all our listeners to go on the website, and perhaps sign in for, you know, sign up for basically early access.

And as when you guys kind of go live, I think they, it would be quite an experience for them. It’ll be quite an innovative novel experience for them. Is there a timeline for you guys? Like as to when you would go live in this quarter, perhaps the next quarter? Yeah, I think we should be live by April end.

Okay, lovely. And that’s soon. Yeah, and I think we have also kind of started, you know, started kind of building our committee-based initiatives, right? So your listeners can go on the website, and they can also participate in our WhatsApp communities because the idea is to, again, as I said, you know, bring around the people who understand that now is the time to kind of change how content investments are happening, right? And, and what we call this as the league of content co-owners, right? So we are not, so we are now, so our basic caption is that, do not just consume content, co-own it, right? So I think we are now also trying to bring people who are interested in the space and interested in how this space will evolve over the years, how the things are working out globally.

So we are building this committee wherein we will be sharing interesting news, interesting developments, what is happening globally, in this space, how that, I mean, we will be sharing interesting insights on, on content as a business, right? What happens, what is happening? So I think that also is something that has started. Also, interestingly, I think this space will become, I would say, more aggressive and more hotter in the days to come, because there are a lot of other people who are trying to do similar things. And I think that’s good news for us, because the more similar platforms, the more acceptance, the more easier the user awareness also becomes, and I believe more transparency also happens in the whole industry, right? So while in Europe, there already are two, three platforms which are trying to do something similar.

So there are platforms like,, which are launching a similar space, which are wanting the making of some English, European-based films to become more participative. There is a platform called Toyof, which is trying to launch something similar, a kind of a security-based token into film funding space. In India, for example, if you would have heard about Eros, which is a production house, Eros is also planning to launch something of his own in the same space, right? Which is a film tokenization, wherein they will use the element of tokenization, hopefully to finance films from their own portfolio, right? So I think, you know, interestingly, this space is now getting seen, recognized, and I think there’s a lot of action which is going to happen over the next six to nine months.

So yes, this will be an interesting area to look out for. I think definitely, you know, with these big players getting in, the interest is going to completely, you know, perhaps multiply for this particular niche. Moreover, I think India is a country of storytellers.

Yes. And there are always people who are creating content and regional content and content in mainstream languages and whatnot. So this is only going to empower them.

Just one more question about the platform. Would you be supporting content across languages? Or is there, you know, any, any boundation there? I think, I mean, you know, that’s what I always say that India is not one country. India is actually 25 countries, right? Because every state, every language have their own kind of content story, right? And I think we are very much open and very much excited to be part of this vernacular content industry.

Because today, I think it’s not just Hindi or South Indian films. Today, look at Bhojpuri, look at Punjabi, look at any of those other language films, right? I think every language, every state is kind of promoting more and more content creation opportunities within that state, right? And I think every state is also giving a lot of opportunities, right? For example, even the Marathi film industry is becoming so huge now. And Maharashtra actually gives very liberal subsidies for people who are making films in Maharashtra, right? So again, all those elements are definitely working in tandem with us.

And we are very much open to support vernacular media. Excellent. Brilliant.

Now, you know, just zooming out a little bit, I would love to know, you know, you have, you’ve had vast experience working in, you know, the VCA space and tech and now Web3 and it’s been quite a journey. But right now, as you stand today with all your experience, what are the kind of challenges you foresee Web3 facing, you know, perhaps in this particular cycle? And how do you think, you know, we can overcome those? And how do you think Fandora, you know, plays in that scope of thing? Sure. I think there are multiple challenges.

I mean, you know, I think the biggest challenge is the regulatory challenge, right? Because I think, unfortunately, India has not been as supportive of the regulations as other countries are now becoming, right, right from Dubai to Singapore to the world. So while they initially resisted the idea, but they understood that, that there are ample advantages of introducing blockchain-based financial instruments, right? So, but India, I think India still, in a way, tries to put everything in the same basket, right? Be it crypto coins, be it Bitcoin, be it a properly asset-backed Web3 token. So they all look at it from a single view, right? And India doesn’t have a proper regulation, for example, looking at token as a financial instrument, right? So, because of this, you know, there’s always a confusion in the potential investors as well, because they are not very sure whether if they’re buying a Web3 product, most of them still feel, still have that kind of a perceptual fear that I’m buying a crypto.

So that confusion is always there. And we need to work double hard to remove that confusion, bring trust and bring credibility onto whatever we’re trying to build on this page, right? So that’s one challenge. The second challenge is, again, I think, the pace at which this industry is growing, right? Be it in terms of technology, be it in terms of tools, you know, so that kind of becomes overwhelming at times, because let’s say that if I started working on an idea three months on the line, and it has taken three months for me to build and these two particular states, I would realize that someone else has already done that and someone else has, the technology has changed, you know, we have some more interesting element chains, which have come up, which can do this at a faster, more easier, more simpler, more cheaper ways, right? So all those things keep changing, which is not a challenge, which is a good thing.

But then again, you know, for a founder, it becomes slightly overwhelming at times to keep track of what is happening in the whole space. And how can I optimally keep utilizing these developments for my product? The third challenge, again, to an extent is in terms of, I would say funding, because, you know, in India, the VC funds are still apprehensive of fractional or real-world asset tokenization, right? They are still kind of on a wait and watch policy. And if I go on to a web-free venture capital fund outside India, now they are expecting to invest in tokens, right? So they have a different mindset to look at any web-free deals, right? So that needs a different set of product, a different set of expectations that they have.

So I think, again, that is something that we as founders have to balance out and keep balancing out from that perspective. So yeah, I think these are the key challenges that, you know, we also are facing as Pandora. Right, yeah.

I think those are the challenges that, you know, you’ve kind of rightly hit the nail on the head. These are the kind of challenges that Indian founders especially are facing. Do you feel that, okay, let me put it this way, what kind of niches do you think would do really well in this upcoming, or some people, as I say, they’ve already started this bull run? Yeah, I think you’re right.

I think after the introduction of Bitcoin ETF, right, I think the magnitude of web-free has again changed. You know, after, I mean, people have again started focusing on web-free, you know, after, I think the initial hype on AI has now subsided and people are now trying to understand that how AI and web-free indeed can work together to create even more interesting solutions. So I think we are again are in a bull phase for sure.

The next six to nine months will be interesting. ICOs are back in the reckoning. Investors are opening up their purses.

They are again looking out for interesting opportunities to invest. A lot of interesting countries and regulators are trying to ease and trying to open up tokens as a financial instrument, right? So you have new players like Qatar, like Canada, you know, who are now wanting to come into this space and kind of legalize financial tokens. I think overall the mood is now again positive.

Both the founders and investors have understood that what is it that requires to be done. I think even with respect to NFT, while I understand that NFT went through a very bad phase, but if you look at the resurgence of NFTs, it is now happening through brands, right? It is not happening through collectors. So I think now brands have understood that, okay, where is the web-free actually benefiting and how web-free can be used as a tool to engage and enhance the customer feedback and customer experience, right? And which is why they are launching NFTs today.

So, I mean, if you look at India, we had a very recent case of even IRCTC, which is Indian Railways launching NFT as a ticket. Right, right. New Delhi to Lucknow, right.

Correct. So that’s again a very interesting example of how finally NFTs are now coming back in the reckoning and not just for the collectible sake, not just for a speculative purpose, but for an actual utility purpose. Right.

Yes, that is absolutely true. I think there are bigger brands that are now really taking stock of NFTs. I think they were a few months ago as well with, you know, with Starbucks and Nike and Adidas, you know, sort of getting in the space.

But overall, the sentiment I feel is very positive again in the market. Yes. So, you know, you’re a podcaster yourself and you’re an author too.

Can you tell us a little about those two aspects of your work life? Sure. So, I think it was in COVID that, you know, when all of us had extra time on our hand, I thought that, you know, right on, I start to pen down my thoughts. And that is where the whole idea of my book called Unblock came about.

And what I’ve tried to do through this book is, you know, these are more my experiences and the lessons that I’ve learned. And I have put in a lot of qualitative thoughts on the journey of an entrepreneur. Right.

So, I think that is what I focused on to be kind of, for example, getting across your co-founder trust issues, you know, beating imposter syndrome, you know, kind of crossing all the lines of fear when you face when you are just about to take a leap into something which is uncertain, right? Because I think an entrepreneur is not just about product and money, right? There is a lot more to an entrepreneur. And this whole journey can be really overwhelming and transformative of anyone who’s really deep into it. It can be very humbling as well.

Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, totally.

And I think that is what I try to focus on. So, the book has about 21 different chapters and each chapter kind of trying to devote to these kind of qualitative aspects of the entrepreneur journey. So, that is what it is all about.

And my podcasting, you know, basically began again, I think last year sometime. So, I’m not so very active again. I think I need to get more reactive with it now.

And, you know, so this is the podcast is called Finding Your Founders Mojo with Satish Kataria. And it is currently available on Spotify. And here again, what I’ve tried to do is trying to do interviewing, you know, different kind of entrepreneurs, let’s say a woman entrepreneur, an entrepreneur who’s a very young child prodigy, just nine years old, and still he’s starting something on his own yet, you know, at that young age, I’ve spoken to an entrepreneur, you know, who met a very fatal, almost fatal accident, right? And his legs have to be amputated.

But then how we actually came back to this entrepreneurial life and again, restarted this business. So, I was trying to cover the multiple aspects again from, you know, trying to cover different kind of entrepreneurs, some of them are established, some of them are evolving, some of them are fund managers. So, that was the whole idea behind this podcast that, you know, how we can look at different human as well as practical aspects of entrepreneurship and kind of highlight them.

So that, you know, all the people who want to get on to this journey who want to become entrepreneurs, you know, and want to start on this journey, they can at least get some insights to be better prepared for this future. Right. So, you know, you mentioned that the podcast is available on Spotify.

What about the book? Is it available on Amazon? I guess it was, I’m not sure if that, but anyway, what I can do is, you know, what we can do is- You can perhaps share a link, right? Correct. I can share a link or, I mean, you know, more interestingly, I’d be happy to give out a few copies to your listeners. So, what we can do is, you know, we can set out an email or a link for them and if someone is interested, I’d be happy to kind of courier the copy, you know, with my compliments.

Oh, that is wonderful. That is so sweet. I think the first one that, you know, perhaps I’ll be the first person to order.

If it is available on a link, please do share it. I would love to place an order and read your thoughts because this sounds like a very compelling read to me as well. So, absolutely.

So, Satish, what is next? Like, you know, obviously your platform is going live in April, you know, you have it in the book, you are intermittently podcasting as well. What is the next big thing that you are looking forward to? Yeah. So, Darusha, I think, you know, ever since I’ve started on my entrepreneurial journey, you know, what has driven me is this whole passion of helping others to fulfill their dreams, right? I think that at a very core level is my whole driving force, right? It’s not money, it’s not projects, right? So, if you notice my journey, you know, launching crowdfunding.

So, again, the reason why I picked up on crowdfunding and I launched crowdfunding was same because in 2010, you know, when I was understanding the market, I realized that, you know, if we have a country of only 500-600 investors, there are very, very less to be able to actually bring entrepreneurship revolution in India, right? We need more investors because only if we get more people participating in this ecosystem, only then more and more entrepreneurs will get at least a chance to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams, right? So, I think that was the thought behind me launching crowdfunding. Today, thankfully, 14 years down the line, I think the entrepreneurial ecosystem has evolved a lot, lot bigger than that, you know, so that’s a happy fact for me to note. But then, having said that, I continue to play with and I continue to explore, you know, emerging more innovative models of funding and fundraising because I think that has become my second calling somehow, be it crowdfunding, be it revenue-based financing, be it real-world asset organization, right? So, I always look at unconventional ways of creating funding platforms or creating funds, right? So, for example, right now, I’m also working with a private investment corpus which is only going to invest in F&B and travel tech, right? So, that’s again something that I’m advising on.

So, it’s a different set of corpus which is already constituting some additional businesses and some F&B founders who are keen to further encourage more ventures in this space. So, that is something else that I’m doing and yeah, I think that’s pretty much it right now. Awesome.

This is, you know, all again super exciting stuff and if there are startups who are or entrepreneurs who are listening in who are from the F&B or the travel tech space, how should they get in touch with you to pitch your idea? Yeah, I think they can definitely get in touch with me either through my email or my LinkedIn. I’d be happy to share the links with you and then we can, you know, I’d be happy to take a forum there. Awesome, brilliant.

So, that is a little bit for everyone. You know, now this has been again a very wonderful conversation. I think I love speaking to fellow entrepreneurs just exchanging ideas and I get to learn something in every conversation.

So, I’m very grateful, you know, that you could make the time honestly and I wish this conversation didn’t have to end but I must start wrapping things up. We are reaching that time mark but I would be completely amiss if I didn’t ask you these last two questions. So, one is, it’s actually one question perhaps, you know, you can break it down into two parts.

So, one would be what would be your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who are losing faith, okay? Like aspiring entrepreneurs, I think a lot of people give advice to let’s maybe keep it for entrepreneurs who really are built in the, you know, the bear cycle and now they have, like you mentioned, they’re losing, you know, the VC money aspect is a little scattered in India. So, they’re losing faith and they don’t have the kind of resources to keep building on. What would be your advice to them? That’s one.

And the second would be your general advice for anybody who is like a user or a stakeholder or a potential user or stakeholder in Web3 and what would be your advice to these guys for them to start really adopting Web3 and start living on blockchain? Sure. I think let me answer the second question first and I think, you know, what is happening actually is that, you know, fortunately, unfortunately, the whole narrative around Web3 has become very technology-centric, right? Yes. That is going to be an undoing, I think, you know, that is like a greatest problem.

Yeah. It can’t be all tech. Correct.

And you know, and what is actually happening and that is the reason why even if the Web3 platforms have the best of the tech, they are not able to sustain consumer interest, right? Because at the end of the day, you know, a consumer is finally interested in understanding that what is in it for him, right? How can he benefit or what’s the actual pain point that that problem is forming for him? Like, and he’s not concerned for underlying technology. I mean, it’s blockchain, not blockchain. Yeah, we can tell him that it will be more transparent and it will be in his control, fine, but what else, right? So, I think, you know, what really needs to happen is that all these awesome people that we have in the Web3 ecosystem, they also need to look beyond the tech, they also need to understand that what areas of the current consumer market ecosystem is that they can capture, right? And how they can then marry these two parts that, okay, this has Web3 and this also has something which will really solve a consumer problem, right? I think if we can start building those kind of things, we will have far more adoption of Web3 amongst the masses, right? And this is something which has to be done by all the stakeholders.

It’s not just the founders. I mean, the government, the consumers themselves, the brands, because like I said, you know, the current NFT resurgence have happened because the brands have adopted that, right? If brands have not adopted that, people would have already dropped NFTs far, far before. So that is, I think that answers the question too.

Coming to the first part, so I think you’re right, and you know, when you’re not getting the funding, when you’re not getting the support, and I think as an entrepreneur, you know, no matter how glamorous it looks from outside, we both understand that it’s a role for us, right? And we are always looking out for something, you know, we’re looking out for more help, more funding, that is something which is a continuous cycle. It doesn’t end with just one fundraise, right? Yeah, it’s a cycle, right? You start, by the time you actually have money in the bank, and you’re done with one fundraising round, a few months in, you have to start all over again. Yeah, because once you get in the cycle, then it is endless.

Absolutely. So I think end of the day, it’s all about conviction, right? End of the day, it’s, you know, like if I, every day, when I end my day, I just go back and understand that, you know, what is it that I really want to do? And, and what I’m doing right now, what are the, how does it match up on that scale? Right? Because ultimately, I think it’s the, it’s the passion and the vision that, that drives us, it’s not the money, it’s not the PR, it’s not, you know, the fame that, that drives us. If we are very strong on the vision part of it, I think we will find a way out, you know, even if the funding is not coming, we have the bootstrap, we will do that, we will, we will kind of continue to run till the time we can, right? I think that’s the whole idea.

But having said that, I think, as an entrepreneur is also very important skill to recognize the right time to quit, right? Because there are some ideas, which may not see the light of the day, maybe you have a different perception on market, maybe the consumers are not accepting it that way. And there is, and there is a probability that they will not for some time because maybe you’re slightly beyond your time, right? With your idea, or whatever, you know, whatever. And I think, I think that is something which is not a personal failure.

It’s a personal learning experience, right? It’s just a startup that shuts down, it’s not the, it’s not the entrepreneur that shuts down, you know, you can always, you know, it’s important that you know, you make that distinction, right? I think that is so important and needs to be repeated that this this shouldn’t be taken personally, just because it doesn’t work out doesn’t mean that this is a personal attack on you or you are lacking in some way. You know, there are so many factors that come into play to make an idea work or for an idea to not work. And more, I think this is, this is something that needs to be repeated as often as possible.

Because I mean, there’s so many entrepreneurs, right? Who kind of lose heart, and they take it on, you know, like, I mean, I mean, imagine that, you know, I just imagine what is happening right now, right? At one point in time, they were so celebrated, right? And today they are facing challenges from all sides, right? So I can just imagine that, you know, how, you know, the founder could have been going through this in that phase now, right? And it has been a complete roller coaster for him. Right? There was a time when he, you know, when funders were just knocking at his door to give him any money he wants, right? And today, the cycles have reversed, right? People are wanting to extract the money back from him, right? I mean, but again, you know, it all depends on how strong is he internally that he will be able to cross this phase, right? And I think he will obviously, I mean, because, you know, as long as your business is right, your basics are right, you know, you do cover the journey. But then as I said, you know, that if he at this level can face this kind of challenges, I think then we have we have far more ground to cover, you know, in that sense.

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I think everybody is on, everybody’s entrepreneurial journey, I truly believe is mostly, you know, a little bit similar challenges, I think the scale changes. I truly believe that the problem, the scale of the problems change, but mostly the problems kind of remain the same.

That is why it’s a very universal experience a lot of people are having. And having said that, I would like to reiterate that, you know, this, I have never come across any entrepreneur, any fellow entrepreneur who, you know, wouldn’t want to lend you a helping hand or wouldn’t want to perhaps give you some perspective. So never feel alone as an entrepreneur.

I think that is very important as well, because there are so many solo founders, and they feel that, you know, they feel it can be a very lonely journey. But it doesn’t have to be an isolating journey, perhaps. Absolutely, absolutely.

Wonderful. So now, you know, we really have to wrap this up. Thank you so much for this wonderful, wonderful conversation.

Any parting thoughts or any kind of recommendations that you would like to give in to our users, listeners, before we, you know, kind of wrap this up? I think we’re in very exciting times, right? And I think we all have all the available resources that are back and forth, you know, be it funding, be it mentorship, be it technology, and also the fact that the next 10 years are India’s time, right? So I think even government is very supportive. There’s a lot of positivity all around us. So I think this is the right time to, you know, take that jump, if you haven’t already, and, you know, try to push your dreams and make things happen.

I think, I think, you know, that is what my all my parting thought would be. Okay, brilliant. No, I think that that is a wonderful note, on which we can end this conversation.

Thank you so much, once again, Satish for having and making the time to speak to me today. This has been absolutely wondrous. Thank you.

Thank you, Tarusha.

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