Transcription Episode 94

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Yuvraj. He’s the CEO and founder of Kreatorverse, a prominent Web3 product venture studio.

It specializes in DeFi applications. He’s had vast experience of nearly a decade working in the blockchain domain. Kreatorverse is renowned for its expertise in designing, developing, launching and scaling Web3 solutions that leverage blockchain, AI, AR, cloud and analytics technologies.

So they have actually exclusively collaborated with Stanford AI and Web3 Research Lab Association as well. They’ve also worked very closely with Foundership HQ. He as a founder has had a lot of experience in terms of working in deep tech technology companies.

He has worked as a design sprint facilitator and also as a PM. And he does hold several certifications as well. This was an interesting conversation simply owing to the fact that there goes a lot of thought process and there is a lot of hard work that goes into creating even the simplest of Web3 applications.

And these guys are really helping our founders think more strategically and execute right. I really cannot wait for you guys to hear this. This is a conversation a little different from the usual product-based conversations that we do.

So let’s deep dive right in. Hi, Yuvraj. Thank you so much for making the time to speak to me today.

How are you doing? I’m doing great. How are you, Tarusha? I’m doing wonderfully well. Thank you so much for asking.

I am so glad that you could make the time. Could you, for our listeners, tell us a little about yourself and your background and how you got into Web3? So thanks for having me on your podcast. The pleasure is all mine.

So my professional background in the year 2000, I started my career as any aspiring entrant into a job market would look for. I’m a computer enthusiast like in the right from the school days. So I started my career as a developer, then started building software for software applications or banking financial services.

It started with a Citibank India, then large multinational banks. I worked for them. I built technology and while building this technology, I realized many of them were using the technology as a competitive advantage in winning the market share, gaining their profitability, and all those.

That was an exciting journey for about 14 years. Entrepreneur bug was between me and I was always having this urge to do something on my own to test the waters. I first invested my own personal money and personal capacity to see whether I’m prepared for an entrepreneurship.

Obviously, I did not get the money back. So I realized much more is required to really. So I thought, okay, an executive management program would help because I’m always a techie, nerd, geek.

So people always say that you are not getting the business fundamental. So I learned all the management stuff, not the entrepreneur. So then the realization was to learn it, I have to do it.

Only by doing, we can learn certain things and took a plunge in 2014. Me and my high school friend, we started this company. So when we started, we started with a very different object and a different product altogether.

It was a put tech company that we started. So we thought that is easier than doing a FinTech company, though I come from FinTech company. I was really scared to be honest about going through the regulatory compliance and becoming a regulator, doing something in the regulated domain.

It can be very intimidating, yeah, because there is too many hurdles, right? It’s not a hurdle. So being a first time founder, first generation entrepreneur, I thought that’s more difficult and needs a lot of capital than doing a consumer tech. It was actually, I was naive.

I was, I’m not sure I should call myself now. It’s funny. So I thought consumer tech would be easy and picked up a put tech space and did a put discovery and delivery system.

Though I could, because of tech background, I could build products, but the GTM was a failure. They could not raise funds beyond friends and family. That was a lot of learning and I thought, okay, our pockets are not deep enough like family businesses or family owned companies.

We need to stick with where our strengths are, apply our strengths and build something that is more impactful, meaningful and valuable for the market. Those are the learnings outcome of the first episode going wrong. Then I decided to help other tech entrepreneurs, non-tech entrepreneurs, not tech entrepreneurs to be the tech co-founder for them.

So this worked well for me because I brought entrepreneurial zeal, quest, hunger, analytical and all kinds of necessary in building new products and making sure there is a economic mod in it. There is a competitive advantage in what we are doing. All those fundamental foundational things, new product venture required.

I was able to bring it to a non-tech entrepreneur and that was helping me to recover from some of the losses that I personally incurred. So this gave a confidence to come for the second innings. So 2019, late 2019 when COVID was playing a different kind of making the changes, see changes and the landscape was changing.

Tech was being heavily in demand and everybody thought the world is not going to be the same as it was before COVID. So I got the confidence that I have the blockchain understanding, deep tech understanding, emerging tech understanding and the white space that I found is that founders, they are not applying the technology or leveraging it the way it should be leveraged and build a model solving the web too, then doing something copy paste of web too. So we started this product studio which evolved as a venture studio today and we have so far worked more than 20 projects I would say and as usual 50% took their initial start well and they then plateaued.

But some of the successes that we have seen, it really has stabilized us and we are now building good quality ventures with a good quality founding teams for a global market. That’s where we stand. Okay, so you are like a venture studio like you mentioned and you’ve evolved into a venture studio at this moment.

What are the kind of teams that you know you work with and are there any prerequisites for the startups to be able to work with you? Yeah, it is kind of both the teams, both the organizations have to accept each other. It’s not that it’s one-sided, somebody applying and we selecting it. I don’t think that is maybe if we have to scale that’s how we have to do it.

But so far whatever we have done, we met the founders, they met us, we both discovered and spend time discussing on their business plan and what are the things they themselves are not fully competent to do it and they need a venture studio help in it. Obviously tech for sure because that is the biggest value, largest value that we bring to the table. But as we also think from a capability center approach.

So they might be not in India or they may not be operating in the same market they want to start also. Some of our founders who work with us, they are very globally connected and well-traveled people, they are not in one place. But they are like a borderless, how they were three years today, borderless thinkers, wherever there is opportunity they are willing to go there.

So such kind of founder they say that we need a distributed team that can scale. But when they say distributed but still well grounded, they should have a seasoned professional experience because we still work with a lot of financial industry startups. So we should understand the regulations, compliance and all that necessary so that the foundation is strong for them.

And when it scales, it scales very rapidly. So the selection criteria that you are asking about a sound business plan, viable, feasible. There is the Tan, Sam and Som, they have understood.

So we really like co-founders do, we sit with them and understand their market opportunity. Once we are convinced that we have to put our skin in the game and we enter. And once we enter, we never look back.

Again, we do everything that is necessary that venture to be successful. Okay. So can you tell me a little about the kind of services or the kind of support that you’re able to provide the startups? Yeah.

So the startup founder, they start their be it an idea stage or they tried something, still not figured out what will work. When they reach out to us, they might have been doing something in that space, but they have a very good understanding of the problem domain, but they do not know what they are doing is the right thing to do. So what we start with this, we get into research mode, market research mode, user research.

So we go, do they have some data for our own validation verification? We start immersing ourselves in that space, talk to as many people we could do it, minimum 50 to a hundred who are operating in that space to validate the problem itself. And also the narration, the positioning of that particular startup is the one first to make it very clear to everyone that itself is a service. Once we have a strategy in place from where we have to start the entry strategy from where, from which point they should start, it’s like land and conquer or where they have to land and from where they have to expand.

So that we work with them on a strategy that is practically executable with the constraints of resources they might have. We do post strategy design. We start with design sprints.

We work with prototypes, design experiments to test the prototypes, ask all the critical questions of those hypotheses. Once there is a sufficient take during the experiment, only then the engineering starts. We don’t get into the engineering without a substantiation of, or a validation of what we all believe.

So it will take three months minimum. Once we all say that, yes, this is what customer really, really would like to buy, a willingness to pay. Willingness to pay and willingness to use on a daily basis is established during the design spreads.

Then the full-fledged engineering team comes into place and they very rapidly build the first version and then we start the production readiness launch and other activities. So we break them into milestones. We say this is the milestones and we take each milestone as a next immediate goal and achieve them.

So it’s an entire end-to-end process. You’re helping them from basically a cradle to the part where they start scaling and you’re helping them in a manner which is a strategic as well as a very hands-on. Yeah, it should be strategic and a tactical part of it is we always say if they can do it with their own team members and that is going to in a way help them to stay closer to the customer, we ask them to do the tactical stuff themselves.

It is not necessary we have to do everything by ourselves. We actually see what they can do themselves and we ask them to do it anyway that to feel their internal competency building. If otherwise it’s not, though it’s tactical, but it necessarily they should not do it.

It will be a distraction for them. We ask them to get it done by another external partner or a vendor. Some of the operational stuff.

So tell me what is perhaps the USP? There are some other venture studios and there are some other you know platforms that help in product development. So what kind of sets you apart? What is the USP? Why should startups look at perhaps getting guidance from a creative us than somebody else? Yeah, today in the internet so much of content is available than the time in 2012 or 13. And there are so much of corporate veteran talent is also giving freelance consultations and many groups have come together with a lot of empathy towards entrepreneurs helping them.

But as a first generation entrepreneur myself the problem statement that I’m solving as for my own problem statement I would say is. So each venture it has its own persona. It has its own ethos and there is no template as template that one size fits all kind of.

So therefore, the attention that is required to a venture builder, co-venture building is what we call us. We are co-builders, co-creators for these founders. We tell them that a lot of decision making.

They can copy, cut, copy, paste. That’s what we have seen in rest of the places. Okay, this company has done that.

You cut, copy, paste, something will happen or it’s just not a true always. So though in work it was in some places may not work. So we don’t do any cut, copy, paste and we say that let’s do the first principle thinking for your customers.

What is right for your customers? What is right for your product users? And they will do it. Once you, your end customers are happy with what your product is offering on a day in day out as an experience, you will get to the place where the venture will take you. So therefore, it’s a very custom work, not a work that we can take it from multiple places, but the tools can be reused.

A lot of building blocks can be reused that accelerates. Those are tech static accelerations. So we apply acceleration wherever necessary to optimize the overall capacity and that they require to come up with a company that is easy to achieve product market fit.

But at the same time, we have to go by whatever it takes for that company to be successful in the space, the category that they have chosen. At least they are recognized as a defendable and they have their own stand that they can compete with incumbents or disrupt incumbents with the right kind of product. So product as a competitive edge, that’s a core value proposition.

Best of them is a supporting and augmenting value that we offer. So in terms of value proposition, whatever has been already recorded through our metrics collection is we have seen if someone takes $200,000 in their initial zero to one journey, we have always done that in the 50% of what it would otherwise have taken if they have done them. So it’s in terms of founder capital risk or a bootstrap capital risk is a very high cost of capital because it’s coming from their own savings or coming from by giving a lot of equity to the old stage seed investor.

So it’s a very expensive capital that they got. So it has to be judicially used, right? So it has judicially used and they’ve reached to the point much faster than otherwise they would have reached. That’s a value that we have given.

Right. So basically you focus on an individual case to case basis and that kind of makes it even more special. Yeah.

So we have to give that special attention, but over a period of time, once we have done this for few categories, subcategories, and we have built a knowledge about the end users, then we would be able to do much faster and much more with a high level, high degree of success in the future startups who are going to join the studio as future cohorts. Right. So, you know, given the evolving regulatory landscape, how do you ensure that you know the solutions that you’re building for these startups, they are compliant in nature? So I, I’m a person who did a lot of information tech compliance for the place, for the banks I worked for.

So the post Lehman Brothers crisis, the 2008 economic crisis, so Dodd-Frank email market regulations, CRD5, so many different regulations, the text for a digital first banks or a tech driven banks has to comply with, not just reporting alone, but systems in place, governance is in place, administration in place. So that I think as much as possible, all the disasters can be prevented and the hygiene and sanity and protecting consumer protection or investor protection is taken care. So because I’ve done these things in my own career, whatever we are building, be it a DeFi company, RWA company, we ensure that is there right from the starting.

So the storyboarding itself, when they do this user storyboarding, we see that the AYC, AML, CFTC, PMLA, everything is addressed in the user journeys. They don’t miss anything when they build with us. Right.

Okay. That is wonderful to know, because I think a lot of, as you said, you know, you were at some point a first time entrepreneur as well. There is a lot of attention to detail that is required, which at times, you know, people tend to skip and not necessarily out of sheer lethargy.

It’s, I think, more to do with the fact that, you know, it’s A, intimidating and B, you know, they tend to sort of, because it’s intimidating, they put it off and B, because they might not even be aware. Right. So making sure that this is stuff that comes to their notice and they are actively trying to resolve it from day one, making it a part of the process of building, I think that is wonderful to know.

And I think that will help a lot of these entrepreneurs when they are building on their vision to build on it in a much relaxed, perhaps, manner. Yeah, you put it right, because they can’t, no founder can be an all-rounder, all-round expert in everything. Exactly.

Okay. And they can’t set up advisory boards, sound boards, because today we know time is precious, they have to do certain things at a lightning speed. So there is always, they will oversee some of the stuff.

But for us, for us, it is day in day out across categories of DeFi, RWA, NFTs, we keep looking at it, we keep talking about it. Every day in our team discussions, and we also, as I said earlier, we immersed in this place. So when a new founder comes, we ask all the questions, whether they have been covered well from all aspects of regulatory compliance.

If they’re not, we will fill that, we will fill those gaps when they’re building, not only the regulatory stack of a product, even product-led growth, from a growth aspect also, how much ever, for the GTM to be successful, for a shorter PMF, we also do a lot of work, putting things within the product stack itself, so that it gets optimized overall for them. Right. So because you know, you work so closely with these Web3 startups and platforms, you’ve been monitoring perhaps the market as well.

I would love to understand from you, what are the niches according to you that will really do well in this particular bull run? If somebody is thinking about building a product in the Web3 space, what would be your perhaps top three niches within Web3 that you would say, according to you would do well, and you would advise them to perhaps build in those niches? So the digital assets, either it’s asset backed by real world assets, or assets that are speculated and driven by the values that perceive the value of the user. In both this, there is an uptick, that is an uptrend that we see, but we specialize in the real world asset tokenization category. So even in that financial asset, not the commodity or a real estate.

So we are seeing after all the GTM approvals, tokenized fund coming into the market. So we see all the asset managers across the globe, they want the money to and the liquidity to be available more freely in a tokenized form. So we believe there is going to be momentum and a lot more action in that area.

So we invite founders who are excited about it, want to solve problems within that domain, to work with us and we are willing to, more than willing to work with them on this space. That’s the first one. Maybe the second trend we would call is the compliance.

Compliance, what we mean by compliance is because of the CDB, Central Bank Digital Currency, Basel and all those going on, discussions going on, BIS, International Settlements, which is advising governments to come up with their sovereign CBDCs. There are going to be a kind of integration layers between the Web3 and normal financial industry. There are a lot of work to be done in that case for these two coming together.

That’s another space we invite entrepreneurs to work with us and we are more than willing to work with them to making a digital currency and digital asset both as part of everyday lifestyle. All right. Okay.

I think that’s a very good way to sort of put it. Again, if you had to, because we are talking about your perspective and your experience that you’ve gained by working along these startups and monitoring the market, if you had to give some advice perhaps to startups that are navigating the various challenges that are there in the Web3 space, what would be your advice to them? So startups, the challenging is the first finding of the first investor because they know their resources. It’s costly, costly in the sense it’s a game.

There are so many analogies. You are jumping out the cliff building your plane and you have to land, soft landed. So that’s a nightmare for first generation entrepreneurs.

Even if somebody has done and had success in the past, it’s not guaranteed their next venture is going to be successful. So the calculated moves and the decision that they make every day has to be vetted dispassionately. So for that, they need a venture studio support and our venture studio today also have partners who are willing to put in capital because we are doing so much of due diligence on our side and they are looking at us as a TBI, a technology business incubators.

Some of them who are working with us, their ability to raise funds up to $250,000.

in their first year is highly possible compared to someone who wants to do trial and error and fail and learn themselves. So it’s always better to work with studios like us, venture studios like us, than trying out all themselves, learning the hard way. So this is more fail-safe methodology than doing it themselves or trying or risking it all by themselves.

Right, I think this is again very good advice, you know, for entrepreneurs who are perhaps building in this space. Now, zooming out a little bit, if you had to give, you know, your perspective on the market currently, some people say that we’ve already entered a bull run, would you, what is your take on this? So Bitcoin, as the bellwether, we always look at Bitcoin, how it’s being adopted by the institutions, what is the retail participation, the metrics we always look for the, whatever the millions of holding beyond $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, or how much new wallets has been added and actively transacting on the chains, which comes from the chain analysis, right? These are the metrics people follow, whether it’s bull or a bear market. So tokenization people are a lot of startup founders this year want to launch their tokens and raise their funding, even before they actually make profit or a contribution margin showing that they are on the right track.

So what we are telling them, they can always delay in terms of their token generation but can have their seed and private rounds done before they really open up for a token based fundraising. So that’s an advice that we are giving to our cohort. They don’t need to rush and launch their token then convince and sustain the token value in whichever place they are listing it out.

Because that model already, there was a time everybody launched tokens and none of the tokens are able to retain its own value. So hybrid approach, we always say that take a hybrid approach. So there are backers, not just because your token value will go up, be it speculative or non-speculative in nature or out of the utility that you are talking about.

But I have a backer who is much more friendly to the crypto native founders than the traditional backers. So we are introducing, as I said, we are talking to at least two different syndicates, investor syndicates who are setting up funds in India and outside India. So we also take a lot of clues and advices and trends and ideas where they want to deploy their capital and give the same sound advice to founders who are building through our venture studio.

Right, okay. So if any of the listeners want to get in touch with you and perhaps talk to you about seeking your help, how can they reach out to you? So I’m very active on LinkedIn and there is a contact us button on our website. So it’s just a calendar link there.

They can book my slot and have a conversation with me anytime. I’m open, I’m an open networker and collaborator. So we are always available for founders to have a chat and they can visit if they are in Bangalore, they can drop in to my office and catch me.

Brilliant. Okay. So, you know, we are obviously running a little short on time, but I do want to ask you a few more questions.

So I would love to, one, understand from you what are the kind of skill set or what are the skills or knowledge that one should have if they feel the need to really make it in web3? Do you have a perspective there? Yeah. So everybody don’t require to be as young as me in early 40s. They can be in 20s also doing a successful startup.

Many of them have proven that. But what kind of mental models they require is they should not be in rush to prove a point that they are here to build a unicorn. From a competency point of view, everybody is today needs to be a tech geek way.

There is a book called The Geek Way, an exponential thinker and ecosystem builder. So this exponential thinking ecosystem builder and being a geek is necessary in the web3. If we don’t like to be a geek, geek is not always writing code alone.

Technically sound on what we are doing is what the geek way means. So these are necessary qualities that we look and we ask people to nurture them in themselves to be a successful entrepreneur. Right.

  1. Yeah, I think that is again, I do think that, you know, there are you do need to be a geek in the sense that you do need to be open to learning and unlearning if you’re going to be coming into web3, I think. But not everything has to be about being very sound technically, because this is a you know, sector in itself.

And people of all skill sets can really find their positioning here and they can find that and make their professional professional career, you know, better and scale it without really being somebody who just codes. Agreed. Agreed to the point that there is a scope for everyone to carve out their own niche.

But whatever niche they are carving out, let them be best at it. So the striving for excellence is necessary, not just the three in every field someone is picking up to build a career, be it an entrepreneurial career or a professional tech career. So that nature would be very, very necessary, being best at it, becoming excellent at what they are doing.

So a lot of learning and learning necessary in the journey and so the baggages has to be dropped at one point if it’s not working for them and pick up the new skills and move on whichever is working. So that continuous learning, relearning, unlearning is part of the everyday routine. Right.

Can you recommend perhaps some, you know, books or certain thought leaders that you feel our listeners would really gain from and you know, you follow them or you would highly recommend those resources? Yeah, definitely. Some of the A16C talking about S-curve, extraction, ecosystem. Those are some of the, it’s not just books, podcasts might be useful for your podcast is also, you have spoken to various people and you have brought a lot of information that is useful content for many people.

I have spent in the last one week listening to at least three, four of them. Some of our friends have spoken. Okay.

So other books is Financial Market Landscape Change, right? Right. William, William Monger who has written Anatop, the Bitcoin person who actually educational person who teaches a lot about Bitcoin. So those are the books which will set your fundamental knowledge very clear what this technology is, how powerful this technology, what impact it can bring and how it should be leveraged by the founder so that they build a future internet, which is more inclusive in nature and also more democratic in nature.

And it is much more neutral and efficient than what we all have experienced as a vector. So it’s not one subject, they have to draw parallels and learn how different domains are coming together, fusion, fusion overlap and that overlap the new models are emerging and arising out of that. Right.

I’ll show to link these up in the description and the podcast links. And obviously, I think everybody should know about A16Z and the kind of good essays, etc. that are available on the website.

But if somebody does not, then you’ll find the details in the description that we have. We are going to push out once this podcast is out. So Jibrash, it’s been a very wonderful, very enlightening conversation from ranging from your services now to the trends in the space, obviously moving to resources as well.

I would be amiss if I don’t ask you this one question, which I ask everybody that comes on the show and which is basically, what would be your advice to somebody who is like making a leap from web two to web three, because you’ve done something very similar. You used to work in FinTech and then you move to web three. What would be your advice to somebody to really make that same leap and really start living on blockchain? So the decentralization, the reason for me taking that leap is I’ve seen on the floor how the investment bankers lost their credibility and trust to the society had the central custodians of funds, when the public could not take their own value wherever they have stored it.

Which is like a very watershed moment for a whole industry itself, the bank for which I used to work. So you would say that because of just the intrinsic value that this particular sector brings in, one should look at it. Yeah, yes.

So the decentralization and decentralization of and putting the control back in the hands of the people who has to manage their own value is necessary. That itself will make them to completely think from how centrally managed or central authority based systems. So the system design has to definitely, it’s due for a correction, due for a change.

And this technology is accelerating that change. Right. I think that’s a wonderful way to perhaps close this episode as well.

I am very grateful that you could make the time and speak to us today, Ubraj. Any last thoughts before we wrap this up? Yeah, as I am re-emphasizing the point, founders who are looking out for support, looking out for help in building their dream Web 3 ventures or Web 2.5 ventures from whichever place they are from, irrespective of where their background they are coming from, they can approach us and we would be certainly spend time in giving whatever we have so far gained by building so many companies as co-builders with many international founders. Our international founders have come from a lot of good pedigree.

So we could definitely offer them without any string attached so that their business models and business plan is at least well thought through, whether they are building themselves or taking our support to build it. Right. Yeah.

I think that’s wonderful. Thank you so much once again for making the time to speak to me. This has been a wonderfully enlightening conversation.

Thank you, Tarusha, again for having me. It’s a great opportunity for to share our thoughts and ideas with your audience. Likewise.

Thank you so much.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *