Entrepreneurial Archives -

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Aloha, we’re all set for FinTechTalk event. Are you?

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 FinTechTalk 2017 San Ramon, CA.

Fintech Talk 2017 San Ramon, CA.

We’re delighted to be a part of FinTechTalk 2017 happening on September 26th at San Ramon, CA.

Leaders in financial services and technology startups will be bringing in an immersive experience around emerging trends in fintech. The event mainly revolves around Artificial Intelligence, APIs, Credit and Wealth Management, Payments, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain. Thought leaders from banking industry and Fintech startups are going to provide invaluable insights. Venture Capitalists are going to be a part of the event as well. Looking forward to saying hello to people with innovative ideas that could grab their attention.

FinTechTalk Conference 2017 topics:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and its role in modernizing channels
  2. Blockchain based capabilities are changing processing and data storage
  3. Fintech proven models of how FSIs can collaborate with startups
  4. Real Estate lending technology is the new cronut of lending space
  5. Advice to startups from serial entrepreneurs on how to go to market with their innovations

The event will witness a plethora of AI/Early-Stage/Growth-Stage/promising/revolutionary startups and venture capitalists, matching their vision thus making it the breeding ground for some of the most powerful fintechs of the future.

We’re happy to say that we’re taking part in the panel discussion there about Core Modernization. And we will be at the Market Simplified booth greeting the participants with our innovative ideas. Let’s catch up there and exchange some ideas.

About iValley:

iValley connects enterprise demand of innovation with a supply of innovation from startups and innovators along with value added services. It’s unique offering of innovation as a service augments enterprises’ innovation and R&D efforts.

Post Event Details

Mr Vasant Jayaraman has been an integral part of the iValley FinTech Talk from Market Simplified. His presentation in front of the esteemed audience, who were from revolutionary startups and top Venture capital firms in the FinTech space had received many accolades.

vasant

The presentation was focused on Market Simplified’s cloud-based Conversational Platform, powered by Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. The platform helps financial institutions increase productivity, improve gain on sale percentage, by reducing the net cost of origination and optimizing personnel expenses.

About Market Simplified: Market Simplified is a thought leader in revolutionizing and digitizing products for financial institutions by continuously innovating and simplifying finance. We empower our customers with cutting edge digital experience that is highly personalized and enhanced for the end users, with our ‘Experience Engineering’ platform driven by Analytics, AI, Machine Learning, and Blockchain technologies. Our clientele includes industry leaders like OptionsXpress (Charles Schwab), Currenex (State Street), ThinkMarkets, MB Trading, Maybank Kim Eng, Kotak Mahindra Bank, National Stock Exchange of India and many others across the globe.

Stories of an Ex-Google Engineer, an Entrepreneur and an Aviation Enthusiast

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Financial Technology companies (Fintechs) face many challenges in meeting the expectations of Financial Institutions (FIs). The former gives the latter an edge in winning over their respective customers by developing products and solutions that help in simplifying finance and its effective management. Therefore, it is no cake walk for Fintechs to thrive in this cut throat world where their survival largely depends on clients (FIs) being happy with the deliverables. Not just that; Fintechs also need to have complete awareness and agility to face the evolving technological changes. They should be super-fast in learning, mastering and implementing the updates in technology for developing new-gen solutions that are in line with the industry standards. Let us take a look into what an ex-Google Engineer, an Entrepreneur and an Aviation Enthusiast have done to achieve great success in the technology front.

The Ex-Google Engineer

Though Fintechs offer new customer products in a highly regulated space, they also have an advantage of working for the institutions that have already passed these regulatory requirements. That’s what probably drew Suresh Ramamurthi, an Ex-Google engineer to enter this arena. But, Ramamurthi did not take the ‘no-bank’ route. This Google veteran spent years looking for a bank before he and his wife purchased the struggling Citizen’s Bank of Weir (CBW) in Kansas City. CBW was in shambles in 2008, just a year before the duo purchased it. The bank was under orders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to cease operations due to inadequate capital reserves, high levels of unrecoverable loans and internal fraud. The couple not only transformed CBW but also made it a place of real innovation. In this course, Ramamurthi started his own Fintech Company – Yantra Technologies that specializes in software that can be used with the retail banking payment infrastructure. After several years of relentless efforts, Yantra built the next-gen platform that transformed and changed CBW’s old and rusty operations.

The Entrepreneur

N26 is a mobile banking start-up that was backed by PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. Having its headquarters in Berlin, Germany, this was a major step forward to replace brick and mortar banks in the European belt. Just one and half years into its operations, by June 2016, N26 had a user base of more than 200,000 customers in 8 European countries.

The Aviation Enthusiast

Venkat Rangan is the founder and CEO of Market Simplified Inc. Though Venkat is a technology enthusiast, he has great interest and passion for Aviation. He often flies a Cessna Sky Hawk 172. In 2005, Venkat started Market Simplified Inc. at a very humble set up in Mylapore, Chennai, India. Though it was a small setup, Venkat had already started on this journey towards his big dream to revolutionize banking and financial services for end customers through his venture. Later, we had a corporate office at the Times Square Building, NY right opposite NASDAQ.

Venkat Rangan

Venkat Rangan, Founder and CEO, Market Simplified Inc.

Our 5 Mile Journey

Market Simplified

Around 2005, there was a brokerage based in the US – TDAmeritrade, for whom we were trying to help connect to their customers digitally through the mobile platform. Yes, TDAmeritrade was our first customer when digital banking and digital stock trading was merely a dream for everyone. We made this dream a reality! From there, we have come a long way to become the world’s largest digital platform in banking and capital markets space.

We were also the first Fintech Company to adopt cloud based technology and our’s was the first commercial Fintech platform to be hosted on the cloud. Our cloud based mobile trading platform is actively used by 40+ financial institutions and 25+ million retail consumers across 12 countries with a throughput of more than $5 billion trades per day. After all these successful ventures, Amazon has quoted us a case study to sell their Amazon Cloud Services. When we asked Venkat – how he discovered cloud as a very time critical platform, he simply shrugs his shoulders and says, “necessity is the mother of all inventions” and walks off with a smile.

Today, Market Simplified is quietly celebrating 12 years of success with its main operations in Ascendas International Tech Park, Chennai, India along with a corporate office in Schaumburg, IL. We have clients across the globe. We have developed state-of-the-art banking and brokerage applications for many top players in the industry with all of them having excellent reviews in Google Play Store and Apple Store.

Market Simplified Clientele

Our Clientele

Earlier this year, we were also awarded the Deloitte technology fast 500 Award for our consistent growth and constant innovation in the Asia Pacific Region.

Our most recent success story is Kotak 811 which was developed to enable a complete digital customer on-boarding experience where customers can open a bank account within 5 minutes just using the app. This is the first time in India where a complete paperless on-boarding solution has been built and deployed for a bank. This has helped Kotak Mahindra Bank increase its customer base to 17 million since the release of Kotak 811 earlier this year.

Our constant pursuit to innovate and simplify finance has driven us to experiment with the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies as well. Our team has built ‘IAN – Intelligent Virtual Assistant’ that helps retail banks engage deeply with consumers through personalized and proactive services over natural voice-based conversations and chat messages. We have also extended this technology to IoT and here is our product demo featuring ‘banking with Alexa’. We are currently working towards building Digi 360 – a complete product suite for Community banks and Credit Unions in USA.

Ramamurthi, Peter and Venkat have all been instrumental in bringing to us – historical moments in the field of technology and innovation. Our learnings and findings from our past experiences are important to us as Fintechs.  There are no better examples than the ones mentioned above. We are still in this pursuit of change and betterment of financial services. As Venkat fondly says, this is our 5 mile journey from Mylapore to Taramani in these 12 years…

“We are witnessing the creative destruction of financial services, rearranging itself around the consumer. Who does this in the most relevant, exciting way using data and digital wins”
market simplified

Ascendas Office

About Market Simplified: Market Simplified is a thought leader in revolutionizing and digitizing products for financial institutions by continuously innovating and simplifying finance. We empower our customers with cutting edge digital experience that is highly personalized and enhanced for the end users with our ‘Experience Engineering’ platform driven by Analytics, AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain technologies. Our clientele includes industry leaders like OptionsXpress (Charles Schwab), Currenex (State Street), MB Trading, Maybank Kim Eng, Kotak Mahindra Bank, National Stock Exchange of India and many others across the globe.

About the author: Girijashankar is a Classical Carnatic Vocalist and teacher who loves to perform. He is also a voracious reader and prefers to read books on crime and mystery. He is currently working as a Business Development Executive in Market Simplified.

Saving to Spend

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What comes to your mind on the First of every month?

Salary?

Payables?

Bills?

EMI's?

 

Well what comes to my mind is the salary being apportioned into small portions at my home when my father brought his salary…the small apportioned portion were for milk, provisions, rent, etc and the apportioned amount was strictly used only for the purpose for which it was set aside. Any thing extra/ unplanned during the month had to be taken from the money what was set aside for savings.  There were no credit cards existing, yet people seemed to manage with their salaries and lived within their means. Have seen my father set aside money even for festivals which were a year away. If I look back, our parents were far better financial planners, they created more wealth, they invested better and let more contented life.

  Piggybank-blog

So what is the change now, the change is the advent of credit cards and consumerism both going hand in hand.  The consumerism though good in the retail sense and for the economy , has led to more wants more than the means.  There is the ever spiralling credit card statements, minimum due cycle, which when a middle class consumer gets caught is quite difficult to wean out. Living on the future income is incredibly foolish though many of us seem to find it absolutely normal to do so!!!

 

What did our forefathers learn that we have unlearned……

 

Inspiring people from 35000 ft

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I found this article in the Indigo Airlines Inflight Magazine, today morning on my flight. I must say that it was quite inspiring and hence decided to share the same.

Pursue Your Passion: you will get where you want to be

Have read many inspiring stories in my life. This probably is more
close to me probably because this story ends ( our hero continues his
journey in real life though) with aeroplanes !

Captain Jasvinder Singh:
Passion was flying and he starts his journey at the National Indian
Flying Club, Ludhiana. His adventure starts right after he gets his
flying license. Scarcity of pilot jobs in our country took him to
Canada to become a computer programmer ( probably it was a means to
reach Canada for him ), as luck would have it, computer jobs also were
scarce after a recession struck the year he passes out in Canada.

This is where the interesting part starts. He takes up driving Monster
Trucks to support himself in Canada and travels the entire length and
breadth of North America including Alaska.

From being a truck driver, he becomes a Train Driver in Toronto city.
What a change ! This time he hears about the booming aviation industry
in India and immediately flies back to India to pursue his passion (
Flying ).

Now he is an Airbus 320 Pilot with Indigo Airlines in India.

Should say it was a journey he can really be proud about, while he
will continue inspiring many youngsters. His journey continues, just
that his machines have been different each time.

Lesson: JUST DONT GIVE UP EVER !

Happy Flying Capt Jasvinder

           Image

 

Thank you #indigo6E for all the inspiring people you nurture and recognise in your organisation 

MSF Family: Seven Years and Counting-Part II

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VINOD:
Vinod

Captain as he is called in this office, Vinod was a sailor in the Merchant Navy for 9 years prior to joining us. He has seen the world like no one has (literally)  and could name almost all the ports in the world. Probably the only guy in our office who knows all parts of a ship, guess you know why ;)
"Anything can happen over a coffee" is a tag which fits his life best I guess. He was on his way to become a Captain from Chief Officer, so when he landed for his 3 month vacation, he met up with me and my co-founder Nagendra, to just come and see what we were doing as a new start-up. Life took a complete turn for him that day, something he wouldn have imagined even while navigating the biggest ships. His coffee meeting was converted in to an interview without even his knowledge and he was made an offer the very next day. 3rd day he was a Business Strategist @ INXS Technologies.  Known for his passion in everything he does, he is a real sailor in the toughest of seas (economy from 2008 till now). 
With no prior technical background in IT / Mobile industry / domain, Vinod learnt everything with almost no help, yes he reads a lot and learns by talking to people. He completes 7 years with us. 

RAGHAVAN:

Raghavan

When I co-founded INXS and our first requirement for a User Experience expert came, I didnt have to think twice before calling Raghavan, who was my ex colleague @ Pacific Multimedia, my previous venture. When he came for the interview, he never spoke a word, all he had was his portfolio, which did all the speaking. Result: What else, he is completing 7 years with INXS Technologies. 
One day, we had to start windows phone development and we had no one who knew .NET / Windows phone programing  . Rags took this opportunity to go on leave for about a month !!!!! He came back as a .NET / Windows phone expert and started the development. 
Speaking about his passion for his work, on one occasion, he was shopping at a mall with his wife on a Sunday. On the way back, when they were passing our office, he asked his wife to get off the car and go back home in an auto. Reason: "I cannot pass office and not go inside ". Dont want to guess what happened when he went home…
You might also want to know that NO meeting takes place without our UX Head. Has anyone given him company during lunch?? If not please try it, you will learn to be patient in life. 

MSF Family: Seven Years and Counting – Part 1

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In this ever changing world of Values and loyalty, Core Team of
Market Simplified  have stood rock solid for seven years building,
nurturing and developing on what they believe in.  Hats off to their commitment
to Market Simplified and its family.  We are completely overwhelmed with
the commitment and the stability that they have shown in these years to the
building of Market Simplified.  It is the core team's sleepless nights of
work that we stand on today. 

 

_0005_kumaresan

Kumaresan.
D
 - Was handpicked out of several freshers way back in 2006.
During the interview he came out with an architecture diagram for Information
security for a banking solution. During college he had already worked in
different flavors of Linux. He had acquired skills in multiple programming
languages which helped us during start up mode. Someone had to always wake him
from the reception sofa most mornings. We knew we have an energetic and
passionate programmer way back then. Since 2006 Kumaresan today is
part of the core technology & foundation team of MSF.

 
_0004_sriram

Sriram Indusekar- Was a
handpick again in 2006 out of several freshers. He had very strong computer
science fundamental knowledge for a graduate just out of college.
Another workaholic, energetic and passionate programmer. A
multi-versatile when it came in to programming languages. Loved the start up
mode which we were in to. Had no difficulty in convincing him to join a start-up,
as he was focused to join one. Sleeping bag was his forte after long
hours of coding, of course if he is not on his Enfield Bullet on a long ride. 

 
_0002_hiran

Hiran
Ramankutty
 - Hiran was with Naturesoft before joining us.
We still remember some '7 ft pillar' walking in to our
office. Hiran was an 'Instant Hire' during the interview itself. The
interview task was just for tradition sake. He breathes only C and C++ and
nothing else. He was the first from God's Own Country to join
us. Hiran was handpicked after we met so many candidates.  A no
compromise guy and never loses his cool. Back
then I was wary about him running back to Kerala . Well, he did not!! A no compromise guy and never loses his
cool. Never used to miss bringing banana chips when he is coming back
from his country. We used to look forward to his arrival in the office for his
banana chips more I guess ! 

 
_0000_prashanth

 Prashanth.E.G
- Like Hiran, Prashanth was at Naturesoft too before joining us, and
like Hiran, he is from God's own Country too and was an 'Instant Hire'
too. Back then, Prashanth was way ahead of his peers and few seniors in the
industry when it came to Web development and he's only moved up the chain in
all aspects from a web developer to being part of our CTG.  I'm not
surprised because of the number of sleepless nights and days of coding at office
without going home.Did you know Prashanth is interested in Vedic Mathematics?
Few know that Prashanth worked for the Calicut University and had to automate
their exam evaluation ( Paper Correction !!!) Go figure what loopholes are in
it, he might help you. 

 
_0003_vijayaraghavan

Vijayaraghavan.
B
- Could you imagine this Palm OS Guru shifted from Palm OS
to Symbian and then to Android? Vijayaraghavan is an example to most of us in
the IT Industry to keep up with latest trends and keep learning newer and
emerging technologies. This was self learning and determination. From Embedded
programming, to C++, Codewarrior, Symbian OS and now Android!!
 Vijayaraghavan joined us from  Bangalore for Palm OS Development.
Back then it was very difficult to get someone very strong in PalmOS. We had promised him that he can retire in 5 years time
after joining us, and promptly he asked me about it after 5 years. He was told
he can retire !!! Did you know he carries a print out of the Benefits offered
to our employees which we had published in our website 7 years back !!!
 He still wants to retire and that's the reason you will see him working
relentlessly.I'm sure he still likes programming in C++, Codewarrior.
Breaking televisions used to be his hobby, now his car! 

 

 
_0001_jayavelu

M. Jayavelu: Our first member of family Velu, is also completing seven years with
Market Simplified.  Master of all trades, plumbing to Bank
 Deposit Velu has been a
real ‘Support’ to us.  He holds the family of Market Simplified dear to
his heart and  we hold him dear to us.  Velu for his unending support and loyalty and our greatest
support, wishes to you too my brother for being with Market Simplified India
Limited and being part of its journey.

 

Our core team members believed in the vision of Market
Simplified and continue to do so.  They are examples of how a start-up can
be one of the leading corporates today, it is their never say die attitude and
that of belief in Market Simplified that has led to the company growth.  I
am sure they will be a source of inspiration to our young and new team members
that it is integrity and belief in the value system that goes a long way and
also teach them to bring more chips and snacks to the office 

 

My Maiden Marathon

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A First Marathon can be described as anything as follows: a Triumph, a personal achievement, a bit of craziness anything, but to someone who has just finished a full marathon after being on the training circuit for a while, it is nothing short of a Milestone in line. Every marathoner has a story and I am no exception, I would love to share my experience.

 

My first Marathon, an entire 41.195 km was nothing short of a victory to me. I was not in the best of my physical condition to complete the task of running the difficult terrain of Auroville. Though many refrained from telling me that it was one of the difficult trails for a first Marathon, for the only benefit that I will not be discouraged on my first marathon. I owe a lot to my running buddies for keeping it in hiding (to be seriously taken in the humorous spirit!)

 

So here we go, I was running a temp of about 100 degree centigrade plus the previous night. Was having a bad headache and was actually going through a bad time in all. And I seriously discourage anyone attempting to run a full marathon, if you are undergoing any of the above or even one symptom, but the DNA in me urged me to complete what I started!

 

Auroville is one of the most beautiful trail that you can ever run. Kudos to the organizers for their generosity and attention to details to care for the entire event starting from bib pins to water points. The run started like any other except that one had to hold a torch in their hand to see the trail in the wee hours of the morning. The first twenty kilometres went off well until the sun came out bright and shining on you. So did the temperature which started soaring after the first few pleasant two hours. Bhasker my friend was there giving me company till the 25th kilometre, then we just saw the 5HR bus coming close to us. Decided to join the bus which had 12 to 15 runners to try and complete the marathon in under 5 hours. By the time I boarded the bus cramps had creeped in to my legs. But I had decided to continue with them until the 31st kilometre. 31st Kilometer I had to get off the bus, and started limping and walking-this is when my good friend Bhaskar gave me a piece of advice, not to stop or sit, if you start realising your cramp, it will not allow you to continue further. The only company from the 31st kilometre was my iPOD and myself. It was one of the greatest mind battles that I have ever fought in my life. I cannot count the number of times, my mind was giving up on my legs and asking me to stop and every kilometre from thereon was winning mind over body, and playing the ‘mind game’. How true, when people told me that life is a marathon, I didn’t realize it until I crossed the 31st kilometre. Every kilometre beyond taught me one thing to ”NOT TO GIVE UP”. Crossed 41 kilometer, with run-walk, run-walk and one step at a time. There are many runners who kept encouraging me, to keep it going, and that is one of the things that I love about the sport. From 41st kilometre when I started hearing the music at a distance, it gave me a boost of energy and helped me to decide that I would be running the next kilometre and finish real strong. The last 100 meters was a real sprint to the finish.

 

Venkat  photo
Hari and venkat
Aurovile group
My timing was 5:31min. The best is around the corner and would soon find space in my ensuing blogs. The feeling that I got after finishing the marathon was inexplicable, it was happiness, agony with sense of achievement and of pure bliss. I would cherish my first marathon forever and I would love to do it all over again, sans my fever!!!

Service-Profit Chain

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Going through the HBR or the Harvard Business Review, I found some articles which were quite interesting and informative. Some of the simple rules that all of us are aware are reiterated and makes us to take a fresh look at the same, one such heading was the ‘Service-Profit chain’. The write up on ‘Optimization of Profitability Chain” is quite self explanatory. I am reproducing the same as below

1. Internal Service Quality affect employee satisfaction
2. Employee satisfaction affects employee loyalty
3. Employee loyalty affects employee productivity
4. Employee productivity affects external service value
5. External service value affects customer satisfaction
6. customer satisfaction affects customer loyalty
7. Customer loyalty affects growth and profitability.”


Quite brief and quite apparent but refreshing the most basic of principles is quite essential.

Source:-Best of HBR By James L. Heskett, Thomas O.Jones, Gary W. Loveman, W. Earl Sasser, JR., and Leonard A. Schlesinger

Voice Application

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Heather Clancey’s write up on Mobility in the ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine was an interesting one. The topic was on ‘Voice Application’ and its future. Many find it quite useful especially while on the go and when people just seem to hate spending time SMS ing. So who are the companies who have discovered the potential of Voice Applications Clancey identified them as Jott Networks, Nuance and Vlingo who seem to be the front runner of ‘Speech Recognition Technology’. Jott Application helps in sending email and Memo by recognizing Voice Technology, sending email through the ‘Voice Technology’ with the help of Microsoft Outlook. Customers of Sprints use ‘Nuance Application’ which helps in ‘Internet Searches’, ‘Message Checking’ etc.

Quite Interesting actually!

Investments -India Vs. China

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Red herring’s Ken Schachter has written an article comparing the Venture Capital Investments in India and China. According to the article investments in China has gone up to more than 46% while in case of India it has dropped to around 81%. Accordingly investments were poured to the tune of $719 million into china which is a 46% increase than last year. Start up’s in India got around $99 million in around 16deals which though might look like a good figure is actually around 27% decrease than last year. The area of investment in both the countries were consumer/business.
In case of China, the highest investment was in case of ‘skyflying media’ for outdoor advertsing. One trend which is quite surprising is that all investments seems to have made to already established or matured industries which seems to be making revenue or profit!