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Meet Bundeep Singh Rangar, The Serial Entrepreneur Who's Paving The Way For The Next Generation Of Technology: Web 4.0 According to Rangar, Web 4.0 will be taking an integrated tech stack approach to build future-proofed products to fulfill recognized gaps in the market.

By Tamara Pupic

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

BNC Publishing
Serial entrepreneur, investor, dealmaker, and philanthropist Bundeep Singh Rangar is all set to be one of the main drivers (and beneficiaries) of Web 4.0.

While much of the general public might still be struggling to get a grasp of the concept of Web 3.0, Bundeep Singh Rangar -a serial entrepreneur, investor, dealmaker, and philanthropist- is choosing to go one step further- he is all set to be one of the main drivers and beneficiaries of the development of the next generation of this technology, i.e. Web 4.0. "Web 3.0 emphasized the decentralized web, where blockchain technology and decentralized protocols played a central role, emphasizing increased security, privacy, and user control," Rangar explains. "Web 4.0, on the other hand, advances this set-up via artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and seamless human-computer interactions."

Now, Rangar is literally putting his money where his mouth is, after having founded an enterprise that will help him to keep an eye on -and significantly contribute to- this new technological boom: Glass Ventures, a groundbreaking venture capital (VC) firm that he's setting up with Cinderella Amar. "We aim to tap into the next generation of technology companies that incorporate a variety of technologies to create something very valuable and convenient," Rangar declares. "These dramatically contrast the costlier and time-consuming way things are done today, at both the consumer and business level."

According to Rangar, Web 4.0 will be taking an integrated tech stack approach to build future-proofed products to fulfill recognized gaps in the market. And he further believes that entrepreneurs who will win on this new tech technology -whom, by the way, he also seeks to support- will be the ones who are capable of taking a "best of breed" approach when it comes to creating these innovative solutions. "They're not building blockchain or augmented reality companies per se, but using a combination of such technologies that work best for an end-product in mind," Rangar says. "They're carefully looking at a 'product-market fit,' and not taking a 'build and they will come' approach that we've witnessed with several crypto companies."

Related: The Entrepreneur's Guide To Setting Up A Web3 Business In Dubai

It is therefore safe to say that at Glass Ventures, Rangar is paving the way for the next generation of AI-led technology- but he is also keen on doing it in a responsible and sustainable manner. "As a venture fund, we will mitigate the risk of early-stage Web 4.0 investments with a slew of Web 3.0 ones, as the latter have more product maturity," he explains. "Investing in Web 3.0 businesses that have already gained commercial traction with a path to profitability de-risks the fund from a portfolio perspective."

Now, Rangar's plan is already in motion, given that Glass Ventures is the VC arm of a company he founded, Fineqia. As a digital asset and fintech investment company that's publicly listed in Canada with offices in Vancouver and London, Fineqia has already invested in companies such as Los Angeles-based investment advisory firm Wave Digital Assets, Geneva-based cryptocurrency asset management company Criptonite AM, and Zug-based Web3 file transfer and storage service aggregator platform WeSendit. "The vintage portfolio provides new investors with the benefit of value already accrued, and an earlier exit horizon than other funds making new investments," Rangar explains. He and Amar have also set up a research and development facility with Cambridge Blockchain Labs (CBL), a research center in England, which is expected to help them with tech due diligence for investments, as well as to ensure that they tap into deal flow emanating from university campuses. "The idea is to give ourselves a deep technological edge," Rangar explains. "CBL taps into student societies and labs in the UK, Cambridge and Oxford universities alongside Imperial College, and overseas, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford in the US, Hautes Etudes Commerciales in France, Technical University of Munich in Germany, and National University of Singapore in Singapore."

Related: A New Report Published By Consensys In Partnership With Entrepreneur Middle East Explores "Opportunities in Web3"

Talking about Fineqia requires us to also look at an earlier chapter in Rangar's career trajectory, which reveals his innate strategic thinking prowess that resulted in the company being built as a global enterprise from the outset. "The main challenge in building such a company was to ensure we had a global perspective, while being headquartered in one country," he recalls. "To that end, we've set up subsidiaries of the Canadian company in London, as well as in Europe, and we are also looking at a possible set up in the UAE," he says. "As a publicly traded firm with regulatory oversight, we've built a company with the highest standards of governance and transparency. This is particularly important in a nascent digital asset industry that's been rocked by malpractice among some of its participants."

Here, Rangar points out that such a global set up allows Fineqia's investors to capitalize on opportunities emanating from progressive digital asset regulations worldwide, such as the European Union's Markets in Crypto Assets and the UAE's Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations, "while regulations remain more restricted in North America."

Fineqia is, therefore, well-positioned to seize the trends that will bring further growth to the crypto and blockchain sector. Here, the first trend that Rangar points out is the legitimization of Bitcoin (BTC) as an investable asset with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's approval of spot BTC exchange traded funds (ETFs). "That's unleashed a wave of traditional finance interest in not only BTC, but digital assets in general," Rangar shares. "We're also witnessing the advancement of decentralized finance (DeFi), providing digital alternatives for traditional financial services like lending, borrowing, and trading. Third, there is an increased trend toward fractional ownership of real-world assets (RWA), such as real estate, treasury bills and loan receivables via tokenization, as well as the trading of such tokens outside of traditional finance marketplaces." Now, to tap into these trends, Fineqia has set up an exchange traded note (ETN) business in Europe, and received approval from the financial regulator in Liechtenstein, as well as admission by the Vienna Stock Exchange to list ETNs with underlying digital assets.

An additional point in Fineqia's favor when it comes to governance and transparency is that its Chairman is Martin Graham, a former director of the London Stock Exchange. "We're leapfrogging to the next trend in ETFs and ETNs by deploying these assets in staking pools and DeFi protocols to generate enhanced yields for the ETN's noteholders," Rangar explains. "These ETNs will be the first in the world so far as it enables institutional investors to not only capture any upside in the movement of digital assets, but also to generate a healthy yield from DeFi regardless of the price movement."

To that end, Fineqia partnered with FTSE Russell, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange, which is known for providing benchmark UK stock indices. FTSE Russell will be providing the company with index pricing, and perhaps more importantly, also co-brand its ETNs as Fineqia FTSE products that will be well recognized by financial institutions. In addition, Rangar reveals that Fineqia is also looking at RWA tokenization possibilities. "It is because we have access to high quality loan receivables with an above market yield, that's uncorrelated to the crypto markets," he says. "These non-volatile assets make for some of the best quality RWAs worldwide."

Rangar's moves in this domain make it seem like he's always been one step ahead of his peers in the sectors he chooses to operate in, and another example showcasing this is PremFina, a tech-led financier of insurance premiums that he founded in London in 2015. "It has since successfully challenged the 40-year duopoly in the UK's US$15 billion premium finance industry," Rangar says. "We realized that many insurance industry information technology (IT) systems were arcane. And yet, the end customers were increasingly adept at using mobile apps and digital channels. So we focused on the customer journey and created our software-as-a-service (SaaS) to be both forward and backward compatible, so that it could integrate with both modern application program interfaces (APIs) as well as more rustic comma-separated values (CSV) files."

But it's not just about the software- Rangar points out that PremFina's second advantage is its business model. "I view lending companies as essentially 'collection companies,'" he says. "Lending is the easy part. It's when things go awry on the loan repayment that one has to worry. In PremFina's case, we mostly finance cancellable insurance, so should a monthly repayment be missed, the premium is cancelled, triggering a a pro-rata refund from the insurance underwriter on the leftover tail. That way, the financing is almost entirely principal-protected, with the counterparty risk being that of a highly rated insurer."

PremFina's third advantage stems from the fact that it represents one of the highest quality loan assets worldwide. "In the nine years since I started the company, our loan losses have always been in the low decimal places," he says. "That sharply contrasts most lending portfolios, which have loss rates in single or double digits, not basis points!"

No wonder then that PremFina was backedby some high-profile investors, including Tim Draper's UK venture firm Draper Esprit, the Thomson family behind Thomson Reuters, Japan's e-commerce company Rakuten Inc., as well as US private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Besides his entrepreneurial pursuits, Rangar is also a prolific dealmaker- indeed, he is known to have successfully closed deals totaling over $500 million for companies in the UK, Europe, and India.

One of the best stories he has to share in this regard relates to a small, car financing company from Portsmouth, England. "Its technology involved the fitting of an immobilizing device that would prevent a car from being driven if a loan wasn't repaid, causing borrowers to quickly repay, thus reducing loan losses," Rangar says. "I arranged for this car financing company to get funds from Fidor Bank in Germany, which dramatically changed its fortunes. It became one of Britain's biggest lenders in its category, and ultimately got acquired by a US private equity firm, making its founders and investors millions of dollars."

Now, this is yet another tale that points toward Rangar's proven track record in business- and that's what should make the rest of us attuned to the potential of his newest interest, i.e. Web 4.0. "New products will be built on and seamlessly integrate existing and disparate Web 3.0, AI, blockchain, augmented reality, and quantum computing technologies," he says. "This promises a smarter, personalized, and richer experience, changing the way we own data, manage information, and transact online. Web 4.0 will allow us to own and auto-transact online, contrasting Web 1.0 as read-only, Web 2.0 as read-write, and Web 3.0 as read-write-execute. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are building such new companies that blur the lines between humans and machines."

From a personal perspective, Rangar's career trajectory can be aspirational for others in the business arena, and as such, when asked for advice he'd give those wanting to follow his lead, he replies by stating that he's a firm believer in the notion that nothing is worth doing if not done with passion and excellence. "There's no point following a supposedly lucrative career if you're not motivated, as you won't do well at it, and you will soon face an existential crisis," he says.

So, when it comes to planning out one's lives, especially when it comes to the youth, Rangar believes that they should take advantage of the fact they live in a time where they can take multiple careers in a manner that's hitherto unprecedented. "Do not be afraid to reinvent yourself," he adds. "The same faculties of reasoning, memory, and rational thought can be applied to different disciplines. I have worked as a para legal, a video jockey, television anchor, software developer, journalist, corporate finance advisor, investor, and entrepreneur. These might seem very disparate, but they have a common thread of pursuing my passion at the time, an enquiring nature about the world, and a desire to bring about change in industry as well as betterment of society."

Rangar is also emphatic about the power of challenging assumptions. "Only when someone questioned the manner in which things were being done was there acknowledgement about room for improvement," he says. This brings us to his next tip, which is to not shy away from taking on the risk of changing the old way of doing things. "Only by challenging ourselves and the world around us, do we manage to become better persons, and change the status quo," he says. "Staying in our comfort zone makes us complacent, and then we're just functioning, not living, creating, and producing. I live my life on the assumption that the universe rewards risk."

Besides Glass Ventures, RANGAR is also the entrepreneur behind Fineqia, a digital asset and fintech investment company. Source: BNC Publishing

Here, he recalls how being an outsider to the insurance industry gave him a fresh perspective of the sector, and that ended up becoming a competitive advantage for his work at PremFina. "When I told people that I barely bought insurance, they were very pessimistic about my ability to succeed," he says. "I reminded them that one of the best analysis about democracy in America was written by a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville. With PremFina, it made me challenge every single point in the existing premium finance value chain." And that leads to the last thought he'd like to leave us all with. "Listen to your inner self," Rangar concludes. "There will be many detractors and naysayers along the way. Only if you believe in yourself will you succeed, and will you be able to lead others. You must build enterprises in a manner that makes their success inevitable."

'TREP TALK: Bundeep Singh Rangar shares his tips for entrepreneurs in the MENA

Prioritize understanding the regulatory environment to ensure compliance and smooth business operations "Navigating the specific regulatory landscape of the region is crucial for maintaining a legal and operational foothold."

Cultural sensitivity and localization are also paramount for success "Entrepreneurs should acknowledge and respect the cultural nuances of the region, tailoring products, services, and marketing strategies to align with local preferences and customs."

Forging strong local partnerships is instrumental in achieving business objectives "Establishing robust relationships with local partners allows entrepreneurs to leverage regional expertise and connections, facilitating smoother market entry, and fostering business growth in the UAE/GCC, which then serves as a solid foundation to globally scale their businesses."

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.


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