The Block Builder Of Crypto Ashish Singhal of CoinSwitch aims to be the crypto platform of choice for Indians
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From being picked by Jeff Bezos himself, to starting Urban Tailor and finally, CoinSwitch, Ashish Singhal, Founder and CEO, has put his learnings from the debacle of Urban Tailor to CoinSwitch, India's largest crypto investing company, which commenced operations in 2017. CoinSwitch is the result of a hack that Singhal, along with Govind Soni, co-founder & CTO and Vimal Sagar Tiwari, co-founder & COO, built to help users trade at the best price for crypto. CoinSwitch became the second Indian crypto Unicorn in 2021 following a $260 million Series C funding led by a16z (Andreesen Horowitz) and Coinbase Ventures and to be valued at $1.9 billion. It is also India's 30th Unicorn.
Talking about the challenges Singhal faced in building CoinSwitch, he says, "The initial days were tough, because no one knew what crypto was. Even after getting funded by Sequoia, we found it difficult to align the right folks, at least in India."
From then, and up until now, the platform has gained tremendous traction in terms of its user base. Interestingly, 60 per cent of CoinSwitch's user base is less than 28-year-olds with 45-year-old plus stock market enthusiasts increasingly experimenting with this high-risk, high-reward asset class. Crypto adoption among Indian women shot up 500 per cent during January-December 2021 and accounts for 15 per cent of their total user base.
On the scale the business has achieved in a year, Singhal says, "In 2021, over 14 million Indians used CoinSwitch to learn, buy, trade, or sell crypto assets in a simple, secure, protected environment, making us the largest crypto platform in the country. At the beginning of the year, we were serving just over 1 million users."
The year also brought out his entrepreneurial resilience during the pandemic. He adds, "The pandemic sped up digitisation and the kind of adoption you have seen of financial markets (not just crypto) created a wave of new financial investors. As market leaders, educating investors and ensuring protection became a business imperative for us as we grew to approximately 14.5 million by December 2021."
During these times, CoinSwitch also engaged in social work with its Circle of Hope Campaign. "For every person that joins our workforce, we help one woman with the capital they need to revive their street vending business again. Employees also contributed the HR goodie budget towards celebrating Christmas with kids in their families," says the founder.
On innovation in business to drive business growth, Singhal says, "We have always focussed on the product, and we think-user first. We believe that the right messaging, user-friendly product and the team have helped us educate more Indians about asset investing and start their crypto journey."
"Many of us don't come from well-off families, and we've all struggled for money. We believe Crypto innovation will enable us to provide equal opportunity to every Indian out there. Our motto—to make money equal for all—is the vision that excites all of us. And I think that helps retain and attract the best talent from out there."
"We are building one of the first teams for creating Web3 and crypto space in India. We are looking for people with a customer-first approach, experience in building products and platforms to scale for millions of users, and following a very high degree of experimentation that allows them to think big and fail fast," says Singhal.
CoinSwitch has also been expanding its senior leadership team over the past few months, on-boarding former employees of mostly Indian tech/e-commerce companies. By March 2022, the company plans to expand its team to 500 employees.
On his vision for the company, says Singhal, "We want to be the crypto platform of choice for all Indians by being a feature-differentiated, most price-effective platform and evolve into a wealth-tech destination for every Indian and 'Make money equal for all' by offering the right assortment of financial products."
Year of inception: 2017
Number of employees: ~500
- Ashish Singhal, CEO: Feb-1989 Age - ~33
- Govind Kumar Soni, CTO: May-1990 Age ~ 32
- Vimal Sagar Tiwari, COO: Dec-1989 Age ~33