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About The Guest
Edul Patel is the Co-founder & CEO of Mudrex. Mudrex is a Y Combinator-backed crypto startup with over 100k users and 20m AUM.
Edul brings with him over 10 years of experience deep-rooted in finance, entrepreneurship, and building tech-driven applications. Previously Co-Founded Niffler, a $1Mn funded startup by SAIF partner. Niffler got acquired by Tapzo where he led the product team to build the core Infra and App.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 03:49 — Edul Patel’s origin story
- 06:14 — The origin of Edul Patel’s company and the which category it lies in
- 13:21 — How did Edul Patel decide on the name of his company “Mudrex”?
- 17:56 — How does Edul Patel solve the security component and why did YC pick Edul’s project from millions of projects
- 27:06 — Why did Edul Patel choose to go through YC?
- 33:02 — How did Edul Patel differentiate himself in the matter of trust?
- 38:48 — What does Edul Patel think about Crypto, NFTs, and Metaverse; is it short-term or long-term?
- 47:32 — Are there any sectors like NFTs and crypto that are not popular yet?
- 49:49 — Where do people connect with Edul Patel?
- 50:56 — What was the biggest challenge Edul Patel has ever faced?
- 51:57 — Who is the mentor of Edul Patel?
- 52:40 — A book or a podcast recommended by Edul Patel
- 53:29 — What would Edul Patel tell his 20-year-old self?
- 53:47 — What does success mean to Edul Patel?
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Machine Generated Transcript
crypto, people, yc, product, invest, users, investing, metaverse, build, companies, money, tokens, world, projects, bitcoin, india, baskets, nf, called, problem
Scott D Clary, Edul Patel
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network and the blue wire Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like my first million. My first million is hosted by Sam Parr and Shawn Peri, they feature famous guests. They discuss how companies made their first million and then some they brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace. Here are some of the topics he talked about. If you like any of these, you will love the show three profitable business ideas that you should start in 2020 to drunk business ideas that can make you millions, asking the founder of Grammarly how he built a $13 billion company or Sass companies that anybody can start. If these topics are up your alley, go check out my first million. Listen to it wherever you listen to your podcast. Today, my guest is Edul Patel . He is the co founder and CEO of mudra x mu Drax is a Y Combinator backed crypto investment platform. He brings over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience, finance experience. He has built multiple tech driven applications. He’s been a founder and an entrepreneur. This is his fourth venture. He graduated in 2011. From India’s most prestigious school of Engineering, IIT Bombay. He joined Deutsche Bank as a senior business analyst post graduation he worked in FX risk and margining desk and led the product management as well as business development wings of a real time risk management portfolio. He previously co founded niffler, a $1 million funded startup by safe partners niffler was acquired by tap so where he led the product team to build out tap SOS core infrastructure and app. So he has built several tools. His experience spans finance and tech. We spoke about what he’s doing at mudra x we spoke about his passion for helping people achieve their potential by allowing them to achieve financial freedom. And him and his co founders have bought into the idea and evangelize the idea that crypto defy web three, those are the ways to get there. So they built Midrex as a way to help people achieve that financial freedom. Midrex basically solves for the investment risk and the investment, barrier to entry and crypto investment by bucketing different asset classes. So you can invest in buckets of crypto and buckets of NF T’s and buckets of Metaverse, projects, top projects, so that it removes a lot of the complexities in terms of investing. So hopefully, if you remove the complexities, then of course, you can invest easier. So we spoke about his backstory, his origin story, some of the reasons why he founded mudra some of the things that he hopes to accomplish with the platform. We spoke about building trust. We spoke about his journey through yc. We spoke about building the business in a very competitive and constantly evolving market and we spoke about some crypto topics we spoke about the future of crypto, the future of NF Ts, the applications of tokens, whether or not NF T’s are just a fad. We spoke about new use cases for crypto blockchain technology that haven’t even been explored yet. So a ton of great business lessons in a blue ocean, emerging ocean, highly innovative environment, highly innovative industry, as well as some great crypto topics from somebody that’s lived in it. For several years. He has a copy of the Bitcoin white paper right beside his desk. So let’s jump right into it. This is Edul Patel . He is the co founder and CEO of Midrex.
Edul Patel 03:50
Okay, got it. So I graduated from the school board of IIT Bombay. In bizarre vignettes. It’s like it’s a tier one educational Engineering University. graduated in 2011. Post that went to Deutsche Bank worked over there for a couple of years in the trading industry teams did a lot of work with the US and India desks worked on risk management. And also so a lot of the banking side of the chain, did that for a couple of years. Then eventually left at to start my first company called as niffler. We were building a hyperlocal deals and discounts app. Something like a Groupon for India did that for a couple of years raised a million dollars from tier one VC fund. Build an office in Bombay today hired 3040 odd people eventually acquired got acquired by this company called as tap zoo, which is building like a WeChat for India. And over there joined in became head of product did that for three odd years. Tabs. I’ve actually got acquired by Amazon and is now part of the Amazon pay ecosystem in India. And as for me, I couldn’t see myself go and work at Amazon So definitely decided to go back and start thinking about what am I? Yeah, of course, okay. So so so actually, we in fact, and now as I read blogs, it started with Rex and and we go deeper into and talk about the exhibit. But to be honest as myself, I’ve always been like a builder, throughout life, even even in school did multiple things. And then when I was in university did a bunch of startups over there, you know, small, small things that we will try out for 3434 months, did a lot of work in code. So my background has Material Science Engineering, so did a lot of work on on nanotechnology on shape memory alloys, and eventually realized that, although the research was nice and cool, but about what but definitely wanted to do something that was more real world, and had some real world applications, so as a result, you know, just dropped dropped into doing this full time.
Scott D Clary 05:54
So, so, you’ve so this is, you know, like, Moto X, like it’s been how many startups before you you started this venture? It’s been a few obviously,
Edul Patel 06:06
yeah, well, the next one is number four.
Scott D Clary 06:08
Number four. So this is not your first not your first rodeo at all. Wow, so let’s talk about let’s talk about why you wanted to build this particular product, this particular company and also like, and walk me through, like the origins of the company, because I think that’s also very interesting, because you’re, I think you’re, I’m just looking on CrunchBase now, so obviously, you’ve raised a few, you’ve raised some money, your wife’s your YC company, as well. So walk me through, like where your head was at that, that prompted you to go into and actually let me also ask this, how do you classify mudra? Like, do you classify it as like a crypto an investment tool? Like what is your classification? What’s your category that you feel is a crypto investment?
Edul Patel 06:52
So this is a crypto investing platform and when I say crypto investing platform we’re not we’re not like the the products that help you just buy and sell Bitcoin and Aetherium profit on is we created you created like a mutual fund style layer for investing in crypto over the course of the last few years the number one problem that we realized that retail investors had was there there were like too many choices. And there were just too many tokens coming in and this coming in and that coming in and as a result, they wanted to really create long term wealth they weren’t they weren’t able to find products to invest in and that’s where the x comes in. And that’s that’s the the term that you see right now but of course there is a long backstory to all of this so
Scott D Clary 07:36
Edul Patel 07:38
yeah and and and you know, I can I can start with this literally right over here at the side of me is the is the Bitcoin white paper. It’s a large huge frame that we got out of the Bitcoin white paper right next to me. And actually that white paper first in about 2011 Right, right after I graduated from college, and at that point, I’m gonna see cool and interesting and then some some something unique that a few nodes are trying out. The second time I heard about Bitcoin was 2013 pattern. And this time, I was in Deutschland. And this is the first time you know BTC had cost about 100 and me and a couple of my friends were discussing whether we should buy BTC or not. To be honest, we did try a lot but there was really no way for us to purchase BTC like like crypto was was very hands off. There was no no easy way to buy our first crypto so we let it be and missed out on that boat in 2015 BTC just about I think I think it has 1000 momentarily for the first time and that’s when me and a few of my friends started a thread and an email thread that still alive and kicking that says Are we too late? Have we missed the boat question mark, question mark, question mark. And every single you know, your whole bunch of people joined in and they started to you know, post their comments and and now it’s kind of sort of become a yearly ritual where every year someone or the other posts on that thread again saying that have we missed the boat question mark question mark question or is it to every year every every year every single year? Right? But having said that 2017 is when you know things started to change a lot for me in crypto at that point in time I was deciding to leave tabs or start my own and me and my co founders we were looking for we were looking for we’re looking at the investing space current sort of in and the wealth tech space very closely from an India perspective as such back then and you know the general broad vision was that we wanted to get we want to help people get to financial independence faster and that comes out of came from the thought that see at the end of the day you know all of us know this this Maslow’s hierarchy right where at the lower end you’ve got food, clothing, shelter, all your basic requirements only after those things are satisfied is then is when you get actually realize your human potential and and build doubt and do things that are really creative. And that will help you go ahead and that will help the human race advance, right. So that r&b will let for that base to get done. People want it, people must get to financial independence first. Because if you’re worried about money to help get you food, clothing, or shelter or some of the other needs, then you’ll never be able to focus on that. So our overarching vision was to have more and more and more people get to financial independence. And really, the only way that that you could you could do it is if you could help people manage their money better A, and you could help people you know, reinvest their funds, make that assets, liquid, make them available, when it’s required, and so on, and so forth, right, like, do all the financial engineering and make sure that their funds are available when they needed. And if they needed more than they could like access, credit, and so on and so forth. Very easy. And to be honest, we were looking at different different ways to do it. And that’s when we stumbled upon crypto I think for the fourth time in my in my life. And by that I was completely sold on Flickr, right? I went out and read white papers, I went on and read more about Aetherium about Bitcoin, about the philosophy of crypto about why vektory was important. And all of that, and by then I was completely sold. And the reason why I was completely sold was because crypto made money fungible, and it helped us move money around in a way that no other kinds of financial framework in the past did. And it was simply because of that, that I felt that okay, if this is going to happen, then it is going to make things more seamless and more efficient, is automate things more seamless and more efficient. Eventually, the world will move over here. So So back in 2017, like we were four founders, all of us had eventually came to this conclusion, at this very strong belief that crypto is the way the world will will end up transacting 510 20 years down the line. And if we felt that, if anything, and if we felt that if we could do anything to make people get to financial independence faster than crypto, the technology behind it would be the fastest way to get people there. And hence you said that, okay, let’s let’s just directly jump right in, and make that the mission of our lives. So that’s what we, you know, decided to jump into and start doing and effectively the, the vision of getting people to financial independence, the goal was that, okay, if crypto is the way forward, then let’s try and get more and more and more people into crypto. The problem with that is that, of course, there are 1000 challenges, right? Like it’s an asset class, like, like, no, whatever it’s,
Edul Patel 12:33
yeah, there’s regulatory compliances user adoption problems, technology problems, user interface problems, just just getting people to convert that USD or INR or GBP into bitcoin is is like a massive overhead, right. And we started to solve those problems one by one by one, and take it ahead. And today, Model X is a is a is a product that serves over 100,000 users, we got users from close to 80 different countries, US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and so on and so forth, being some of them, we are working very hard with regulatory do with with regulators around the world, to try and get compliances ready. And of course, we built our own on ramp layers. And on top of that, we built our own investment products, these baskets that users can invest in, and we’ll go deeper into investing and what people
Scott D Clary 13:20
Yeah, so first of all, I have to I have to say like just off from your story, I love that. I love your vision. And I think it’s a very noble vision. And I think that that’s something that regardless of what business or or thing you’re building, like how mission driven your company is something that anybody can learn from, because I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t think at that level, like the fact that you are thinking at the level of a macro vision. But it’s such an important vision, like, you want to enable people financial independence, but you want to allow them to fulfill all their needs and all their basic requirements so that they can like reach their maximum human potential. Like that’s a that’s a really interesting, and that’s a really, it’s a really noble thing that you’re doing. And now you just sort of build, after you have that thing that drives you, then you build the thing that’s going to allow you to facilitate that. And that’s what that’s what you’ve done, and I apologize, I cannot roll my arse like you can so I keep saying Midrex i You say like, I can’t say like, I can’t roll my eyes.
Edul Patel 14:21
However, how are you saying it’s perfectly fine. You’re very guide. So that’s a very interesting story behind why we named it Yeah. So so
Scott D Clary 14:31
yeah. Okay, so why so and also so the first version of so you had this vision, you understood that crypto that you bought into crypto as as a construct as something that is going to move the world forward. Now you’re trying to figure out how to do that. Exactly. And through like these bucketed simple investment options. But anyway, yes, go ahead. What’s Where does the name come from?
Edul Patel Yeah, so so. So going back again to 2017. Again, we are we’re a bunch of four founders. We’re focused on building something in India. So he said that okay, let’s let’s try and first solve for this problem in India and then we will take it to the world. Right? And and because we were going with that focus Midrex is comes from two words, it’s mudra. Exchange. mudra literally means currency in Sanskrit. So somebody literally translates to currency exchange for all practical purposes. But yeah, the thought process was that okay, let’s, let’s start small. Let’s start with the jurisdiction that matters the most to us, which is, which are the folks around us, and he says that we will not a cryptocurrency exchange in India. So we literally started building the Coinbase for India in January 2018. So like, almost four years ago now. And you know, below, below, below our app builder, automatic engine builder, everything from scratch, and we’re just about to launch to our beta users. So we, we launched our alpha users in March 15 2018. And we’re just about lost to our beta users. And literally one week before we could do that the central bank in India comes in and bans crypto trading in the country. And effectively with our product ready, our users ready, we just couldn’t launch right. And when that happened, we started go back to the drawing board. So that okay, if the central bank is not going to be open in order to allow this immediately, how, what do we do? What kind of product do we build out? And that’s actually, in hindsight, that’s one of the best thing that happened to us. Because at that one time, he said that, okay, let’s focus on the trading and exchange side. But while doing that process, we realize that okay, trading in exchange, and traders are just a very, very small set of the entire ecosystem. When we are looking at retail investors, they are looking for simplification of a lot of things. And the problems that we saw people were facing in India are the same problems that people are facing world over globally, right. So we decided to, instead of building out an India focus product, just scale it up and do it slightly more globally. Now, as a result of that, we reconfigured set up our HQ in Delaware. And with this vision went to Y Combinator. YC, of course, accepted us and so we were part of the Y Combinator 2019 Winter cohort, launched out our our, our alpha version of the product then, and did our first kinds of kinds of our angel round with yc. When we raised 500k, after that did like a seed round in 2020, where we raised sorry, a pre seed round round you will is 250 K, then a seed round, earlier last year in in August 2021. And now we just close the pre series as well. So have like,
Scott D Clary 17:33
results. congratulations. That’s amazing.
Edul Patel 17:38
Thanks a lot, right. It’s actually great to find believers in your vision, who are who are well aligned. And with your close over four years of now executing relentlessly at this problem, one after the other after the other, I think I think that confidence clearly shows a lot of folks.
Scott D Clary 17:56
But are you building? Are you doing a Rubik’s Cube? Smart guy, I wouldn’t be so distracted. I could not do that. Okay, so as you know, you go to yc. And I’m actually curious about this, because, obviously, there’s been a lot of money in the space. And there’s been a lot of companies that are trying to figure it out. And actually, I’m curious as well, because you know, the landscape. When I see crypto and I see crypto companies, I feel like there’s a lot of companies trying to do what you’re doing. But I also feel like a lot of them may have not done it properly. There are security risks. A lot of security risks, you see a lot of hacks, you see a lot of compromises. So first question is, How did you solve for the security component? And then second question, you can answer them in whatever order you want. Really? I’m just curious. How did why see pick you out of probably the million other crypto projects that approached them? Because why see are very smart investors, they’re very smart group. So they don’t, they don’t bet on. I’m assuming like 99% of the crypto projects that probably approached them over the past few years. So speak to that.
Edul Patel 19:06
Okay. So so let’s let’s actually take a step back and first talk about what Madrid’s does and, and and what are we doing? How are we solving this problem? Right?
Scott D Clary 19:15
So how are you different to it than others? Okay,
Edul Patel 19:18
so So when we talk about the world of investing, the entire world invests in broadly three kinds of products. On the one end, there is the fixed income product, which is like the savings account in your bank that you know, gives you protection of capital, but a small interest yield on top right, like, for the US, that’s close to zero, but for the rest of all there is there is still some amount of bank savings that you can get, right? That that’s that’s typically where the most number of users in the world like everyone has a bank account, everyone gets a small yield. And everyone is sort of happy with like, okay with that, like not really happy but okay with that. Then the second kind, which actually has the most number of users and the most number of AUM He’s the market linked returns kinds of products, which means that you are putting in money in index funds and mutual funds that are growing as the market grows. And of course, they fall as the market folds. Right. And then on the other end, there is a third side, which is the market hedged products, which are essentially hedge funds that only the ultra rich have access to. And that part is something that a lot of people aspire to get to, but never can because either they don’t have the financial limitations, or are there are some investment amount requirements, or to be honest, those products are very sophisticated for the average retail investor, where the average where the job of HR is actually to reduce your risk, while maintaining returns, mutual funds owners will continue to just give you returns along with the risk with it, right? So broadly, that’s the spectrum of investing. Right? And and if you if you think of how most of the current crypto companies are positioned, that they are saying that come in and buy bitcoin come in and buy Aetherium covenant by Solana and so on and so forth, right, which is effectively like saying, come in, buy Apple stock covenant, buy Google stock come in buy Facebook stock, and like it’s very well understood now over the, over the last 40 5060 years of of investing landscape that that’s, that’s grown, that single stock picking is actually the worst thing that you can do, like the best thing that you can do is investing in a diverse index, doing that regularly and letting that money compound, right. And, and effectively, what we are saying is that, if this is the largest this market link products is the largest bucket. So what are their what we’re looking for is some kind of structure products that users can invest in. And effectively those structure products is what the ex has built. So to give you an example. Typically, a ton of people invest in the s&p 500, like the s&p 500 is the most invested index in the world. And an SMP 500 is basically a simple rule that says that, pick the top 500 stocks, weigh them by market cap and put in your money in that vintage or in the top 500 ones. What we’ve done is we’ve created a similar basket for crypto called as crypto blue chip, which are the top five crypto tokens by market cap in proportion to market cap, we call this a coin sight. Just like there is the s&p 500 There might be a letter bank bank index that just talks about banks that you will invest in right, we’ve created a similar defy index on the x, there might be a farmer index on NSE that are on the NASDAQ that you might want to invest in the previous similar farmer basket of index. So what we’ve done is that we’ve created these baskets that make it very easy for you to invest. So now when you come to Google actually no longer click on and say that I want to buy bitcoin, you say that? Okay, I want to invest in crypto in general. And if I want to invest in crypto in general, the new crypto stars or crypto blue chip are the baskets that I should invest in. Or you say that I believe that Metaverse is going to be the next big thing in crypto. So there is a Metaverse basket that you pick and choose that you invest in, right. Once you do this, once you do this, the first thing that you do is you remove the overhead of decision making from the user and and very few people understand this. But the reason why retail investors hate doing stock picking is because they need to go back and decide every single time whether it’s the right time to enter is the right time to exit is the right time to rebalance. And let’s be honest, most people don’t have that ability. And if you look at one term that’s very popularly thrown around in crypto, it’s called as byo or do your own research. Like, come on, guys. Let’s be serious. If someone had the ability to do their own research and invest everyone would be millionaires, right? Like the fact that
Scott D Clary 23:39
that’s that’s exactly that’s the gatekeeper into crypto. And that’s what’s stopping you know, your grandmother from
Edul Patel 23:44
Exactly, exactly. And that’s why once you once we simplify and create these baskets, you now no longer need to do the research of other tokens behind it. What what do you need to do is directionally make a decision like and at the end of the day, picking all stocks is broadly just placing a bet your direction to take a decision whether crypto is going to go up or not. Metaverse is going to go up or not NFT is going to go up or not. And then accordingly, place your allocation that everything is good. Rex takes care of at the back end, we rebalance them on a monthly basis, we make sure that the right tokens come in and the right tokens, wow. And the best part is the custody of all the tokens is always in your wallet. So it’s not like we are pulling money ticketing and taking it and putting it in our account and then doing all the transactions here. All the tokens are always in your custodial wallet that we have with Nadex. So that part actually makes the entire journey super super seamless.
Scott D Clary 24:36
So that’s the security part two, if so, correct. Okay, I understand. So people are actually owning and holding their own tokens. So when they make an investment, they’re actually purchasing those tokens. So they have like the keys to those tokens that are sitting in their wallet.
Edul Patel 24:53
They don’t have the keys to those tokens directly. The tokens themselves are stored custodial Lee in the background they can access them via a username and password deposit and withdraw it anywhere, you as a user, because those challenges are also significant challenges like the reason why my grandma can’t invest is where she doesn’t understand what the fucker password or a secret key is that you put into to get access to your Aetherium wallet right like those user interface challenges are are problematic. So, so those are some of the problems that that we are trying to re try to solve and say that okay, this is the first product that we started with in this bang in the middle, which is market linked products. And from here we want to venture out either side. On va on the one end, we are launching a new product called is called as Model X Model X interest account, which is similar to block phi Nexo. But instead of actually giving money to centralized entities at the back, we use all the power of defy all the power of good farming all the power of of of yield accruals over there, and have packaged a product that will try and give users 14% interest across all their Kryptos. So if you’ve got BTC, you will get 14% interest on your BTC value, add them with a 14% interest on Aetherium value. All interest accrues on a daily basis directly into your Midrex crypto wallet, and anything that that can sell via a large game changer in parallel on the market hedged side we are working with large institutional clients and you know, family offices and agencies to try and help them figure out how they can invest in crypto without the risk of crypto. And over there we are working on a separate project and product with our in house quantity that tries to give you Bitcoin returns at 1/4 the volatility of Bitcoin so, so effectively, that’s how we see the landscape of of investing. That is market. There’s not a fixed income market linked to market, hedged, fixed income and market linked are broadly what all of retail is after we started with market link. That’s that product has essentially exploded, we’ve been growing at about literally about 100% month over month, since the last eight, nine months that that product has been out in life. And then of course, this new fixed income product is you know, poised to grow even faster.
Scott D Clary 27:04
So but still, so So walk me through the experience with yc. So how did you how did you, you obviously you differentiate yourself in major ways, but there was still probably a massive amount of due diligence that YC did. And the reason why I just think it’s so interesting is because I know a lot of crypto companies, and I know a lot of them aren’t going through YC, right. They’re raising money alternative methods, like they’re not going to traditional seed like you, you lived in this landscape. So you know, all the different funding methods that people have gone through to try and raise money for their companies. So how did you get into yc? And also, why did you choose to go this route? Because I’m sure you could have found money other places too.
Edul Patel 27:40
Okay. So you know, let’s just, just let’s just roll back and imagine the time period that we were in, right. So when we applied to yc. This was August 2018. So four or five months after the BTC crash, when everyone who had come in into crypto was already wiped out what we call now as the winter the crypto last crypto winter was was completely there, the Ice Age started to come in and everything was frozen over. And and we just launched our product, right. And we weren’t speaking to individual users. And every user that we spoke to, and like our first 100, our first 1000 users were literally individuals that we spoke to on Discord channels on Reddit groups, where we saw what they were, what issues they were facing, message them and saying that, hey, this seems like a problem that we can solve. Why don’t you come and try out their accent, give us feedback, and so on and so forth. About 90% of those first 100 users the reply that they would give us is how why do I trust you? Why are you not a scam?
Scott D Clary 28:46
Yeah. Yeah, it is because there’s so many scams and yeah, later on investment plus, plus crypto, it’s like people it’s like red flags going up everywhere.
Edul Patel 28:56
Exactly. Right. And investment and crypto and that is this new startup that a bunch of guys staying far away from me are doing and like it’s it’s all very weird, right? And this is August 2018 When ICOs were crashing day after the other and there was scams everywhere. And unsalvageable, right? So so we realize very early in our journey, that at the end of the day, when you’re asking someone to invest in a product that you’ve created, basically what you’re saying them, what you’re saying to them is, Hey boss, listen, trust me, I will take care of your money. So at the end of the day, you’re not in the investing business, you’re actually in the business of building trust, and anything in everything that you can do to build more and more and more trust with your client and with your with your customer that will help them build more confidence in what you’re doing. And as a result will help them invest more in which case you will be able to help them grow their wealth more and get them to financial independence faster. Right? So, so the game at the end of the day is that you need to build trust. Now, trust, unlike most other things in life, can’t be built with money is extremely long term to build and extremely easy to lose, right? And the only way even really build trust is by a providing a world class experience. Be affiliating with entities that other people trust. And, and see, of course, making sure that you are consistent, reliable, transparent, and you know, all of the other base readers. So, so the first thing that we wanted was that if for people to trust us, we very quickly realized that if people had to trust us, that needed to be some large entity that they trust in general, we shouldn’t be affiliated with them. And as a result, we applied for, you know, YC, and TechStars, and multiple of these accelerators. Now, the product that we were building and the kind of team that we had, were so unique to just to give you a background, I told you, for me, this was my, like, this was my fourth startup, right? I have three other co founders. And actually, this was their second, third or fourth startup as well. And, and all of them come from a very rich history of building consumer tech products in India and globe. For example, my CTO Alankar, he was a he used to work in the security team, and in the infrastructure team at Twitter, help scale that up, came back to India started a credit lending startups scale that up, sold that business started, and then started moving next, my VP of defy and my VP of engineering roids, and prints, both of them has started multiple startups in the past. So like we came, became like, really tier one pedigree. And that, of course, help apply for YC the product and our approach. And and our vision was very unique and very different from most other people were doing. And as a result, also that have applied it. And for us, it was a win win, right? Because once you get affiliated with YC we get a trust. And effectively, that label saying that Y Combinator back metrics essentially solves for most of the trust problems. So so just to anecdotally tell you it’s true. Yeah, I just anecdotally, to tell you, before getting into YC, as I said, 90% of people who tell us, are you scamming me, what is the guarantee that you will not run away with my money, after getting into YC 90% of people were actually more than willing to try the product. Awesome, give us feedback, because they clearly saw that, okay, these guys are doing trying to do something cool. So the mentality completely changed. And that phase transition, I think, I think was the most important thing that happened for us, we could now suddenly rub off the trust of YC into everything that we will do. And that is smart.
Scott D Clary 32:18
I just want to take a second to thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. And as a leader, you’re always on the lookout for more ways to arm yourself with knowledge, the books, the seminars, and most importantly, the podcast and help you make the best possible decision for you, your company, your customers, because when you know more, you can apply more. And you can grow with HubSpot CRM platform, you can store, track, manage and report on all the tasks and activities that make up your relationships with customers. With a bird’s eye view over all your customer interactions. HubSpot empowers your decision making like never before. So you can give your business and your customers all the good you’ve got learn how to make your business grow email@example.com. Very, very smart. Now, even after you get the trust in YC, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of money flowing into crypto. And obviously you still have to differentiate yourself. So how did you differentiate yourself and sort of stand out? Because you have the trust that people who know about you? But how do you stand out? And how do you attract new users that are early crypto adopters that are just purchasing individual stocks or coins per se? Like that’s like how do you target the and how do you attract the people that aren’t comfortable crypto, and how do you educate them and convert them over into investing in these in these buckets? Correct strategies.
Edul Patel 33:41
So to be honest, till last till about November, we weren’t doing any marketing, like, we got to about 85,000 users with $0 in marketing spend almost every single one of them coming in via reference, or via a lot of the content initiatives we did. So we clearly understood two things are important. Firstly, a phenomenally good user experience was important. And if that coupled with steady, consistent, safe way of, you know, growing your wealth, what happened with users, they will automatically refer people, right? Because investing has, if you if you go back and think about it, investing has always been social, like you learn about which stocks you invest in because your friends are talking about it right? Or someone is saying that I invested your or I invested in this mutual fund, or your uncle tells you that this is this is what I’ve been doing with my money, and so on and so forth. So investing has always been usually always been social. And people talk about the products that that they use if those products help them out. So our first focus was always making sure that our product needs to be really Rockstar so that our users really love their experience. So they go out and tell their friends about us. So about half of the users that we acquired till date are purely through referrals that people tell their friends have About us. And that’s how we got this large organic spread. And the second thing that we worked really hard on was, as you rightly said, educating people about crypto about investing, and so on and so forth. So we’ve created our own our own blog series called as Midrex Academy where we began to sort of showcase and highlight what what should be your investing journey, we’ve done, I think, now close to 100 YouTube videos, where we partner with different different different YouTube influencers, and we work with them to create content. By the way, none of those like, at least none till October, we’re actually paid content, those influencers agreed to work with us simply because they loved the product that we were making. And they were they decided to work on like a referral basis where they said, Okay, if if someone joins using my link, I’ll get like a referral commission. But otherwise, it’s completely fine and no money exchanged, right. So. So all of that was was really critical. While we were, you know, ramping up. But now that we’ve got the product, we know, we’ve got great product market fit. And I know we’ve got great product market fit because we work really, really high retention, like 95 or 95% of users who use metrics in month one, end up coming in month two, and month three, and so on and so forth. So that that’s really great. Our our user acquisition costs are really low, our signup rates are really high. So now that we’ve got that part, we are now really pushing the pedal hard. And I think the first place that we are going back is going back to the same philosophy with the Digi join Y Combinator, we are saying that if we want people to invest in us, we would want to go to places that they trust. And today, people trust YouTube channels that they follow. They trust Twitter influencers that they follow. They trust communities that they are a part of. So we are working with YouTube influencers with Twitter, influencers, communities, they are a part of, to do kinds of giveaways to educate the to educate the community to tell them about our product and scale up from there. So that’s our, that’s our approach right now.
Scott D Clary 36:55
No, I’m looking at so I’m looking at the site as we chat. And I just find that the even like the onboarding, and like finding portfolios, and like the little questionnaires that you do, it’s very, very much in line with what I usually experienced when I’m trying to figure out like my risk tolerance for like, a traditional stock picking or bucket picking tool. So like the you the UX user experience is very similar. So it makes it very comfortable.
Edul Patel 37:22
In fact, this actually this last month, we launched a Portfolio Manager product as well, that are occasional Portfolio Manager, Portfolio recommender product where you come in, you literally just fill out a four question questionnaire, and then we give you some suggestions, that, okay, based on this, your risk profile is this. And as a result, these are the products that will suit you best. So why don’t you try them out. And and it’s, it’s, you know, the smaller things like this. To give you another example, one of the other things that we do to build trust, and this is something that we’ve realized off late is that no matter how seamless a journey you make, some amount of human touch always helps. So as a result of that we organize almost six webinars every single week, across different different time zones, where there is a representative from Utrecht trying to help people out and help them get get getting on a call answering questions about crypto, about investing about these baskets with our users. And apart from that we’ve got a one on one help service as well called as mudrick Select where if you’ve if you’ve done your onboarding journey, and you’re looking for places where you want to invest in or you’re not really sure how to get started, we help you out. And people as young as 15 year olds, too, as old as 78 year olds have used that service. And and that’s how we’ve got them on board. Sorry, sad. So I think all of these small, small things, you know, that we’ve done, have have really helped us scale out the product.
Scott D Clary 38:48
Amazing. And I’m curious because you’re living it and you’re in it so much when you look at all these new, I guess asset classes, but also like if I if what I mean by asset classes, that’s maybe not be the right term, but you have like you have crypto and then you have like web three projects. You have defy projects. You have Metaverse projects, you have NFT projects. Do you feel like and this is probably something like you know, this is more of a personal question. Do you feel like these will all maintain the same momentum or do you feel like Metaverse is going to maintain the same Metaverse investment and projects are going to maintain the same momentum as NF T’s and they’re gonna maintain the same momentum as crypto and like there’s so many different things like that even you’ve captured on on on Midrex but that people can now put their money into it’s it’s becoming a different set of confusing right because if you think about it it’s almost like when you are investing in stock buckets and you invest in different groupings of stocks, right like and you can invest in tech stocks you can invest in, like you know, global stocks or or North American and you can set your risk tolerance but There’s so many things now. So do you see them all being around in the next 10 years? Like not even just profitable? But do you see like Metaverse always being a thing, and FTS always being a thing that our people are going to invest in? Or do you see this to be more of like a it’s relevant now. It’s, it’s something that’s hot now. But in five years from now, we’re just going to be really focused back on crypto again. Is it something that’s short term or long term as well? So
Edul Patel 40:32
So I think the theme will stay, but the players will change. So NF T’s will be there, but but the current projects doing NF T’s might change, right? Metaverse will be there. But the current popular projects in Metaverse will change. And in fact, I shouldn’t say might, they will most likely change because such as life, right? Like, like 90% of companies that were in the s&p 520 years ago on that day, of course. And that’s the reality. Having said that the s&p 500 Is that and which is which again goes back to our argument of why thematic baskets are important, because like a basket had to bet in an idea and not a particular project, right. So the constitute of that, of that basket might continue to change over time, but the idea still remains. So Metaverse as a sector will continue to grow NFT as a sector will continue to grow. But whether the individual constituents of NFT and Metaverse will grow or not, that that’s of course, dependent on what those individual projects and are doing was that lifecycle, how is competition and and so on and so forth.
Scott D Clary 41:33
So you would always mess with me is I understand the utility of crypto, I understand the utility of web three projects and even some defi projects there can be like actual utility. When I look at Metaverse, I can see utility as well. Actually NF T’s in particular, I find that it’s hard to tie utility to NF TS like It’s like even more of it, maybe you can speak to some projects that you’ve seen that are counter to what I’m saying because I’m sure there are some and I know that for example, like okay, we’re just going to use like cliches like like Gary Vee is is very big on NF Ts and he speaks a lot about how you tie like NF T’s to like actual tangible, like events that you you know, I think if he sells an NF T, he gets people who buy that NF t get access to his conference, for example. So there’s like an actual tangible thing tied to it. But I see a lot of NF T’s are more like an art market. Right. So there isn’t a lot of tangible items tied to it. Do you feel like that could be a detriment to to the growth of of NFT’s in particular? Or do you feel like more NF T projects are starting to try and find ways to actually tie a tangible valuable item to the purchase of artwork.
Edul Patel 42:44
So I genuinely think we haven’t even scratched the surface of what NF T’s are, let’s find for a second just talk about what what what an NF T is right? Like, as the name suggests, non fungible tokens means that it’s a token that’s unique. And and if you look at our real world, there are actually more things that are unique than there are generic, right? Like, for example, the books that you have behind you are fairly unique. Like the property that you own is fairly unique, the phone that you understand unique, and for that matter, your resume is fairly unique, like your identity and your status hierarchy in your, let’s say, organization is fairly unique. And all of these things are fairly unique. And today, the only unique things that we’ve got sort of set up and got ready in the NFT world, essentially art. So we just literally look at one small part that actually doesn’t affect the vast majority of people. So let me let me give you an example of how people are thinking about NF T’s. So there is a there’s a friend of mine who’s building a project out in the Dow tooling space. Well, by that what I mean is that they’re helping Dows figure out how should they get their contributors to work together? And one interesting idea that they are working on is that how can they create an NFT resuming of everyone, which means that it’s an on chain resuming that has these 15 different properties. And let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, simplicity, let’s say that, on that resume, there is a property that says tech, and in that tech part, you have some skills for Python, some skills for Java, some skills for front end, and so on and so forth. So they’re trying to figure out a way is how can we create this resume using NFT rewards that individual Dows can give to their to their contributors, and scale up from there. So effectively, how do you can sort of attribute unique properties unique contribution that you give, get that on chain, and make sure that that’s submitted and stays there? So from the NFT specific perspective, I think we are literally just scratching the surface. And as time progresses, all the things that we felt were unique goods or services in the real world will probably We continue to move towards, we’ll probably continue to move towards the the internet and the digital world via this route. Now, of course, a lot of these might become completely useless. For example, a ticket to a conference can be made into an NFT. But once the converse is done that NFT is basically useless, right? What are you going to do with a with a ticket stop? And that’s perfectly fine. Right? So so as a result, what how does that NFT have long term value is a separate problem. And things like art do have long term value, things like a particular project that you did for a particular company on your resume does have long term value, but tickets to a conference does not and we should be okay with that. That different different purposes for it.
Scott D Clary 45:42
But I think what’s interesting was, I always found the tokenization of things to make sense tokenization of unique IP to make sense. But then it seemed like NFT became synonymous with art for some strange reason, just because like you’re saying it was like the first iteration of NFT. It’s just scratching the surface. But there’s so many other ways that tokenizing something so that it can be transferred and not duplicated and tracked can be a very useful mechanism. Absolutely, if you 100%. But I just, I just, I thought it was strange that there was blockchain companies that were trying to tokenize different things records, like all these different items, like fixing supply chain issues and whatnot, like through tokenization of data points, almost. And then it just turned into like, a bunch of artwork, which is just straight. Yeah, well,
Edul Patel 46:30
think of it think about this, right. pets.com went bust in 2099. But there are there is an entire gamut of online pet companies now that are thriving and growing rapidly, right? So it’s not necessarily that the first iteration should work out, right. Like it’s the attempts that people are trying to do. And that’s why this space is so so hot, right? Like, the smartest minds of our generation today are saying that the world and how are essentially coming back and saying that how the world has evolved over the last 300 400 500 years, fundamentally needs to change if you want to move more and more and more towards the internet. And web three is all about capturing, attributing and transferring value for the value that individuals are trying to create, whether that be the value created via service, whether that be the value created by our good or whatever. And, and crypto and blockchain truly opens that space up, right? That’s why it’s very unique. And that’s why it’s, like inherently attractive to so many smart people. I just and it just continues from there.
Scott D Clary 47:33
And last question on this. As you see all these different categories and sections like we see like NFT, and defy and crypto and web three and metaverse. Are there any sectors that are not popular yet that you’re that you you found? Like what is the future evolution of some of these? Some of these sectors that may not be categorized yet that the EU in particular are excited about? Because they’re so new? Is there something that we haven’t heard of?
Edul Patel 47:59
Okay, so like, and again, this is another conversation that I was just having last week with a friend of mine. See, one one very interesting sector that I really like, is that is how are you getting people together and getting them to work, right? Like all of crypto is essentially communities coming together working on a small problem solving that problem. And moving ahead to the next problem, right? Like that’s basically all of crypto is, which means that in the traditional role, we had companies, now we had communities. Now if this analogy is true, in the traditional world, we had tech agencies help out companies with their tech, we had marketing agencies help our companies with their marketing, we had HR agencies help out company with their HR, we had payroll agencies help our company’s payroll, right. And if all of these kinds of SaaS services were built out around companies to help them either serve their employees or their customers better, I expect all of this to get recreated in the in the community side as well, right? Because at the end of the day, the problems remain the same. There’s the nature in which they are executed change. So communities today need help with how should they get their contributors to contribute more communities need help in terms of keeping their users sticky communities need help in terms of outreaching to their users in kind of sort of an on chain web without having an email address attached or associated with them. Right. And, and I think this web three SAS effective cancer registry is now just going to get kick started off, because I think we’ve now reached like a critical mass of communities and Dows where it starts to make sense for me to build businesses and tools that help contribute and improve the kinds of towns and communities that are and I think the next couple of years will actually be we will actually end up seeing a lot of companies come out in this space. That will help
Scott D Clary 49:47
out smart very smart, okay. I want to do some rapid fire to close off just to pull out your experience but before we pivot, any closing thoughts on on, you know, on Midrex on where you want to Get the company the vision. And also, where can people connect with you go find out more about the company, all the links, websites, social all that.
Edul Patel 50:09
Yes, so we are on wordpress.com. It’s fairly straightforward M UDRP x.com, you can find us on Twitter on LinkedIn with basically the same name, I personally can be reached out on edu I like to drugs.com. And if and what what we will do is after this call, we will also share like a referral link with you guys. So anyone who’s rising, we get like $25 credit on itself. So that should help out. And of course, we’re actually doing a lot of things, especially in the investing space. And we want to make this better. And we rely on user feedback a lot, so So any, anyone wants to give feedback that will always be great. And I am actually directly accessible to all our users that use that go from my name to all our users, when users get on boarded. So feel free to reply to that. It’s always me at the other end, getting back to you.
Scott D Clary 50:56
Good, very good. Okay, so let’s do a couple rapid fire. Biggest challenge that you’ve overcome in your own personal and professional life, what was that? How did you overcome saying no to things saying no? Okay, that’s smart. Why is that explain?
Edul Patel 51:10
When you like very early on, I realized that like, like, like most other partners, and then folks, you just want to try and do more and more and more and more and more things, right. But eventually realize that when I’m trying to do more and more and more and more things, none of the things that I’m taking up, I will try and do to the fullest extent possible. So realize that if I start saying no to some of these things that I don’t care about right now, or that are not urgent right now, then I can focus on things that actually do really matter. And take things off from there. And that I think, has been really, really hard to do it because because the allure of saying yes to something is so so high, that it is difficult to go back at all and say, Okay, this is what we’re not doing right now. So let’s focus on just this and move ahead from here.
Scott D Clary 51:58
Very good. If you had to choose one person, there’s obviously been many, but pick one person who’s been a major impact in your life. Who was that? And what did they teach you?
Edul Patel 52:08
Yeah, this is a tough one. But but but but I would say that, in my previous company, I used to work very closely with a colleague of mine. While I was head of product, he was our CTO. And he really helped me out a lot. And and it was mostly just conversations and one on ones that helped that have helped Gonzalo shape my worldview today, and have been instrumental in in helping me get to where I am as
Scott D Clary 52:39
if you had to pick a book or podcast, something that’s been influential in your life, what would it be? Oh, so
Edul Patel 52:47
So the book Influence I think comes first is a book by Robert Cialdini. And effectively, that’s, that’s my guide, that book has given me guiding a set of guiding principles of essentially operating in life broadly, that these are like the five, six things that you can do to work with. But there are there are a whole ton of books that that I really love. I enjoy reading books. And another one that I really like is Thinking Fast and Slow by David Cameron and the entire the entire philosophy around Prospect Theory and everything around it is so fascinating, that that’s helped me become a better person and hopefully a better product manager and a person who listens to us his thoughts.
Scott D Clary 53:30
If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Edul Patel 53:34
Be patient I think I think patience is is is something that it’s a long drawn virtue to it. But be patient is a something that I’ve definitely done.
Scott D Clary 53:48
And last question, what does success mean to you?
Edul Patel 53:55
I think just at the end of the day, going back home and being happy, like I think I am pretty successful right now because I’m gonna go on pretty happy
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