Episode 142 / November 7, 2021

The rise of Crypto in India ft. Ashish Singhal, Founder, CoinSwitch

40 min

Episode 142 / November 7, 2021

The rise of Crypto in India ft. Ashish Singhal, Founder, CoinSwitch

40 min
Listen on

“Don’t be afraid of failure. Always optimize for success, but be prepared for failure.” – Ashish Singhal.

In today’s episode, we’ve brought Ashish Singhal, Founder & CEO of CoinSwitch, to talk about their journey globally and how they’re shaping the narrative around crypto in India.

Recently, CoinSwitch, caught people’s attention when they used the entire front page of The Times of India to simply wish Happy Diwali, bringing back the pure festive joy, instead of bombarding users with bumper-sized Ads and unrealistic offers like 100% cashback and more.

CoinSwitch currently has more than 13 million+ users, with more than 55% of their users coming from Tier 2 and 3 cities.

Last month, they raised over $260 million in its Series C funding round from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coinbase Ventures, and existing investors. With this, American venture capital firm a16z made its first investment in an Indian unicorn.

During the episode, Ashish talks about the problem-statement CoinSwitch is after, how they are giving an initial flavor of crypto to first-time investors with referrals, and much more.


Notes –

01:40 – Background prior to CoinSwitch

05:33 – Hackathons and starting CoinSwitch

08:39 – Growing globally and launching in India

12:17 – Choosing the right investors for their journey

15:49 – Success of the pre-launch campaign in India

17:19 – Simplifying the crypto-investing experience

29:57 – Current scale on platform

33:14 – “Users always come first, business comes second.”


Find the transcript below.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:01

Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia, welcome to the 100x Entrepreneur podcast today, I have with me Ashish Singhal, Co-Founder and CEO CoinSwitch Kuber, Coinswitch Kuber transformed how Indians invest in cryptocurrency, a lot of credit to them for making cryptocurrency mainstream in India, also it is the first company to be backed by a16z in India. Welcome Ashish, to the podcast.

Ashish Singhal 00:24

Thanks Siddhartha for inviting me.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:27

Ashish would love to know your journey before you started CoinSwitch. You dabbled into entrepreneurship, what were your lessons, what things worked, what didn’t work?

Ashish Singhal 00:37

Sure. So let me quickly give you a brief on who I am. And you know, what my journey has been, like, born and brought up in Meerut, did my computer science grad from NSIT Delhi. Right after that joined Amazon and worked there for four years, built a lot of products there. A lot of tech, one important, you know, aspect and all that was Amazon one hour delivery, which was a Jeff project. So Jeff Bezos himself picked like 20 people out of Amazon, put them in a room and give them an impossible task to do. And I was leading that team for Prime one hour delivery launch, which most of us are so used to now of that delivery aspect. But that was very new back in 2014-15, when we launched. After Amazon, I went on to start my company called Urban Tailor, which is helping create an Uber for tailors around giving users the best fit garments at the convenience of their home. The idea didn’t pan out the way we thought, there were a lot of operational issues, a lot of quality issues, we couldn’t create the quality spectrum that we wanted in the company, and we shut down in 2016, I joined livspace after that worked there for one year, building a lot of home interior, you know, design tools. 2017 was when I started Coin Switch. And you know, so far, the journey has been really fulfilling. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout this career is that, you know, don’t be afraid of failure. Right? Always, you know, optimize for success, but be prepared for failure. I think that is one thing that has always pushed me to do more, to do better, because failure is one thing that we all are afraid of ultimately, right. But once you kind of rationalize that, once you see beyond failure, that you know, it’s not the end of the world, what is the worst that can happen? And be prepared for the worst, but always optimize for your success. I think that has been one key constant throughout my career, be it leaving Amazon, be it you know, failing at a startup or starting another one right? So that has always pushed me to get higher and be better every single day.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 03:00

How did your interest in cryptocurrency start? When was this?

Ashish Singhal 03:05

It started back in 2013. When I read the Bitcoin white paper, I still don’t remember how I stumbled upon it. Maybe through Reddit and other places. But once I read it, it kind of opened up the entire financial ecosystem to me, being an entrepreneur, being an introvert, I always thought that, you know, the finance industry is kind of a closed ecosystem where only the participants could innovate and anyone coming from outside has no value add to that industry. But by reading the Bitcoin white paper, I understood that, you know, the financial tech can be opened up and can be made based on code rather than people. And that’s what excited me towards Bitcoin. It was very hard in 2013-14 to get into crypto, I started running a node for Bitcoin validation, then, you know, got my first Bitcoin in 2015 started trading it, and then over time, got my interest completely aligned with the crypto world. And in 2017, then we started CoinSwitch.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:14

And what made you start Coin switch? What was the gap in the market that you were seeing?

Ashish Singhal 04:20

So just to give you a little background into us a bit more, which helps you relate to why we started CoinSwitch. So we are hackers. So all three of us have been friends for 14 years, the founders. right. From day one of college, we have been hackers, any hackathon in India that you can think of we would have won it, including Sequoia Hack, Google Code for India, LinkedIn. And the idea of funds which actually started as a hack, which later grew to what it is today. We started with a very simple problem that we were ourselves facing. Price of a crypto was varying across exchanges. There were tons of exchanges in the market, global phenomenon 20% in market, so the price fluctuations kept on happening, It was harder for a trader to get in at the right time, know the best price at any given point in time and convert at that exchange as well, because then you need, you know, accounts across exchanges, be familiar with their UI-UX. So what we thought of building for ourselves is, can we aggregate the data from all the different exchanges and help convert crypto to crypto at the best rate, any given point in time, we made a Make My Trip for cryptocurrency that is helping you discover the best price as well as convert one crypto to another very easily, right? we built it for ourselves back in, you know, it’s late 2016, early 2017, and then made it public within the first six months, realizing that, you know, a lot of users had the same problem. And it kind of just blew up from there. Within a month of our public launch, we were doing million dollars GMV a day, got funded by Sequoia and kind of took that journey from there and, you know, expanded to 160 plus countries doing quite a lot of stuff in between.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:08

And when did your first round of funding happen?

Ashish Singhal 06:12

It happened in late 2017. So, we started this company, when we were still part of Livspace, ran it for a few months, before we decided to actually build a company and start doing it full time. Within the 10 days of us working together, Sequoia approached us, they liked what we were doing, they liked the team. And you know, within a week or so the entire funding happened. And, we partnered with Sequoia and have worked with them for the past three to four years now.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:45

Wow. And any other investors that you got in the first round, any angels that were strategic to you?

Ashish Singhal 06:51

So there were a couple of angels Gautam, who is a great crypto believer, have been in crypto since 2013. And we also have Prashant Malik, part of the journey, we have Ramakant who is the founder of livspace where I was working before starting CoinSwitch and he supported us throughout our journey as well. So, these three Angel Investors also joined us at the start of our journey.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 07:21

And you suddenly came into limelight in 2021, any strategic reasons that you kept a low profile during the first three four years?

Ashish Singhal 07:31

So, since 2017, it was a global product right and we were not operating in India because of the RBI ban itself. So, we grew very rapidly in the other countries, but in India, our presence was mostly unknown. We are not a company who runs after VC money and you know, do a lot of marketing. We started very, very humbly, trying to solve the user problem with no marketing at all for the first three years trying to grow very steadily into the market. In 2020, we almost had over $10 million in profit recorded, but in 2020 something drastic happened when the RBI ban got reverted in India. And at that point, we decided to launch in India because we saw a very big gap in India, what we realized was retail users in India were under-served. Retail users who are used to the experience of swiggy or Zomato. You know, Add to Cart Checkout food is at your home, or, you know, one click cab booking online ordering from Amazon and Flipkart are kind of a force to go to an exchange, Understand complicated graphs, complicated order books to get into crypto. First, crypto is so complex. Now you put that experience on top of it, we assume that people will never get into crypto unless we simplify it. And that’s where we launched Kuber in June 2020, almost 17 months back. And that’s where our real journey began. We paused our global operations to focus totally on India, within the first six months got to over one and a half million users organically, then grew today, about 13 million users in just 17 months, one of the fastest fintech company in India to ever reach that mark, funded by the likes of Anderson Horowitz, coin base, Ribbit and Sequoia, like the the best of the best FinTech leaders in India and around the world.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 09:24

And I believe your subsequent rounds happened very fast. Right. So you continued on that 2 million for three, four years, which you raised from Sequoia in 2017. Can you take through that journey, right, of becoming profitable, as you mentioned, and then raising like very fast subsequent rounds to become today a $2 billion company?

Ashish Singhal 09:48

So I think running a business was always in our DNA, and we always wanted to do right. We never wanted to, you know, just have VC money unless we have product-market fit, we never wanted to invest in that. We wanted to invest in the product itself. We wanted to keep on fighting until we actually solved the user problem. And that ultimately impacted business. Since 2017, after the Sequoia round, we never needed the money because the company became profitable solving the right problems of the user and kind of growing, not the rapid pace that we have seen in Kuber, but kind of steadily growing across. But when we launched Kuber, it kind of just, you know, the target for us for six months was 100,000 users. We, you know, we blew up that target, too. And we reached about, say, 2 million users in the first six months itself. That was kind of a proof that we have hit product market fit, we have hit the right problem, we are solving the right problem for India. And that’s where all our funding rounds happened very quickly. Right. And at that point, the idea was that since we have a product, which is users are recognizing and solving the needs for the users, why not, you know, double down create education around crypto itself, because what we saw in the market was less than 10 million users were part of the crypto economy in India. So the idea was, how do we expand the market itself. And that’s where you see a lot of our campaigns are more toward educating users into figuring out what this crypto ecosystem is about, and whether they want to be part of it or not. And a lot of our funding now goes into creating that education, expanding the market itself.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:30

And can you take through each of those subsequent rounds? And how did that happen?

Ashish Singhal 11:35

Sure. So I think series A was the only round, which was a pull rather than a push, all our funding rounds have been a push where investors came to us and kind of just happened. But you know, getting Ribbit and paradigm was the first time that we had to actually pull them into the company and the company was never in need of money. I think that was a good advantage for us, so that we could choose the right partners in our journey. And Ribbit has been amazing people that I’ve always looked up to, and getting them onboard into the company was hard. But they believed in the crypto vision, they were the first one who backed Coin base in their series A as well. So they knew the risks that they were getting into. They couldn’t find the right team before us in India. But, you know, once we met them, they realized that we could be the team that they can back in India, right. And, and they could really relate to the story of what they have actually seen with Coinbase happening in the US. And they could see that repeating in India through us as well. Right. And that’s why they decided to partner with us. Paradigm. You know, Matt, and Fred, Fred is the co-founder of Coinbase himself. He saw, you know, very similar alignment, what Coinbase had in the US, culturally as well as product wise, we had that in India as well, right. And they decided to partner with us back in December 2020, and that’s how our series A happened. Tiger was very interesting. In February, even the news was out, I think it was about 17th or 18th of February when, you know, Tiger kind of approached us. It went like a breeze. Within a day, we had the signed term sheet, everything ready. And I think the round closed by March, April, and then the next round started. Again, this was not something that we wanted to raise, but kind of, you know, we met the right people and realized that having them in the company could actually benefit, not just the crypto, you know, the system that we have, Coinswitch Kuber, but also the crypto ecosystem in India itself, right. So, talking to Anderson Horowitz and Coinbase, we realized that, you know, what is the depth of knowledge that these guys had, and bringing them on board would be one of the best things that we can do for the company. And that’s how, you know, the last round happened.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 14:02

That’s a fantastic story. So basically, what people see is that in a year, you were able to raise three to four rounds. But what they are not able to see is the depth of the iceberg, which is right, you kept on building it frugally for the last four years, and kept on building internal systems as well as testing it globally. So at what point did you realize that India became a bigger market than the global which you were building for?

Ashish Singhal 14:29

I think within the first three months, we realized that right? Our pre launch was I don’t have the numbers and I might be wrong here. But one of the most successful pre launches in India itself. Within the 12 days that we opened up a pre-launch, we had over 100,000 users signed up before even our product was out, right? That kind of indicated that we have something unique, and once we launched the product iterated on it. Within the first three months, we hit our target which we set out for, you know, even six months. We hit over 250-1000 users in the first three months itself, which kind of told us that the depth in India was much, much higher. The product that we have gotten is not able, not just able to attract the people who are already in crypto, but able to simplify it to such a level that now new people are coming onto the platform at a much, much faster pace. Right. And within those three months, we realize that, you know, we need to focus full attention on the India Business, and we cause our global operations to focus just on India.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:35

But when you entered in 2020 in the Indian market with Kuber, the market was crowded, I think there were more than 30 exchanges in India. How did you differentiate yourself in the user’s eyes? And what gave you insight that you could be different?

Ashish Singhal 15:50

So I think the first thing different about us was that we were building for ourselves, right? We didn’t like the experience of exchanges, it becomes so complicated for our user, like us who’ve been in the crypto market for six years, still find that exchange experience to be too convoluted and too complicated. It’s meant for traders and does an amazing job for traders. But it doesn’t do a good job for our retail users who are used to, you know, swiggy or Uber and kind of Amazon and Flipkart experience, right. And that is where we built the experience for ourselves, the target that we kept for ourselves, can we make it simple enough that our parents can even buy crypto, right. And within a week of our launch, my mother was able to buy crypto through us. I think that was the point, we knew that we had something unique to offer to the users that we have made it simple enough for anyone in every anywhere in India to be able to get into crypto, right. And that was the differentiation that we brought in making crypto, you know, easy making crypto Simple, right? With a click of a button, you can invest with just 100 bucks. Earlier, people used to think, Oh, you need a whole ton of money to be able to get into crypto Bitcoin for 20 lakh or something? How did we, you know, the messaging and the product kind of mash together? rupees 100 bucks kind of became the norm, that you can just start in crypto with 100 bucks, which gave a lot of people kind of, you know, ability to invest into the market to be able to learn about the market with very, very small investment. And the product simplicity helped them get into the crypto ecosystem very easily. Right. So I think these two combined helped us differentiate in the industry and help us get to where we are today.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:39

And how did you go about educating your users?

Ashish Singhal 17:44

So initially, we didn’t have to, because what was happening was, there was a lot of crypto buzz already in the country, although the number of users were less, but people already knew what crypto was. So our target was to get to the people who already know what crypto is. Right? But as we, you know, started to grow. We realize that now we need to expand the market as well, because now more people need to know what this crypto is about, what the new internet is building, whether they want to be part of it, stay on the sidelines or be against it. That is totally up to them. But it’s our job to educate them to help them understand something new which is happening. And do they want to be part of this ecosystem? Right? That’s where we tied up with you know, some of the largest publications like ET, NDTV creating shows about crypto and Kuber is, which is one of the most read blogs Today in crypto in India. We originated from producing content, helping users not just understand what crypto is. But what crypto investment actually means, why the market is so volatile, what different currencies stand for, and how this new asset class is emerging not just in India, but across the world as well. And how is the world looking at crypto assets? Right. So I think creating that education really helped push the boundaries of the market itself.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 19:09

And you brought in Ranveer to be the brand face. How do you go about thinking on these lines? Right, who to bring, who to tie up with, right? And what are some of the organic channels like these are all inorganic channels? What are some of the organic channels that help you read the first 100,000 in India, then 1 million and currently today, The 13 million number?

Ashish Singhal 19:36

So I think let’s first talk about the organic channels, right, because that is the crux of any product. Are you able to grow consistently without spending money? Are your users you know, becoming the champions of your product and they commending your product to other users as well? Right? So, we focus a lot on that, our key factor is almost point four which is one of the one of the best out there, if you look at the numbers of different products out there, right? So the idea was that, can we make it simple for users to get into crypto Plus, once they refer, can we give them 50 bucks into their wallet, and help them invest in the market without actually investing in the market? Right. So even with the 50 bucks, they would come every day, look at Oh, it has become 55, why the prices are growing, they would learn about crypto and finally decide to invest in it. So giving them a flavor of investment, without actually investing in the market was kind of our playbook in our growth, right. I don’t like the word growth hack. But that was actually a growth hack. How we grew so fast, right? Because now, without even investing, people were able to see the market fluctuate. People were able to relate to the market, learn about the market, as their own money is invested into the ecosystem. And referral played a big role. When a friend invites you to something, then you’re already excited about that, you get 50 bucks to play around with. And then through that you can see the market movements and start to learn about the market and realize whether this is a good investment for you or not. Right. So I think that continuously building that funnel, through organic channels kind of helped us initially get to the 2 million plus users. And then obviously, to expand the market, we needed to simplify the messaging, we needed to push it to the mass market itself. And that’s where Ranveer helps. He’s a youth icon. You know, today, most of our users are Gen Z populations, they’ve seen him across his films and admire his work. And that’s where, you know, through his admiration through his relatability is what we want to drive the crypto messages with that it’s simple. There’s a new asset class, which is happening, learn about it, and you can start as you know, low as rupees 100 as an investment.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 22:04

But, you know, it’s also in your messaging that crypto is not very volatile, whereas the currency is extremely volatile. So how do users build their faith in this currency as a long term investor rather than a short day trader?

Ashish Singhal 22:23

So first, I want to put that on record nowhere in our messaging, you would find that crypto is stable. We always say crypto is volatile, it is a volatile market, it is a new asset class, right. So that would be unfair to say that we put up a message where it says it’s a stable currency. But what we say is crypto is building the new internet. Crypto is like investing in a startup, right. And startups are very unpredictable as well. And that’s why volatile as well, if you look at our own journey, we kind of were, you know, under the hood for about three years then kind of blew up in just one year. Right. So it was a volatile journey for us as well. Cryptos are very similar. People around the world are building use cases, building new companies on blockchain, which serves a greater purpose to tomorrow’s Google, Facebook, Microsoft, we believe would originate on blockchain, right and hopefully would come from India, right. And today, retail investors are getting to invest in these new ecosystems, new startups itself. Some of them may fail as the time goes by. But some of them may succeed, as well. So it’s a risky asset class, but high risk high reward is what attracts young users into the ecosystem. And over time, we believe that they would diversify into other asset classes as well and form a more mature ecosystem. And that’s why Coinswitch wants to evolve from a crypto only company to a crypto first company. Today, Crypto is what we are known for. But tomorrow, we want to add mutual fund, stocks, US equities, bonds into our ecosystem, helping user diversify across these platforms and helping them create a better portfolio a better future for themselves, where investing is a big part of their, you know, when they think about money, they not only think about earning more, they also think about investing in the right manner in order to grow and grow in their life.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:20

So is crypto exchange in India, a winner takes all market?

Ashish Singhal 24:28

So it’s not a winner take all I think it’s a couple of winners at the top because ultimately it’s about liquidity, right? So if you have users you have demand and supply. If you don’t have users, you don’t have demand and supply. So ultimately it creates a chicken and egg problem that a new player becomes harder and harder for him to tap into the liquidity because now he doesn’t have the users that he needs to create that liquidity. But we have seen you know, companies like us, companies like FTX kind of renovated the way the supply and demand matches each other, and kind of established themselves, even when the big players existed in the market, right? Binance owns 70% of the liquidity, right? Still FTX became the number two player in the world, you know, because of their innovation because of what they brought to the table. So, this industry is very new, very unique. Ultimately, obviously, there would be few players, which will be doing very, very well. And there would be few players who would try to innovate even further, who those winners would be obviously, only time can tell. But it’s not that, you know, if there are two players at the top, then no other company can innovate and do better and become a top leader in a few years, right? So it’s a very unique industry, where innovation is ultimately what wins the market.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:54

And we have seen in consumer internet, right and today, CoinSwitch Kuber is one of the leaders in consumer internet and investing in India, in consumer internet only, like it’s a duopoly, if not monopoly, right, there is swiggy and Zomato. Ola and Uber. and it comes with a very different DNA. Whereas in the first four years, you had the DNA of a founder who was very profitable and operationally efficient. So how did you switch to the set of DNA, where you are okay with spending huge on customer acquisition, making losses for the long term.

Ashish Singhal 26:36

By the way, we might still be profitable this year. So it’s not that we would not be a profitable company going forward. But the idea was, that switch happened, because now we realize that the market that we are in is much bigger, and it’s needed to expand as well. Sometimes you need to create the market to be able to have better returns and towards right, today, less than 1% of India invest beyond fixed deposits, which is a very sad number to look at, right? If you compare it to US, over 25 to 30% of the people invest beyond their, you know, banking, right? Obviously 401(k) there helps, but in India, that Nature needs to build. In order to grow in your life, you not only just need to earn more, but you need to grow your money. And I think that is what we are trying to change in India. And for that to happen. A lot of education needs to go out, a lot of investment from the companies need to go out before we mature the market to that level, right? We have seen that even in the stock market in the last one year. There’s amazing growth that has happened, right? Not as big as crypto. But it’s amazing to see the kind of growth, other financial products is happening in India as well, right. So, it’s the amount of investments that all of these companies try to put in for the education to grow and to grow the market itself, realizing the need of investments very early in a user’s lifecycle, and how these investments should evolve over the period of time. The goal of coinswitch is to reach 100 million users in the next four years that is a very audacious goal in a FinTech ecosystem, but we believe that through the right investment, we can make that happen, right? So it is more looking out towards that future. And in the next four years, can we create that impact, right, and to create that impact we need to invest today, maybe at a cost of being lost making company. But If we don’t do that today, we would not reach that big goal that we all want to achieve.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 28:48

So currently, as you said, you have 13 million Indian users on coinswitch kuber Right now, which is approximately what we can say if there are like 1% of India’s population?

Ashish Singhal 29:01

About a little less than that. Yeah.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 29:06

Yeah. And what would be the time you predict that you will cross that 1% of India’s population, and then hit the next milestone of crossing the next 10% of India’s population getting them on CoinSwitch.

Ashish Singhal 29:20

So we are very close to 1%. Now, I think India is about 150 cr. So we are about 1.3 cr. So I think within a couple of months, we should be able to reach that 1% mark, but the 10% would be the harder percentage to reach. Although the number might sound small, reaching from 15 to say one 150 million is only 10x. But that is a harder population to reach. Because now we have already gotten a lot of people who know investment, who have at least an affinity towards growing their money. But now we would be targeting the segment who don’t think about investment, investment is not part of their life itself And how do we educate them that investments are good, and diversified? You know, investment is what helps you do better in your life, right? So that would be a much harder and a different journey altogether for CoinSwitch, right. And hopefully, we should be able to achieve a target of 100 million users in the next four years, while providing the right set of education, bringing the right set of users onto our platform.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 30:33

As a founder, how did you grow yourself? Because your company expanded 100x in a matter of one year?

Ashish Singhal 30:44

That’s an amazing question, Siddhartha. As you know, it felt like that every quarter, we needed to step up, there were different responsibilities altogether on our shoulders. When we started, we were playing all the roles together, right, the product Tech, we were the ones who were, you know, designing as well, we didn’t have any designer when we started the journey itself. And over time, the game becomes a delegation, how do you build the right team? How do you get the right folks excited, and you know, give them direction to achieve? What they want to align them to the vision, right. And, obviously, as a founder, get to learn the new qualities on how to manage a team of about 400 which one year ago was just 20 people? Right? So we have, you know, obviously learned from the amazing ecosystem that, you know, today lies in India, right? We are partnered with x to10x to get that information from Binny themselves on building the likes of Flipkart Ola into the country, right. And today, founders are very approachable. They share their struggles with us, they help us rethink on you know, how do we take on the challenges of the next phase of our journey as well, right. So, that is very encouraging to see within the startup community, that people are so helpful, they are ready to share what they have learned by you know, probably failing or experimenting in their own journey so that you can do better. Right. And I think, through that we were able to do consistently better. Obviously, it’s a never ending process. And we’ll keep on going. As the company was, we have to constantly evolve as well, to be, you know, to be good to be able to do the more of the right, less of the wrong, and hopefully, you know, through the the kind of ecosystem that exists in India, we will be able to do that well.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:47

And if you can highlight, like, three bullet points, right, which help you grow, right? What are the things you did differently in the last one year that you expanded?

Ashish Singhal 32:58

Sure. I think first is user obsession, right? So, like that we have learned from Amazon itself. User always comes first. Business comes second, right? So, figure out what are the main problems that your users are facing? And keep on solving them. Don’t reinvent the wheel always start from what solution already exists? But how do you provide a better solution from there, don’t focus on 10 different problems, probably focus on just three main problems of the user and solve them better. And that is one thing that we have consistently done at Coinswitch. Second, there is no growth hack, there is no switch, you can flip that you are today nothing. And tomorrow, you would be everything, you have to work on consistent growth, right, every week, Target, you know, 5% growth. And I think if you’re consistently able to do that, the graph may look smaller, towards the start, but when you look back, you will see what you have achieved throughout your journey. And lastly is again, I would repeat the same thing which I said earlier, don’t be afraid of failing, right? Be optimistic, prepare the best you can for the failures, but always try to succeed in the market, right? So although the failure may look so daunting, the new things that you try to do, may feel like oh, what if I fail in this, but go beyond that fear, rationalize that fear by you know, figuring out what if the worst case happened? What are the circumstances and many of the times we will not even think that you know the failure is so bad. Probably we will learn amazing things from it and do better the next time right. So I think these are the three main things that I keep in mind. Whenever I try to do anything

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 35:01

And if you have to go back to your roots, where would you say you got your own entrepreneurial DNA? Don’t tell me it’s Meerut because I’m also from Meerut. That’s a common link. Right? And has seen many entrepreneurs coming from small towns like Meerut. But I think there are certain, you know, qualities that people are not afraid of failure, or in smaller cities where people have more families into business, does that help?

Ashish Singhal 35:36

It may or may not know, because my family is full of engineers and doctors, so my father’s side is complete doctors, and the only business in my family, so I wouldn’t know if having a business actually helps. I hope it does. But I think where I get my spirit is from my father itself. He has always taught me never to be afraid. Always do things, even if you fail, it’s okay. Right. And I think always, I wanted to create something, even when I was small, I had that feeling. You know, I always, although this may sound like a cliche, but you know, create a dent in the universe, as I think Steve Jobs said that but what he has said always resonated with me. But I think few of the things which kind of changed my life, when I actually got into Amazon, was that, you know, you know, Ben Horowitz books hard things about hard things, was one of the things that kind of changed my outlook toward business, business always used to look very fascinating, where you can earn a lot of money, have a lavish lifestyle, as well, but that kind of gave me the reality check as well. That is the right thing for me, or, you know, for my career, and I felt that, you know, this was something that I was ready for reading a lot of about, you know, startup school from Y Combinator, Paul Graham, you know, essays and videos have always taught me to create something remarkable to create something good for the user. And that has always excited me, right. And that is how I got into what I’m doing today. And what I do every single day, is changing the way people see things, simplifying the things that exist today, and making them better. And if you consistently keep on making them better, one day, you will realize that you have created a change. You have actually created a dent in the universe. And I think that’s what drives me from a very early age in my life.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 37:42

Thank you so much, Ashish. It’s been a pleasure having you on the 100x entrepreneur podcast. Thank you for sharing your insights, your experiences and the journey of CoinSwitch

Ashish Singhal 37:53

Thank you, Siddhartha.


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