For my YouTube channel, I interview top figures in the global AI and Web3 industries. Recently, I had a conversation with a star of the global crypto industry, Nischal Shetty, the founder of the largest Indian exchange, WazirX. You can watch the full interview по ссылке, and there are more exciting guests lined up. So, subscribe to my YouTube channel 🙂
After three and a half years of a successful career as a developer, Nischal launched his first business. Today, he manages three businesses, including India’s largest crypto exchange with over 15 million users, a web3 protocol with 800,000 users in the testnet stage, and a global service for social networks.
During our insightful discussion, he shared how to create products with massive audiences and manage them. I want to share these cool insights with you.
1. Turning a Problem into a Business Opportunity
In 2017, Nischal decided to buy Bitcoin in India, but it took a whole week to complete the transaction – the exchanges were that slow. During this time, the price of Bitcoin soared, and the chance to profit was lost. Realizing there’s a problem in the system, Nischal decided to launch his own crypto exchange so people could trade cryptocurrency quickly and easily and not face similar issues.
Before building the exchange, Nischal decided to check how relevant this problem was for others. He conducted a survey asking if people would use a platform for quick Bitcoin purchases.
The response was overwhelming – tens of thousands of people subscribed to the page, even without having a finished product in sight. This proved the problem was real and needed a solution.
From this experience, Nischal deduced several key principles:
• The product must solve a specific problem.
• The developer should be a user of their own product.
• Ensure that the problem affects a large number of people.
• For long-term growth, it’s crucial that every new user tells their acquaintances about the product.
This is how WazirX was born, now the largest and most reliable crypto exchange in India. As of January 2023, it has over 15 million users, making up half of all cryptocurrency users in the country.
“We reached 1 million users in two years. And then it took just one year to reach 10 million,” says Nischal.
2. Attracting Millions of Users: The “Ego-Temptation-Curiosity” Principle
When Nischal was launching his first startup, he was guided by the “ego, temptation, curiosity” concept, which, in his opinion, can activate word-of-mouth and attract crowds of people.
• Ego: The product should touch the user’s ego, making them proud to be early adopters or part of something innovative.
• Temptation: The product should entice users, offering them a chance to be part of something unique. These could be financial gains, special privileges for pioneers, or other motivators.
• Curiosity: Ignite interest and curiosity by telling about the unique features of the product and the technologies used. Help people see how your product can fit into their lives.
Nischal and his team are developing their new project, the first Layer 1 blockchain in India named Shardeum, based on the same principles. They know that over 30 million people in India are interested in cryptocurrency, but probably less than 1% actually understand what a first-layer blockchain is. Nischal is confident that most would be delighted to become early users of Shardeum.
“If you had a chance to be the first user of Ethereum, would you take it? Most likely yes, but that moment is lost, and it can’t be bought for any money.”
The Shardeum team surveyed 15,000 people, asking if they wanted to be early users of their product. The response was astonishing – 800,000 people joined the project even at the testnet stage. Such a response is a real success, even for mainnet.
3. How to manage Multiple Businesses?
Currently, Nischal manages two major projects: WazirX exchange, used by over 15 million people, and the Shardeum protocol, with 800,000 users in the testnet stage. His multitasking ability is reminiscent of Elon Musk, and he admits being inspired by him.
“I’m nowhere close to Musk, but his ability to motivate and prove that anything is possible inspires me,” says Nischal.
He also developed his own methodology for participating in projects and shares advice on what to focus on.
Understand the stages of project development:
• “From 0 to 1”: At this stage, you’re creating something new. Your task is active participation, managing development, and strategic planning. Just like what’s happening with Shardeum now.
• “From 10 to 100”: At this stage, your project is already known, like WazirX. Your role transitions to that of a strategist, and it’s crucial to trust the team while developing joint development plans together.
• Be accessible to your team. It’s essential that colleagues know they can approach with questions and problems.
• Organize regular meetings to control processes and exchange news.
• Trust the team and delegate the execution of specific tasks. This frees up your time for strategic planning and the ability to manage multiple projects.
• This approach helps transfer ideas and solutions between projects, enriching each one.
Managing multiple projects is an art that requires flexibility and adaptation. The key to success lies in the ability to adapt to the needs of each project at different stages of its lifecycle and support the team at each of these stages.
4. The Importance of Being First in the Market, but Not the Only One
Meta’s Threads project couldn’t live up to expectations, despite the social network’s vast audience (2.9 billion as of August 2023, and 3.5 billion including Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram). The reason behind this failure is Twitter, which had already secured its position in the market niche of communication via threads.
Nischal emphasizes that a monopoly is possible in the world of social networks where connections between users play a pivotal role. However, in the financial world, particularly in the cryptocurrency market, a monopoly is impossible. Global and local banks coexist, offering diverse services, and no single company can monopolize the entire market. The market is so vast that there’s always room for various players, regardless of their size.
This principle is validated in the blockchain market as well. The question of the need for new blockchains in a world where Ethereum and other major projects already exist is explained by the enormous potential market. Considering that the current number of cryptocurrency users is around 200 million and can grow to a billion, new projects like Shardeum have the opportunity to claim their market share.
“The key to competition is not the size of the business, but the speed of attracting new customers,” says Nischal.
Focusing on existing market giants is pointless. The main goal is to attract new users and earn their trust. Users can trust multiple brands simultaneously, meaning there’s always room in the market for several successful players.
5. How to Attract Investors?
Marketing is pivotal in attracting investments for a project. To stand out among competitors and grab investors’ attention, effective marketing strategies are essential.
Don’t waste time – be ready to grab attention from the initial steps of your project. Investors want to see your passion, energy, and readiness for rapid growth. Preparing for scaling and marketing should be as crucial a part of your plan as developing the product itself.
A common mistake among startup founders is focusing solely on the product, neglecting its promotion. Without a proper marketing strategy, even the most innovative product can go unnoticed.
Nischal used to invest heavily in Web2-based projects, but recently his focus has shifted to Web3, where he feels more at home. From his experience, he knows that creating a great product is not enough – it also needs to be effectively sold. Lack of a distribution strategy can be a barrier to success.
“I’ve come across many wonderful projects with fantastic ideas. They had amazing products, but without marketing, they couldn’t take off,” Nischal states.
Therefore, it’s critically important for startups to incorporate marketing into their strategy from the very beginning. This will not only help attract investments but also ensure sustainable growth in the long term.
If you’re aspiring to build a global business and need assistance in promotion, join my webinar “How to launch a business in a new market and achieve success with the help of marketing and digital” and reach out to Creators Agency. We are always ready to help! 🙂