Collection of Success Stories highlight: BanQu – Blockchain digital identity providing dignity!

Ashish Gadnis CEO and Founder of BanQu.

As part of the BEGIN project, UIIN has interviewed Ashish Gadnis, a serial entrepreneur, and CEO & founder of BanQu, a for-profit for-purpose company based in Dallas, United States. BanQu is an SME, founded in 2015 that operates in the supply chain. The company has the goal to give dignity to the poorest people in rural areas, who are generally invisible to the final consumers and financial institutions, by providing them with a digital identity and a digital record of their work and by guaranteeing an equal remuneration of their work.

To achieve this goal, BanQu uses an Enterprise Ethereum Blockchain software as a service platform to connect the ‘first to the last mile’ of the supply chain. Every bank, entity, or farmer is linked to a node of the blockchain. Being the platform integrated with local currencies and using mobile banking solutions, it enables the service users, and especially the most fragile stakeholders of the supply chain, to be fairly remunerated for their work and to gain a track record of their economic transactions. Having proof of financial records enables the ‘first mile’ of the supply chain to open bank accounts, ask for loans, being able to prove their economic identity.

In the interview, UIIN focussed on the challenges and key success factors that Ashish encountered in his every day-to-day business, as well as in the implementation of the technology in his business model. Ashish pointed out that there is general misinformation about what blockchain is, and that the technology is often misunderstood with cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the technology received several pushbacks from large companies that feared being fully transparent. Blockchain enables full transparency. Certain companies fear to be fully transparent as they are aware of issues, such as child labour, in their supply chain, but they do not act against it. One last barrier that Ashish pointed out consisted in biases and distrust of investors of having the interest of less fortunate people at heart.

During the interview, Ashish also pointed out factors that were key to his success. This included the ability to take a ‘no’ and move on to the next investor. During his entrepreneurial journey, he met with over 150 investors for his company, and most of them thought that his company was an unprofitable idea.

Finally, Ashish mentioned that it is important not to try to make everything perfect. It is a matter of having an idea, prototyping, scaling, and improving your idea upon feedback, and finally, having a clear mission, problem-statement, and business model and being supported by an experienced team.

Article authored by Mario Ceccarelli.

Image Retrieved by the interviewee’s LinkedIn profile.