Travel the world like never before? Go places with Scapia

Vikram Vaidyanathan
MANAGING DIRECTOR
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Vikram:

VCs love making the same mistake twice.

Anil:

Founders too I guess. No, for me I think last journey was a great learning journey.

Vikram:

And I think when things didn’t go well the first time around we were able to have very tough conversations very easily and it was just done with the utmost sincerity of purpose and handling all stakeholders. India only 0.2 percent of GDP is spent on travel.

Anil:

There is a lot of things that come together to make a fantastic credit card experience for travellers. Every month typically like I spent talking to about 30-40 folks. I think the first 2-3 months of this journey I just was doing that. People want to explore new destinations, people want to spend that gap year maybe. People want to just learn a lot, absorb new cultures.

I think the next 20 years India is going to see a lot of time and money being spent on things that people value on. this instrument, this card that allows them to go places many ways figuratively and actually really will help them do all of this stuff.

Vikram:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Matrix Moments. Super exciting and special episode for me, I have with me Anil Goteti, founder of Scapia. We’ve been privileged to back Anil again in this startup. I think we’ve been in partnership in Scapia for a year, year and a half now.

Anil:

Yeah, about a year.

Vikram:

So this is really the coming out party coming out from stealth mode. So privileged that he’s doing that with us. Quick introduction to Anil, he grew up all over India then went to the US through his time at Kellogg and UIUC and Qualcomm, traveled a bunch, a bit of a travel fiend and we’ll come back to sort of how that’s played a role in the formation of this. He spent nine formative years at Flipkart pretty much building different parts of it and that's how we got to know each other. So welcome, Anil.

Anil:

Thank you, Vikram. Great to be here and I think it’s fantastic to be having this conversation again after probably close to a couple of years. But building a fun company and a fun product so looking forward to talking more.

Vikram:

You know, the number one question that I get asked is you guys partnered once, didn’t go as well, you're doing it again, why. And I’ll answer that question but I’ll have you first --

Anil:

Yeah, I was going to ask you like you should be probably answering that question.

Vikram:

VCs love making the same mistake twice.

Anil:

Founders too I guess. No, for me I think last journey was a great learning journey. I would say it is one of those things where you have to play on the field, you’ll make a few mistakes but through those mistakes is when we learn. I mean just like every child does, every adult does, every founder does, every VC does I'm sure. So for me it actually laid a foundation and what was important to me after the last company shut down was to work with people that have backed me through thick and thin. These are long journeys, these are not like 1-2 year journeys, you probably back your companies for I don’t know, 7 years, 10 years. I'm looking to work with people through this journey over a decade or more. So it is important for me to be on the same wavelength with those people, have that connect, have that comfort backing that we’re going to be with each other through thick and thin. So things were rough the last time but I think both of us handled it quite maturely. Or both of us knew that it was actually a moment in time which needed a certain situation that needed certain handling and the way it was handled, the way it was setup actually gave me the conviction that I'm going to work with all of these people again if they’re keen. So it was a matter of principle to me and I did say lot of no to others because I wanted to work with the people who had worked with me before and you guys all got the first tide of refusals so that's how it happened.

Vikram:

And the answer to if they’re keen was that we were very keen and it was essentially what Anil said, great partnerships are tested when things don’t go well. And I think when things didn’t go well the first time around we were able to have very tough conversations very easily and it was just done with the utmost sincerity of purpose and handling all stakeholders, their pain points beautifully and at sometimes with personal cost both time and financial. And most founders don’t do this, and because that journey of actually a graceful shutdown was so well handled we just wanted to back you again. And the second thing is that you're also now compounding on your consumer insights and your consumer love and your own personal pain point that made us even more excited. We would have backed you again regardless of the idea but the fact that you were sort of playing in your wheelhouse made us even more excited about doing it. So it’s a good transition to what is the wheelhouse, what are you doing, what is Scapia, how did this journey sort of come about?

Anil:

It is Scapia, the root is escape, I’ll tell you what the product is and why there’s a root on escape. Yeah, but we wanted to add an a in the end because good brands end in a I have this random thesis which only I guess I believe in but that's how the brand came about, the domain was also available. We’re building a credit card for travellers, we’re all travellers, I'm a traveller, I don’t know how many people know but I’ve been travelling for the last 20 years, I’ve been to more than 33 countries. I’ve done road trips across the US, across India, like once I’ve driven all the way from New York to San Francisco. Yeah, one of my dream road trips is to do a London to Bangalore road trip, I don’t know when I’ll do it but it has been on my radar. After the previous company shut down I took a bit of a pause, I didn’t want to rush into anything. And I started working on the house, you know, doing other things, spending time with children but that's like I guess most entrepreneurs do or founders do I started getting jittery in two months. I thought I’ll give 6-12 months to myself but it never happened. Now I wish I did give that time but sometimes you just let things flow and after 2-3 months I was getting jittery and I started thinking about ideas. I just started thinking about what do I do next, what am I passionate about. Like you said I wanted to get back into what my comfort zone of B2C was.

Vikram:

And just double click a little bit on that, I think the first startup was actually in SaaS and one of the epiphanies was to compound on sort of things that we know. So talk a little bit about that journey.

Anil:

See, as founders we all grapple with a lot of things, right, we grapple with multiple problems and you want to maximize your chances of success so in my reflection period actually when I took some time off I actually have a note to myself on what are the things that I learnt, what are the things that I will do, what are the things that I will not do. One of the things that I wanted to do was actually build a B2C company focused on India focused on the things that I believe that I know very well, the network and connections that we’ve actually built and use that for compounding. That's what you want to do, right. And in that reflection I was thinking of all the things that Indians are going to spend in the next 10-20 years. Like I moved back to India from the US in 2011 when very few people were moving back because I believed in the India journey. I believe that the next 20-30 years are going to belong to India and it’s a reflection of our GDP is growing, our growth rate everything like during the entire 2010-20 period internet penetration just went through the roof. I think the next 20 years India is going to see a lot of time and money being spent on things that people value on. And I was looking at what are all the things that people spend on when they have disposable income two things came out for me. One was retail and the other one was travel. I just happened to spend a lot of time in retail and I just wanted to take a break not that I don’t like it or I'm not passionate about it I just wanted to take a little bit of a break from it. Travel is something that just was passionate to me, I never thought I’ll build a business associated with travel, I’ve been a traveller for 20 years, I’ve travelled to many places. I’ve done hikes, I’ve actually taken adventures, I’ve taken road trips. Everybody is a traveller, everybody has different degrees of travel but I was double clicking on what travel could look like and like India only 0.2 percent of GDP is spent on travel. If you looked at the research like in US and China it’s almost 1 percent of GDP is spent on travel. So I started going deep on travel and it was like let me talk to youngsters, let me talk to millennials who are traveling, there were lot of insights that came about.

Vikram:

How many travellers would you have talked to at that period?

Anil:

Every month typically like I spent talking to about 30-40 folks. I think the first 2-3 months of this journey I just was doing that. And the idea kept changing, the first idea was let me bring an OTA, okay, because I think there’s an OTA to be built with the kind of experience that millennials are looking for, looking for immersive experiences, they’re looking for offbeat destinations, they want the content to suit that, they want lot of transparency, they want very good customer service. There were a lot of that insights that came about. But what was also interesting is when people travel there’s some unique needs, right, and that was actually the epiphany when I was interviewing people there is a lack of transparency when people go abroad, there is like the need for a financial instrument to be able to use it. Some of them take currency, some of them take like a Forex card, but there’s a lot of hurdles and friction and I was thinking I’ll actually build a Forex debit card. And I went with the thesis and I interviewed a whole bunch of users 9 out of 10 said I want to use my credit card. But what they lack is actually a transparency in using the card they get a statement after 40 days, they don’t know what the Forex is, there’s a markup. There’s a little bit of like that I want to use it but I cannot so I have to figure out other instruments and that was really like the epiphany moment for me, I was like there is a big need for a card that serves travellers, Forex is just one piece of it but if I look at the entire gamut of what a card would look like for travellers there’s so much to offer. And I’ve been privileged and lucky to be in the US where I experienced some of these cards like the Capital One cards and the Amex cards where there’s rich rewards at that time at least they were delightful and I think over time technology in India is actually far exceeded what is there. But there is a lot of things that come together to make a fantastic credit card experience for travellers and that's a daily use case product, right, it’s something that everybody uses every day across various things and you travel twice or thrice a year and when you do that you have a whole bunch of points that you can actually redeem and I’ve been using cards like this which will actually give me free travel and make my life a lot more delightful. There is a unique product to be built in India just for this, India is going to go through a rise where disposable income is going to increase, millennials are going to travel a lot. Credit card penetration is very, very low and there are a lot of tailwinds. And Covid was ending, travel was going to come through the roof I was like this is it.

Vikram:

And one of the things you just said, right, these confident travellers who are upwardly mobile but who are also making stretch decisions when they travel and they want that credit for those stretch decisions and that actually led you to this.

Anil:

I’ll tell you a story, I say this to some of the people that I had to pull into the company. Buy now pay later and all of these things are more popular as a term over the last 4-5 years, when I graduated from my Masters in 2004 I had a job that was the starting date was September. In May I called my father and I said I need a loan and he said what for and I said I need to travel. He said where are you going to travel, I said I'm living in the US now, I need to take a round trip from Chicago to Paris and then I'm going to do a 17 day backpacking trip all over Europe covering multiple destinations and I borrowed $2000 from him. And he said when are you going to return it, I said as soon as I get my first salary. So he said okay, fine, he was generous enough to give me that money but I still remember that trip to this date every day I did a full trip and I think that was 20 years ago when solo trips were not so famous. Now everybody talks about solo trips, it was a solo trip that I did across Europe with, you know, I stretched myself, I took that credit. And I see people doing that now, people are taking solo trips, people are taking credit, people want to explore new destinations, people want to spend that gap year maybe. People want to just learn a lot, absorb new cultures and I think this instrument, this card that allows them to go places many ways figuratively and actually really will help them do all of this stuff.

Vikram:

You should definitely get some royalties for that travel now pay later to your dad.

Anil:

Yeah, actually I should. I don’t think he remembers this story. Now if I remind him he will but he did offer that money, with my first salary I did two things, I paid him that and again I stretched myself and I bought a music system which has been in my house for the last 20 years.

Vikram:

That's the next idea.

Anil:

Maybe.

Vikram:

So this seems like a travel company plus fintech, that's like a lot, that's two companies in one. So talk a little bit about is this too much to chew on, how did you think about grappling with sort of both sides of this problem?

Anil:

Yeah, I don’t think of it as too much to chew on, I think the way I’ve been thinking about it and operating is this is the product that we need to do, right, this is the real customer need. If we have to solve this problem statement of building a card for travellers there are multiple components, one is the credit card itself which is actually a big company. Like you need to build an entire credit card working with banks and being able to show the customer’s transactions real time, it’s a shame that in the country right now that people have to use a third party app to be able to pay their bills. But ensuring that entire experience is fantastic is important, that's one whole product to be built for credit cards. Then as you use the card you need to be able to build loyalty and coins and being able to give them that rewards which is again an entire product by itself, it’s probably not an entire company but thankfully I’ve had the experience of running Flipkart Super Coins at scale so I’ve seen some of this stuff so there’s a lot of comfort in being able to deal with that and do that. Then I wanted to make sure that people are able to use the coins and actually redeem them for travel. So if I have to do that there are obviously choices, we want to partner with travel companies and just build an affiliate one or solve it differently and build the entire experience ground up. From day one it was very clear to me I wanted to invest in that experience because there is an experience that is actually unique where you redeem but at the same time personalize it for the user, let them experience those offbeat destinations, show it in the way it’s delightful for them. For me it was this problem had to be solved a certain way and I was – like if you think about the complexity and how daunting it is then you’ll stop yourself. Like founders and entrepreneurs don’t work with the risk of failure, you’ve seen so many entrepreneurs.

Vikram:

You know, I love the fact that firstly I just want to call out for all of our viewers there’s this user deep dive that you did and from that immersive user deep dive these pain points emerged and then this thing about not limiting yourself to okay this is how I typecast this company whether they travel, whether it’s fintech and just say I'm going to just solve the user’s problem in a very different way. And that's where it sort of match the products and companies are created.

Anil:

Yeah, like the first three months we were not building anything. The entire team was actually doing two things, we were actually just doing user interviews and we were just learning from the user interviews. This was like the January to March time period of last year and they were investing in training and upgrading themselves on all new technologies. Like we built this entire product on something called Flutter, now Flutter has picked up a lot. Everybody was doing things in React Native and building two apps, two types of – but people invested in learning and learning new things that would actually help the company longer term. Now my Android and IOS come out at the same time. Like somebody would think like for 2-3 months this company was just doing this without building anything. Yeah, it was a bold call but you know what, it paid off.

Vikram:

So this product seems perfect for everyone at Matrix because half the time they’re all travelling or figuring out their next holiday, nobody is working. But even if they are they’re dreaming about their next holiday. So what is the product, what is the experience that you want the users to go on?

Anil:

There are few things that actually make the product very unique, right, it’s a credit card. It’s a credit card built for travellers and everybody like you said everybody is a traveller, it’s not just Matrix. Everybody is having a life which is actually very busy, everybody wants to take a break and the travel is the break. You really have fun with your family or your friends, you bond with them, you experience new things, those become memories. You come back and then you have stories to tell to your colleagues and friends, everybody ask you how was your trip and then you look forward to those stories. And then you start thinking about the next trip. So everybody is a traveller and in our user insights 2-3 things became very, very clear. One is everybody wants a card that actually gives them unique rewards and a card is a statement. You want to be able to use it, you want to be able to say that this is a card that is especially made for me, I like using it, you know, it has a certain set of features that I really associate with and I relate to. Everybody wants a lot of rich travel rewards, so we’ve built in very rich rewards that will be very meaningful for travellers with very high reward earning rates with seamless redemption on our app. And being able to do that with not just the value of it but also more importantly how they travel. We have like travel now pay later built in if they book through us, we have ability to lounge in various airports, we have zero Forex built in. Things that are actually uniquely thought through for travellers that make it very, very good.

Second piece of it which is how the product is, right, it’s not just the features and the rewards but the touch and feel of it whether it’s the physical card, whether it’s the unboxing, whether it is the how the app looks, how the redemption looks. I think this is a good segue for me to like show what the product is. This is how the product will get unboxed, you can see how there’s an 18th century animation it’s Going Places. We’ve thought through the minutest of details as to how people will enjoy using this product as they get it. The design team has actually spent a lot of time --

Vikram:

I know you spent a lot of time on that color as well.

Anil:

Yeah, it’s the Scapia sunset color as we call it and this is how the card will look, right, you open the card and there are two versions of it, the male and the female and we also have a gender neutral version for people who want to get a third version. This is a unique color, it’s made for a traveller, you can see how it’s designed like the color is unique, the card is unique, it’s those tiny things that matter. You need to be able to use it and appreciate it and like once you use it there’s no going back, that's how I think about it. And we spent a lot of time doing these things but they matter, they matter to the user, it matters to us, it matters to all the travellers and this is what brings delight. Because otherwise you will be just one among many.

Vikram:

It’s clear that this is a labor of love and I also know that you're the first tester. I know you did this trip to Scotland where I think you probably drove the team back at home nuts while you were using this card all over the place.

Anil:

Actually it was just fine, it was maybe 10-15 days into the beta phase so lot of the bugs were ironed out. Yeah, I was very happy to use it across all the pause machines, I wanted to test whether zero Forex was working. So I was actually in the Amsterdam airport, I had a long layover. It was supposed to be a two hour layover but it ended up being five hour layover. I was like first international transaction, we had already done a lot of domestic transactions but first international transaction let me go try it. I bought some coffee for myself with some croissant and all the stuff like some of these first transactions are getting framed in our office just for posterity but the first thing I did was check the charge. I opened the currency converter as like matches to the rupee but typically people wait 45 days to see this. Like we’re showing it right then and there like this many Euros, this many rupees, this is the currency conversion. Like that's the level of transparency, that's the ethos with which we’re building the company. The bunch of values that we have but from day 1 one of the things that we’ve invested in and we want to build the company with is transparency. Transparency for the customers, transparency for the team within, transparency for everybody, what you see is what you get with us. In fact we’re talking about the most important terms and conditions on the app, on the website, what is the card about. It’s also about being responsible as a company to do I would say financial education of the country and we’re very low credit card penetration. We’re not like a very mature credit market where everybody knows what a credit card is, there are a bunch of things that make the product tick, right, the rewards of it obviously which everybody knows about but sometimes it’s money, right, you don’t pay the money on time then there is interest charges, there is fees associated and you have to be a responsible product and a company to be able to educate the users about it. And I think RBI has done for example a fantastic thing last year that they issued a whole bunch of regulations to make it very friendly for the user. We’ve been doing that even before the new regulations where we decided as a company that we want to be customer first and in fact one of the things that came out in the research was that we will educate the users and they don’t know all that much. So you see that fully and that transparency is what actually leads us to a whole bunch of these features.

Vikram:

So it’s clear you're bringing a very fresh take on user experience and coming from the consumer you're sort of over investing on that and like I said it’s a clear labor of love. Talk about the fintech side of this company with RBI’s guidelines and so on how have you been looking at bank partnerships, what does it take, what advice would you have for sort of consumer first founder who’s trying to build in a fintech world.

Anil:

I think whatever it is you have to accept the fact that this is a highly regulated space and for a reason. It is you're dealing with money and dealing with people’s money and you have to do what is right with the boundaries and constraints set by the external ecosystem and there are set of reasons and highly experienced force who have thought through this and know what right the ups and downs of actually allowing some things and not allowing some things. So your playing field is actually those regulations, right, so you have to first deeply understand them. Actually I spent a lot of time just reading the regulations, I just was going through what all is required. I had a choice whether I wanted to do a proper co-branded credit card or at that time the market was actually doing a lot of prepaid cards. And this was before regulations, the new regulations which came in in April last year and was very clear to me from a customer perspective I should not be doing a prepaid card because the prepaid card has some limitations. There’s a cap on how much money you can do over transaction, also it’s confusing for the user, right, it’s a prepaid, it’s not a credit, all this stuff. So I wanted to do a co-brand card from day 1 so understanding the regulations, seeing what the regulator is doing and investing in it from day 1 actually becomes one MOT for you longer term, more importantly you do right by everybody in the ecosystem.

Vikram:

I'm just pausing you there, two things, one the immersion in financial services not coming from that universe and just saying that I have to live this journey is super important and that made you make some choices. And some of those choices meant delay and you just said this is actually the right answer for the long term and you just invested in all those things even if it meant short term delay.

Anil:

And I don’t look at them as delay, I look at them as these are things that you need to do to get it out. Like I have invested in a compliance dashboard within the company from day 1. We actually have a real time compliance dashboard where every day I know whether I'm compliant or not. And if something is not going to be compliant in the future I get an alert beforehand and we work with the team to make sure that we don’t get into that territory. Right, so it is that and there are experts who help you with this. There are a whole bunch of people in the external ecosystem who actually guide you, help you. There are lot of people who are willing to help, you have to make that. And that gives your stakeholders comfort, we’re not a bank we have to work with a bank who is actually willing to be your co-brand partner and you have to find somebody who has got the right wavelength who has that cultural values and you have to see there are a certain bunch of things that are important to them because they’re answerable to the RBI and we work with them. And the way I see it is we’re equally invested in this from a compliance system, we make sure we do all the stuff only then the product will come out.

Vikram:

Talk about the risk, now suddenly -- I know you're used to dealing with a lot of GMV but here it is your money, you're putting it up in terms of lending and all of this. How did you sort of get your arms around that problem?

Anil:

Yeah, well, we’re not lending on the card, the bank is, right and only banks can do that. So from that aspect of risk, no, but see I think we have to be very, very careful about risk and being informed about what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. I think there are two aspects of it, the financial risk of the company what we’re doing all the stuff. As entrepreneurs I don’t think of it that way, we have to think about the vision what we’re building like when you're aspiring to be in the Indian cricket team and let’s say you're good at it and you're trying to get into the playing 11 you shouldn’t be thinking about whether I will be failing at that point, you should be thinking about how do I get into the playing. So as entrepreneurs I have never thought about the risk of failure.

Vikram:

That's startup risk.

Anil:

I mean I didn’t even think about it.

Vikram:

Thinking more of the risk in the transaction, I mean credit cards obviously --

Anil:

That is all risk which is borne by the bank and that is where the bank’s expertise comes in. We’re a co-brand partner to be able to distribute, to be able to market the product. We give the right experience, we give all the travel redemption and the rewards and all that. This is where the experience and the responsibility of the bank comes in, they have done this for many, many, many years, that's why they have a bank license. So we learn from them, they actually underwrite the risk, they issue the card from their balance sheet, we’re helping and partnering with them to build the entire gamut of product and everything together. And we learn from them, they learn from us on other things and that’s how the partnerships work and we’re equal partners in this.

Vikram:

And just quickly from our perspective when I just think about this journey and how it has actually now in hindsight it fits completely with our thesis by the way. So but that's not how we started and we believe in this coupling transactions plus the financial margin in the transaction, we’ve done that in companies lf OfBusiness, OTO and so on. I never thought when we started on this journey that that's what we will end up discovering where you have essentially taken the travel transaction and coupled it with the financial margin in that transaction and you're actually passing a lot of that back in terms of rewards to the users.

Anil:

Yes, and that's how you make it work.

Vikram:

But you’ve essentially sort of increased the revenue pool and sharing that revenue pool with users.

Anil:

And that’s the business side of things, right, but all of this originates from the consumer. If you know that and talk to the consumers and the consumer say that this is what I want, this is my expectation. And thankfully I’ve been a customer here myself so I can relate to it as well as to what do I want. When you work backwards and with a little bit of experience having done this at scale, having seen some of the pitfalls when you work backwards and say how do I make this a sustainable firm and you asked me this earlier saying isn’t it daunting to build two of these in site. But you know what unless you build those you can't do this for the customer. Right, so that's the comfort I have that I’ve been able to build that and be able to pass it on.

Vikram:

Is there anything we didn’t cover on how you're building the company and so on, I know you’ve also built a fantastic team and culture.

Anil:

Yeah, that's a separate journey by itself and I can spend maybe more time on that but I’ll tell you there have been a lot of learnings and touch wood I’ve always had great teams working with me whether it was at Flipkart and there it was all the entire ecosystem but also at the previous startup. But this time I was even more deliberate, right, in Flipkart I must have done like 2000-3000 interviews and I'm not exaggerating and just the growth of the company and how many people I’ve interviewed over the years I must have done that many. But during my previous startup I was still operating with some of the mindset that people will come to me. There’s a power of a brand like Flipkart which attracts a lot of talent. When you start your own company is when you realize this is one of those founder aha moments like you're back to ground zero, you're not like sitting in 15 floor of some building. That people are afraid like you know, what is this startup, what is this idea, will it all succeed. I mean different people have different exposures of risk and ability to jump in on an early stage idea which is on paper, thesis will evolve, products will evolve. Touch wood for me I have stayed with this and I actually believe in this and this is what we’re going to be on but on day 0 everybody will not get the comfort. As a founder you have the vision but you will have to be able to get people to believe. I’ve been very deliberate in two things --

Vikram:

So who’s been your toughest convert and what did you have to do and you don’t have to take names but I know families play a big role in the conversion and so on.

Anil:

See, what I was coming to was that now I'm able to assess who is a little bit more of an early stage person versus a late stage person, so I can tell pretty much based on the first conversation what is like the risk appetite. In fact a lot of people I don’t also pitch at this point like I also tell them have you thought about a startup and do you know what are the risks they tend to have. I actually do a failure pitch, I like this is what it could all do to you and your family, are you okay with all of this stuff. Then even after all of that stuff they’re in then I know that they’re really in and then it becomes a product and the passion for it and all that stuff. So one gentleman I’ve had to – see, lot of the hiring that I’ve done actually has been through phone calls, I’ve been stealth. I’ve been stealth for 14-15 months and when you don’t have any presence on Linkedin or anywhere else your phone book is your real network, it’s the network that you have. And I’ve also realized the people that you know, the people who have comfort with you those are the people who are early joiners. Right, those are the people that actually believe in you as a founder, believe in the product, believe in the idea. You have a comfort of working with each other, it works both ways. I’ve wanted to invest in bringing someone from the credit card space and someone whose been doing this for 10-15 years I had to chase that gentleman down, four dinners in Bombay but that's what it takes.

Vikram:

Before we wind up on the podcast one of the things that’s been a privilege and beautiful to watch for me is that you started the first company at the beginning of that bubble cycle.

Anil:

Probably the biggest bubble in the last couple of decades.

Vikram:

In ’21. And then when at the peak of the bubble you were actually winding down that company and there were some sort of FOMO on not being able to take advantage of some of that liquidity environment and so on. And then you started this at the fag end of that and then it has been pretty --

Anil:

The biggest bear market I’ve seen in the last 20 years.

Vikram:

Cool markets for now. But through all of these ups and downs you’ve sort of been steady, right, fintech guidelines changing and all of that. Firstly where does that come from, that piece. And I know you’ve seen cycles before in Flipkart as well. But where does it come from and second what is your advice to founders who are going through these ups and downs?

Anil:

I'm quite thankful for what’s happening, I mean it’s a little bit of an over correction but markets go up and down, things go up and down. I'm not building this for the next 1-2 years, right, I want to spend my next few decades in this. When you think very, very long term short term is just short term. So obviously there are nuances to it, obviously there are external repercussions and as long as you're balanced about what’s happening outside obviously as a founder, I'm not going to lie, there’s going to be FOMO when there’s like the whole bull market happening and every two days there’s a press article about somebody raising and they’re like are you raising fast enough, is something wrong with you like when there’s a bear market going on obviously there’s layoffs everywhere. And you tend to look at it and say that I need to be more careful because it’s not about you alone it’s about how the market operates, it’s about how the external environment operates. It’s like LPs have to invest in funds and where funds have to invest in the company there’s a cycle to it and you have to respect the cycle and you have to respect the environment. But those are just the nuances of operating in the short term but when you focus on what you need to do longer term and you're looking to build a sustainable company which actually solves a particular customer problem that you're very confident of and obviously customers will tell you what is success and what is failure money will follow. Money will follow, people will follow, employees will follow. I mean they’ll all come together and you have to do your due diligence and make all of that stuff happen and you have to build a certain culture, you have to build a certain transparency, you have to build a certain quality of product, certain quality of customer experience and there’s going to be ups and downs, you got to deal with it.

Vikram:

I know you're saying things very first principles and in a matter of fact way but it’s easier said than done.

Anil:

It is easier said than done, of course I grapple with it. But you have to deal with it, you have chosen this life, you have become a founder you have to deal with it. I'm sure VCs you deal with all problems.

Vikram:

But I think you’ve just taken it one day at the time and one of the things you said, right, you’ve sort of insulated the org as well from all of the noise and kept them focused on the mission. So it’s been like I said a privilege to watch. I'm really looking forward to getting my Scapia card and so Godspeed for the launch.

Anil:

Yeah, and for your trip coming soon.

Vikram:

I really want it before Friday if I can get it. So Godspeed for the launch. Any closing thoughts from you?

Anil:

No, I think it’s been a privilege to partner with Matrix, I think for me this relationship started even before the previous company. Both of us have I would say in a way got to know each other, invested the time to get to know each other. Only when you get to know people and spend that time is when you get the confidence to work with each other and it works both ways for a VC and a founder. So for me it’s not just been this journey it’s been that foundation we laid for many years, it’s been a privilege and looking forward to partnering for many more years.

Vikram:

Really looking forward to this journey with Scapia, and like I said Godspeed for the launch. Thank you for tuning in for this episode of Matrix Moments, look forward to seeing you soon.

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