Author | Pankaj Jain
Born in a Marwari (Indian ethnic entrepreneurial group) family, I was always inspired by trade and how trade had shaped the world and lives of people since time immemorial. I was amazed to learn that about 50,000–100,000 years ago, a small group of our ancestors in Northeast Africa acquired the genetic endowment that gave them the language, social, and, intellectual skills that enabled them to break out of that continent through a barrier of their hominid competitors and go on to dominate the six habitable continents.
Since grade 1, my parents inculcated the risk reward mechanism. They started incentivizing the winner amongst my siblings to get ready for school without them chasing us which I always won. In the process, I started to understand what drove me and how to achieve those goals by working backwards such as what time I needed to get up and how much time each activity took to win the incentive every day. I started my first entrepreneurial venture at the age of nine when I first started renting and selling children’s comic books. On the weekends, I would go to garage sale and pick up children’s books at dirt cheap prices and then rent them few times before eventually selling them. This was the start of trade in my entrepreneurial journey. It helped me in making money which I deployed for things like renting a bike, sports gear, extracurricular activities, books etc. As I grew older, I became interested in companies and how people make money by investing in innovative companies through stock markets. I learnt a lot from my uncle who was deep into stock markets. This led me to make my first stock market investment in an IPO of a petroleum refinery at the age of fifteen. Ever since, I have been an avid investor in stock markets.
Growing up through the engineering school, I was naturally disposed to bring people of common interests together that helped me nurture my relationships skills, finding problems and solving them. Soon after finishing my engineering school, I realized that people with MBA degree got better opportunities, made more money and had faster career progression. Having been born and raised in a small town in India, I realized the importance of quality training and access to information. I saw that as a problem in my town and a business opportunity. This germinated the idea of starting a management school training company which I started and ran successfully along with my cofounders. It was not only a profitable venture but also helped prepare the first batch of students get through the management school entrance exam. Soon I realized that the playing field itself was limited and so was the impact. I was craving to use disruptive emerging technology then – Internet, which had a wider reach to make bigger impacts. In partnership with a friend who had a small software company servicing local businesses, I brought the idea of contextual search using internet and search technologies to help consumers find exact contextual match than a needle in the haystack…it was 1999. I found a US based investor to help and fund the idea. It was a successful exit for a small-town venture. This led me to Mumbai (Commercial Capital of India) and I ended up working for a spin-off of Citibank which had newly created eCommerce business unit. I was exposed to even bigger canvas there, in terms of technologies, global clients and international trade icons such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tokyo and Los Angeles. I lived out of bag for 2 years in Mumbai and traveled the world, further honing my understanding of global trade and relationship skills. I moved to New York in 2002 to help build the business which was still in startup mode here. I worked alongside the chieftains of the company who had all relocated to the US then. We created a monumental achievement in subsequent years which exited with Oracle as the new owner. Since then, I have been infectiously passionate about financial inclusion, building new disruptive business models to create social impact and spread the wealth, building deep client relationships, crafting innovative solutions and win-win commercial arrangements.
This insatiable desire led me to join hands with friends to build something completely path breaking ground up once again on the back of innovative disruptive technologies which has power to change the world by enabling trade and access to credit.
In Scienaptic, our mission is to bring well deserving unbanked and underbanked to the mainstream banking by making credit available and making them a part of socio-economic upliftment through financial inclusion.