I met Rahul Sood at #SXSW2018 and got some great insights on everything Crypto, Startups, Branding and ICO
Rahul Sood is the eccentric founder of Voodoo PC which he sold to HP in 2006. He’s also an investor and advisor to various companies, notably, Razer, Vrvna and Maingear. He is currently the CEO at Unikrn, and has developed UnikoinGold, an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency token for Esports betting at Unikrn.
D: Do you think someone should do go the cryptocurrency route with their existing product offering?
R: Probably not, because you need a lot of volume to make it work. Like 5–10 million per day in volume to make it worthwhile; it’s hard to get that. Crypto is kind of weird too, because it’s hard to use for most people. There are still a lot of problems that need to be solved in this space. Also, there are several ICOs out there that aren’t getting any traction. Last year was the “year of ICOs”, this year is the “year of Reckoning” where most of the ICOs are either going to fail, and the ones that survive will be cockroaches over time and will grow into something much bigger; in short: it’s a tough space.
D: Instead of an ICO, can I gamify my app by providing reward points using crypto? Would that make more sense?
R: Yes, it will be a good way to at least use someone else’s Crypto. You can pick something, use it, test it, get some validation, and once you start to get some volume, then ideally you can create your own token.
D: That’s a good idea. I didn’t want to do an ICO without the right planning. For starters, I’m focused on building the founders-network on Pirate Fund. Every day we have five to 10 quality founders joining our community, which is great. These founders are not just from India but across the world, which is even more interesting.
Right now, I’m not building anything. I’m building on top of Telegram. When the Telegram ICO happens, I can even use that.
R: What you’re doing is pretty interesting, if you build on someone else’s crypto to generate usage for now. Once you get some good traction, you may be justified in doing a token at that point; people will buy it. Otherwise it’s not going to work.
D: I recently started Pirate Store, the idea being — the entire proceeds from the store go to someone who doesn’t have money but desperately needs it. Do you think separating each entity, like the Fund, the Store would make sense or would you just focus on one thing.
R: Well, you have got to focus on one thing.
D: Is this something that, when an investor like you sees, you’re left wondering, “Why is this guy doing so many things?”
R: Yes, totally. I think you need to focus on one thing, take Pirate Fund and go build it.
D: I got inspired by the Razer founder, and how he’s built such an amazing brand.
R: Keep in mind, he didn’t start that way. He started with a mouse…
D: Yeah…he started with a mouse. First focus on something which is cash-making, and then focus on building a brand?
R: I mean you should still build your brand at the same time, but you want to be known for something and that’s when you can start building a brand.
We started Unikrn as a community-first company, we built the brand over the years on the back of community, a great product and a great culture. I think if you build your brand on top of these three things, then it’ll just come naturally. A brand is more than just a logo, you know.
D: Last question, do you think founders who are building something or are really serious about building something shouldn’t get too caught up with social media, at least in terms of promoting whatever he/she feels about the world? Or is it fine?
R: That’s completely fine! You should definitely have Medium though, and write on it to get going, that should be where you build your own voice.
Listen to our full chat here.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)