Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Asia. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2019

My Real Estate Tech Startup Has A Loan Investment

12/19/2019 Update: Fraud Alert: No Harm Done

On October 7, 2019, an investment firm out of Bahrain approved my loan request for $6.1 million. The terms of the loan are excellent. Thank you Noor Almuna Investments Company.

Status of the loan: Approved but pending.

Efforts are also underway to get some real estate companies in the region to invest in the form of convertible debt. At this end, I am also looking to raise a small Seed Fund.

The Next Wave In Innovation: Reimagining Entire Industries
Noor Almuna Chairperson: Jassim Al Seddiqi, the Michael Jordan of Gulf Finance.

There is tremendous pressure in the Middle East to diversify. On the other hand, tech entrepreneurs like me with a Global South background see the confluence of capital and technology as the hope rainbow that will allow for a fundamental uplift for the Global South masses in socio-economic terms.

I have seen numerous rejections over the years and decades. And the ratio of pitch emails that did not even see replies is even larger. But the rejections allowed me to ride wave after wave of changes in technology, intellectually speaking. They allowed me to study the tech startup as if it were some biological specimen. And, because what will happen in tech over the next 25 years is at least 100 times bigger than what has happened over the past 25, all those rejections make for perfect timing in hindsight. There never has been a better time to be a tech entrepreneur than right now.

It takes a lot to build a successful company. In recent years, I have undertaken spiritual journeys that shape what I call the six core values of my company’s corporate culture. Corporate culture is everything. Corporate culture is make or break.

As I see it, tech entrepreneurship is the best way to do the most good for the largest number of people on the planet. If you think the Internet is big, know that the Blockchain is going to be at least 100 times bigger. The Internet has democratized media. The Blockchain will democratize money.

My real estate tech startup is going to be the first of my several tech startup companies. But the real estate space is great because it attracts major investments. Concepts and ideas are harder to explain. But land and houses, most people understand.

The next wave in innovation is reimagining entire industries. You turn atoms into bits. Not literally. But by adding tremendous intelligence. My gameplan is to do that in real estate and revolutionize homeownership in the 100 biggest cities in the world, starting in NYC. We used to make clothes with hands. Then we started using textile mills. We still make houses with hands. We need to start using factories. Costs come down dramatically. Quality goes up dramatically. This is not real estate like the Trump Organization. This is tech like AirBnB.

After my loan was approved, but before it is formalized through the money transfer gives me a narrow window of opportunity to raise a Seed Fund. Usually, you go into round one not knowing if round two will ever happen. That is the risk you take. But here round two is already in the bag. And I still have found it near impossible to get people in my immediate circles to invest. At some level, I found it perplexing. On the other hand, being a successful angel investor is a rare skill. Successful angel investors are much rarer than heart surgeons. How many heart surgeons are there in my immediate social circles? Well, how many angel investors?

Homeownership is a major pain point for most New Yorkers. I see it fundamentally as a demand-supply problem. There is this huge demand and meager supply. My company would like to revolutionize that. We start in NYC and go to cities across the world.

The techies are in India. The money is in the Middle East. And Silicon Valley is no longer geography. It is wherever there is internet access. What is the optimum city culture for tech and innovation? I believe the answer is still out there.

Africa and South Asia are the next two Chinas. And Dubai could be for both what Hong Kong has been for China. More than 60% of the Foreign Direct Investment that goes into China goes through Hong Kong. That number used to be larger.

$6.1 million is a lot of money to raise. And I am thankful to my investors. Thankful enough that I have promised them I will give them first preference during the next two phases. But I am already thinking in terms of much bigger raises and much bigger ventures. I intend to build a city inside the city of Dubai, a tech city that will aim for the optimum city culture for tech and innovation.

The Gulf countries have a 10-year window to diversify or face decline. Clean energy technologies are seeing exponential advances. At some point oil simply gets priced out of the market. But money is the new oil. I see room for a Blockchain-based effort to take identity and the basic financial services to the final billions. That idea deserves 100 billion dollars more than does Masa Son’s Vision Fund. The tech city I will build inside Dubai might be the best location for the idea.

Jassim Mohammed Al Seddiqi: Renaissance Man In The Gulf
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Dubai's Remarkable Economic Transformation

Turnaround Artist

Monday, October 07, 2019

Dubai's Remarkable Economic Transformation

A post shared by Fazza (@faz3) on

A post shared by Fazza (@faz3) on

There are those who say Dubai is remarkable, but there are many cities like Dubai. I see Dubai in a league all its own. There are those who say Dubai is remarkable, but it is now downhill from here. I see that Dubai's best days are ahead still. It will not happen on its own. The effort will have to be made. But I am optimistic it will be made. Dubai is more than one chic city, beautiful to visit. Dubai can be to Pakistan what Hong Kong has been to China. Even today something like 60% of the FDI that goes into China goes through Hong Kong. Before the number was larger. There are things only governments can do. But once Pakistan can get its act straight on the basics like law and order, and infrastructure, I see Dubai playing an indispensable role in the rapid economic rise of Pakistan. For all its remarkable achievements I see Dubai ready for take-off. Dubai today is like China in 1990. I see that kind of graph ahead for the city. And it is dazzling as it is.

When I say Dubai is ready for take-off, that is not just a statement on Dubai the city, remarkable as it is, and the amazing transformation it has achieved in such a short period of time, but primarily a statement on where the world of technology is going. What will happen in tech in the next 25 years will be at least 100 times bigger than what has happened over the past 25 years. And Dubai is in a very good position to benefit from that. That positioning is a win-win for the world. Dubai will rise further and lift up the world with it.

I consider myself a student of Dubai's amazing transformation. I would like to know in great detail how it came to be.

As I see it, some of the future innovation in tech is going to be pretty capital intensive. And it might make sense for the various Gulf countries to channel their investments through Dubai. Dubai already has a reputation. Silicon Valley by now is many places. Silicon Valley always was an idea in the first place. And in thus channeling not only will Dubai rise to the next level, but it will also help every participating country follow its lead and similarly diversify. Diversification is survival at this point. It is diversify or decline for every country in the region. But in diversifying the region will lift the world. It will lift Africa. It will lift South Asia. It will lift the masses in the Middle East itself.

The Blockchain will do to money what the Internet has done to media. Money will be democratized. Look how easy it is to send messages and share photos and video clips today. The dollar a day people will get similar access to financial services. And places like Dubai that will facilitate all that will harvest rich dividends.

I am personally interested in making some moves. Today I had the good fortune to learn the wonderful people at Noor Almuna approved my loan application. And I am so very thankful. I have given to them in writing, I will give them first preference during phase two and phase three of my company. And I will.

But there is also a bigger picture. My real estate tech startup is going to be the first of several companies.

An entrepreneur like me is an artist who needs three buckets of paint. Human capital, financial capital, and physical capital (also known as technology). Indians powered the rise of Silicon Valley. And right now Dubai beats Silicon Valley on visa issues, although it could do even better. Dubai leads on the two buckets. And the third bucket is derivative. And Dubai is in an excellent geographic location. You have large masses in South Asia, and Africa nearby. Those are the next two Chinas.

I am itching to make moves in Dubai.

Dubai Economy
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Dubai Economic Report 2018
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Formula For Peace: Iran-Saudi-US, Taliban-US, India-Pakistan
Imran Wants To Lift 100 Million Pakistanis Out Of Poverty
Imran Khan: India's Last Hope For Lasting Peace
Imran Is Playing A Very Difficult Game

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Super Amit, Super Swabbed

Mike Bloomberg, Amit Gupta

I showed up at the New Work City space in Chinatown on time - 9:30 PM. And I left past midnight. The people who were doing the swab thing were busy the entire time I was there.

Events: Week Of October 10

The first person I met was Nick Gray. Nick Gray! This was my first time meeting Nick Gray in person. This is quite an amazing person. At times it can feel like this dude is a mutual friend to everybody who is somebody in the New York tech ecosystem. If Nick Gray did not exist, the New York tech ecosystem might have to create one. He is one of those people.

"Oh my God, Oh my God, it's Nick Gray!" I said. He was out on the sidewalk eagerly waiting for people to show. The venue was one floor up. This dude was so feeling it.

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Nick Gray: Bollywood Moves
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I was born Indian. Nick Gray chose to be Indian. We are both Indian through and through.

He was in a somber mood. I tried to cheer him up.

"It is good to see you too, Paramendra," he said simply.

The Huffington Post: Help Amit Gupta: $30,000 Reward Offered For Bone Marrow Match

This whole thing has been an amazing social media success story. But it has also shown social media can be an echo chamber.

There are enough brown folks in New York City and in New Jersey to find a match for Amit Gupta. And there are enough mass based Desi/South Asian organizations in New York City and New Jersey to push the number into thousands, tens of thousands.

The tech crowd is only managing hundreds, and that is not good enough. But it is managing to raise thousands of dollars, and that is great.

The swab thing is so, so super easy.

How much time do we got? It is a race against time, right? It is time to go past social media. Keep using it, but now use it primarily to raise money. I guess there are costs involved to do the swab thing.

Now we have to treat it like a political campaign. We have to start making phone calls. We have to start knocking on doors in the right neighborhoods. We have to reach out to mass based South Asian organizations in the region. They might not know Amit, but they don't have to. Every person who swabs and is not a match is a potential match to some other member of the South Asian community down the line. That not Amit angle is the one we have to push now.

Raise money among the tech, social media, smartphone crowd. Reach out to the non digital, non social media, non smartphone crowd for a potential match. We should be able to organize some events by next weekend.

I want to reach out to people like Nick Gray and Tony Bacigalupo to see if I can get a little more involved.

It can not be all that hard. Google up "South Asian organizations in New York City, New Jersey" and start building a list of people to call up, office holders of the top organizations.

If there was a match somewhere in the tech/digital crowd, we would have found it already. It is time to reach out to the true grassroots. We are not it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Failures

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...Image via WikipediaMy first step into tech entrepreneurship was in the late 90s. I was not the leader of the team, but I was a founding member of a team, lead by an Indian American woman out of Philadelphia, that was trying to build the top South Asian community online.

The company raised 25 million dollars round two and dutifully succumbed to the dot com bubble burst. What ensued was a nuclear winter.

She suggested I drop out of college. I should have. It is not like I was having fun in Kentucky: I hated the place after my first year. Over a year after I left promising to come back after graduation, the thing had already disappeared.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Immigrant Story For Brad Feld

I was at the NYC 3.0 blog, and I was just done watching and leaving a comment on a Fred Wilson interview, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a tweet by Nate that swiftly sunk down from the page. But it said something about submit your immigrant founder story. So I went to Nate's Twitter page, and sought out that tweet.

Brad Feld was looking for immigrant founder stories. If anyone had a story, that was me. My story blows a hole or two into my LinkedIn page. What's my story?
Born in India, grew up in Nepal, came to America for college, got elected student body president within six months of landing. Was a founding member of that raised $25 million round 2. We were trying to be the top South Asian online community. They asked me to drop out of college. I said let me finish, I will rejoin you. By the time I finished, the nuclear winter had set in. I hit the road in a 18 wheeler, and hit all 48 states in two and a half years on and off, and did not understand why until I met the MeetUp CEO Scott after moving to NYC in 2005 who went to work at McDonald's for a few weeks after his dot coms went down. 
There is a concrete mathematical theory called the butterfly effect. A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon could be the reason a cyclone hit Bangladesh. During April 2006 over a period of 19 days, over 8 million out of Nepal's 27 million people thronged the streets to shut the country down completely to oust a king dictator. I was the butterfly flapping my wings in New York City. I am extremely good with vision and group dynamics
This is my startup's relaunch. I am trying to raise 100K for my round one right now. I was done doing that, and then in February 09, reacting to the worst economy in 70 years, most of my investors walked away. I took time off, focused on social media, accumulated more followers on Twitter than Donald Trump, experimented with pro blogging, and now I am back in the game. 
I am looking to sell 2% of my startup for 100K. The first 100K in Google became a billion in 10 years. I don't expect to match that. But I think I could do at least one third as good in twice as much time. I bring the passion of a freedom fighter to my startup. Internet access is the voting right for this 21st century. The two Google guys had their algorithms. I have the equivalent in group dynamics. Show me some respect. What they are failing to do in Iran, what they failed to do in Burma, I succeeded to do in Nepal. 
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