Being in a startup life gets so dynamic – Smriti Tomar

Entrepreneurship brings excitement every day, each movement is hustling all the time. I have got the opportunity to interview the young and dynamic woman entrepreneur – Smriti Tomar

She is the founder and CEO of the company, InvestoAsia. She is a B.tech graduate from NIT Bhopal, She has experience in the data analytics field while working for Citibank Banamex, one of the largest commercial banks in Latin America to build risk strategies.

She is also a blockchain developer and expert certified by IBM and The Hong Kong University, worked on Ethereum and R3 Corda to develop various applications, holds proclivity for project development and management at large. In the team, She takes responsibility for R&D, product development and operations along with regulatory and legal activities.

She has authored a patent on a system for the secure exchange of traded securities and methods thereof.
She has been an avid investor since her teenage. She believes in value investing. She is a follower of Warren Buffet’s principles. She realized that traditional methods are not scalable enough to provide financial inclusion and awareness, which led to the genesis of InvestoAsia.

Eventually, She made a team of experts and an advisory board of experts in various fields realize this mission of financial inclusion in India that will revolutionize personal finance.

What inspired you to join the above company or this sector?
I graduated as an engineer from NIT Bhopal, yet I have always been passionate about Finance. Over the years, I realized there’s a huge gap in the finance industry in terms of awareness, accessibility, and inclusion. During an exchange program from college, I had once worked part-time with a broker to help 25 Korean investors invest in India.

I am tech-savvy and also a blockchain developer, which made me realize that it’s not scalable and technology can help fill many such gaps. Finance has been really close to my heart and I really believe people should be able to avail the opportunity of living in the most emerging nation. The above narrative has pushed me over the years to contribute to this industry through this venture.

My vision and passion then led to some likeminded people like bestseller authors, professors from IITs and IIMs, and other industry experts to join us in this mission. Our vision at InvestoAsia is to enable Financial Inclusion, Awareness and Decentralisation. And we aim to continue innovating until everyone is invested and financially secured!

Our innovation is a one-stop platform to all the needs in finance, from saving, investing domestically/overseas, borrowing, lending to spending along DIY guidance to enable users to take control of their financial lives. We have also filed a patent for the technology.

We had been bootstrapping before and have recently raised pre-series funding for further operations.
InvestoAsia registered in India and Hong Kong is recognized as Top 3 Fintech Companies in wealth management from India by NASSCOM. We are also one of the only two companies selected to represent India in Hong Kong. We were one of the top 10 finalists in Conquest by Accel partners and L&T and have got recognition from the HDFC Bank and NTT Japan.

What is your life mantra?

To not stop experimenting. Entrepreneurship in itself is a long-term experiment. I believe it takes a lot of courage to be able to think different, think crazy and then to experiment over the same. And no matter what’s the outcome, the journey in itself leads to and learning and an exponential self-growth.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Lack of financial literacy and awareness, I believe is the biggest challenge for us, all the more in India where the financially literate population is merely 20%. Even fewer are active investors in the stock market, barely 3 % of the population. Hence, this has been the biggest problem for us.

These numbers speak for the dismal condition of personal finance in India. To make people realize the kind of opportunities they are losing out on and motivate them towards leading a better financial life has been a great challenge.

To solve this, we are launching our own financial awareness program, that helps people understand how to create and manage wealth in terms of saving and investing. We have some great financial experts who help to create content through videos, blogs and community discussions.

How do you protect yourself from the problem of brain drain?
There’s nothing to protect from. I wish to live and serve the people of India. I believe whether it’s in terms of market returns or opportunities, India is one of the most emerging countries in the world. By 2050, it is said India and China will be dominating the world economy, which places us to be on the land of growth and opportunities. And now that I’m an entrepreneur, I wish to solve problems that I have faced over the time and those I see around, so I don’t wish to go elsewhere, India helps me do that just fine. And someday in the future, if everything goes well, I want to work towards empowering women entrepreneurs through all the means that I can.

Share one habit that you think makes you more productive?
To not stop experimenting. Entrepreneurship in itself is a long-term experiment. I believe it takes a lot of courage to be able to think different, think crazy and then to experiment over the same. And no matter what’s the outcome, the journey in itself leads to and learning and an exponential self-growth.

Share one habit that you wish to change in yourself?
It could be getting anxious and worries too soon. When things seem going to the south, I tend to get anxious and lose my calm. This is something I’ve been working on for a while and has got much better over time.

Answer in one line.
One tip to success: Never stop trying
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid: to not continue growing and working on self-development
One most important lesson that you have learned till now: nothing really can hold you back, be it the age, gender or profession, as long as you know how to use it in your favor
• Apps you can’t live without Whatsapp, Linkedin, Uber, ET, Swiggy
Key in the workplace: good music and plants

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
A lot of people appreciate me for starting entrepreneurship so early in life. But honestly, if I could go back in time I would probably start even earlier. Because now I realize that the opportunity was always in front of me and yet I was waiting for a nudge to take the leap and begin the journey of entrepreneurship.

Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Go for it. Whether it ends bad or good, it’s an experience.”

What makes you excited about Mondays?
Well, being in a startup, life gets so dynamic that no day in your life is similar. Each day comes with new opportunities and tasks. Hence, it’s mostly the excitement, the thrill, the nervousness to do something new that gets me up in the morning of any day, one of them being Monday!

According to you how self-worth and happiness important in a job?
A lot. It’s very important for me that what I do, gets acknowledged and appreciated. I strongly believe that if my work doesn’t make a difference to even live, I haven’t worked hard enough. And when your work starts making a mark and gets recognized, it naturally gives you satisfaction and happiness.

Describe some difficult leadership situations and how you managed people through them.
There was a time when we had to pick the right technology for a part of the product development and the problem was that one of my project leads wasn’t versed with the latest tech that was the buzz word around. And right and left people were suggesting to use the same tech.

There was a split in the team regarding that decision. Somebody suggested to change the lead and replace him with someone who is an expert in the other tech. It was hard for me to negate as it was fair for him to ask so.

But after a lot of thinking I decided that it’s not always right to change the people in your team according to the requirement but sometimes it’s also good to change your requirements as per the people that you trust. We decided to go with the older tech because I realized as long as I trust him, he knows that I do, he’ll be able to pull it off, no matter what’s the tech under the hood.

What’s your opinion about startup Lanes?
StartupLanes is a great ecosystem for Startups. It’s a great service that caters to Fundraising, Mentorship, Advisory, Consulting for Startups. And along with all of this, the news and events that StartupLanes captures help keep us updated with the ecosystem. And above all of this, it’s a great platform for bussing entrepreneurs to validate their ideas and learn more.