An Interview with Entrepreneur Bhaskar Prabhakara

Introduction

As an executive with a proven track record, Bhaskar has more than 12 years of experience consulting with various banks, brokerages and asset management firms across markets such as India, London, the Middle East, and the U.S. Bhaskar formerly held roles as the Business Head – APAC at Genpact Headstrong Capital Markets. He was the Regional Sales Manager – Europe as well working with investment banks, brokerages, CFD/FX market makers, asset managers, exchanges and clearing houses.

He started his career at ICICI, India’s largest private bank before consulting with Charles Schwab, Thomson Reuters and working with clients like Goldman Sachs, CMC Markets, Macquarie Securities, Bursa Malaysia, etc. He holds an Engineering degree from IIT Madras and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.

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Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.

In an exclusive interview with Devathon, Weinvest co-founder and CEO Bhaskar Prabhakara traces his journey so far and his plans for the years ahead.

When did you first discover your entrepreneurial spirit and How is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?

I grew up in India, where I finished my engineering degree and MBA. I started in banking before moving into consulting, working with Charles Schwab, Reuters, Goldman Sachs, and so on. After spending close to eight years in London, I moved to Singapore in 2012 to lead the Asian business of Headstrong. This is where I helped build businesses from scratch, working with a lot of capital markets organizations to move brick-and-mortar models into digital. During this period, it occurred to me that I’d been building businesses for others. I thought, “Why don’t I try to do it for myself? Besides, wealth seemed like a very personal problem.” So, in 2014, together with two other co-founders, we embarked on building WeInvest.

What has been the biggest success and biggest failure stories you went through?

I think the success I am most proud of was being able to convince and work with top tier retail banks such as OCBC Bank, Siam Commercial Bank to use our products. This involves convincing them to use a complete cloud-based platform, using auditors to prove our system as well as cutting down the scope and keeping it lean to launch an MVP like a startup. We have three products, namely AdviseWealth, GrowWealth, and TrackWealth. While we have successful launches and healthy pipelines for the first two products, we have not managed to get a bank to use TrackWealth, our holistic aggregator and tracking platform. This is even with successful proof of demand after we offered it to consumers directly in the past.

How did you come up with the idea for Weinvest and how did it all start?

Investing is a personal problem for me for me. Although I came from a complete financial services background, I still find investing a very painful process. So if I find it difficult, I think this would apply for the majority of the people. This is how GrowWealth, TrackWealth, and Advise Wealth came into the picture, representing the respective pain points I faced in my investment process.

Tell us something about Weinvest.

WeInvest basically focuses on making investing easier for a mass market investor or an emerging affluent investor. We also build different solutions for high-net-worth individuals who use a relationship manager. Our products include GrowWealth (a robo-advisory-as-a-service platform) and AdviseWealth (an RM-assisted-advisory platform). We white label these digital wealth platforms for banks, brokers, asset managers, and insurance companies. So, we are not a direct B2C business. What we’ve built is an entire stack of not just technology but also investment strategies and the operations to support a wealth management business. We’re managing the whole platform on the cloud.

What are your growth plans for the near future?

2018 has been pretty good to us with several client launches such as CIMB and OCBC. We are looking to ramp up to our presence with our first footprint into North Asia, and other parts of South East Asia and the Middle East. We’re also looking to broaden the scope of asset classes and get to an industrial scale to be able to run almost 15 implementations in one go. From a technology perspective, while we’re running a pretty ambitious end-to-end stack, we still want to continue to be nimble and run implementations that are less than six months in duration for at least the first phase.

Looking back, what did you learn and what would you have done differently?

I think the biggest takeaway would be to expand out of our home country faster. I would have moved out of my comfort zone and focus on regions such as Thailand and HongKong more. Looking back, we found Singapore as a comfortable market to be in and didn't explore external markets for the longest time.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.