Ethereum expert Toshendra Sharma on entrepreneurship and ICOs in India
Toshendra Sharma, a MTech graduate from IIT Bombay is well known among the Indian startup community as the founder of security startup Wegilant. As a single founder, Toshendra took the company through close to 5 financial years and 2 rounds of funding, before deciding to shut shop as the startup couldn’t raise further funds.
While for most, this would have been a gut wrenching experience, Toshendra chose to continue to pursue his a passion for cyber security. He now runs RecordsKeeper, a blockchain startup in the audit and verification of enterprise data and records. He’s resolute when he says, “I worked hard without looking here and there or mourning about my failure. I knew that it is a part of the package called entrepreneurship.”
Technology and Entrepreneurship
Toshendra had quite a late introduction to computers. It was only in his first year of college that he had regular access to one, but he quickly learned basic programming in C and jumped to other web technologies quickly. He says, “I’m from a small town from the north of India, and even did most of my schooling in Hindi medium. However, I’ve always been active in science exhibitions & robotics since childhood.”
His first startup was just after his undergrad. “I did my first startup Robosapiens Technologies, in 2009 & then subsequently started my M.tech in 2011 from IIT Bombay in Computer science. I specialized in application security. This is where I started Wegilant a Mobile Application Security company in 2011, whilst still a student from IITB.”
“My company Wegilant crashed in 2016 due to not able to raise a further round of venture capital. I quickly jumped into Blockchain technology to build the next solution (RecordsKeeper – Blockchain-based record keeping platform),” he added.
ICOs in India – what will work?
With the recent ban of ICOs in China, a lot more people have come to know about the concept. However, outside India, Toshendra sees a lot of interest and applications for ICOs. He says, “ICOs are very common outside India. I have helped quite a few corporations outside India in getting their ICOs done technologically in a technology consultant and advisor capacity.”
He believes that it is still very early days for ICOs in India. He says, “Not having very clear regulations around it I still believe there is a substantial risk in getting the ICOs done in India.” He has, however, helped an India based company through an ICO, which successfully raised 15000 Ether in 2 weeks long open contribution period.”
“I also strongly believe that if a project is based on Blockchain technology and solving a problem around Supply chain, Security, Integrity, Identity management, record keeping increases the chances to succeeding the ICOs,” he added.
Toshendra – The Blockchain whiz
Among the tech circles, Toshendra is known as an expert at building solutions using Ethereum. As a MTech from a premier institution in India, he credits his proficiency with the platform to his computer science education. He says, “ CS education helped me a lot in understanding & building application on top of Blockchain.”
While he was always inclined to technology from a very young age, Toshendra’s tryst with the Ethereum platform came at a quite an unlikely place. He says, “I had some spare AWS credit and I wanted to try and make some money off it. I tried my hand at ETH mining, but it gave me a good understanding of the platform and you could say that it, in a way, led to me building RecordsKeeper. But from there to here, I’ve built many Ethereum based applications including Asset tracking contract, Proof-of-existence, Self Mintable token, Asset tokens, Manageable Crowdsale etc.”
Toshendra is very passionate about teaching blockchain technology to as many people as he can. (Check out his course on www.toshacademy.com) As a certified blockchain expert, his single biggest advice to anyone with an interest in the Ethereum platform is simple – “You must first understand the Blockchain fundamentals very clearly.”