The name KoinOK has been making waves for quite some time. In quest of meeting the people behind the new brand, our Team spent a few hours with the highly charged professionals behind this Outstanding Start-up. Vivek Agarwal (an IIT Delhi alumnus), who is handling the product development of the company by focusing on marketing and growth explained everything about KoinOK in detail.
KoinOK is a cryptocurrency exchange platform which facilitates users to trade in Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple and other popular cryptocurrencies by following an open order book system. KoinOK will also let users invest in index tokens which will help in maintaining a much diverse portfolio protecting users from the high volatility of the cryptocurrency market.
The Domain of KoinOK is ‘Crypto Exchange’ and the investment for developing this software is undisclosed till now. The URL is https://www.koinok.com/.
Products which involve a significant amount of money have to solve the most fundamental problem which is TRUST. Users should believe in the product and team that their money is safe on the platform. KoinOK has invested heavily in the platform security and support teams to provide users with a peace of mind and focus on trading; leaving everything else to team KoinOK.
To trade on the platform, users should register on the platform and complete the online KYC process by submitting the PAN card, Aadhar card, and bank account details. These systems have been put in place to ensure that the money used for transactions is trackable and adhering to the Anti-money laundering guidelines issued by RBI, India.
KoinOK exchange platform has been built to primarily solve for
- Security – End to end data encryption, multi-sig hardware wallets, 2FA authentication
- Availability – Scalable and efficient trading engine, minimal downtimes with 24*7 customer support
- Speed – Faster order execution on the back of advanced order matching algorithms
The founding team has highly skilled and experienced professionals who have worked across a diverse set of industries with 15+ years of experience. Vibhay Sachan is the founder of KoinOK, he has completed his B.Tech in Computer Science and has worked as a senior software engineer in a Delhi based Food SaaS Startup. Vivek Agarwal is an IIT Delhi alumnus, 2012 batch; Nikhil Prakash is an IIT Powai alumnus, 2013 batch; and Manish Atri is an IIIT Allahabad alumnus, 2013 batch. While Vibhay, Manish and Nikhil are looking the technology part, Vivek is looking after the product development focusing on marketing and growth.
The Talismanian crew had a discussion with Vivek Agarwal and here is the summary of the discussion.
Interview with Vivek Agarwal
How did this idea strike you?
During mid-2017 when Vibhay and I came to know about Ether, a popular cryptocurrency which powers the Ethereum blockchain network. After reading for a few days about the vision and product roadmap, we were sure about the project success and decided to invest in Ether. But at that time, there was only one platform providing ethers against INR, but due to their inefficient systems, KYC process used to take between 3-4 weeks. As we had very little hope in their product, we decided to try out the international exchanges. For that, we had 3 options to try out,
- Give high commission (3-8%) on platforms allowing card-based payments.
- Buy Bitcoins through one of the Indian exchanges, then transfer it to the international exchange platform and buy Ether against the Bitcoins.
- Use swift payments to deposit dollars or euros into our exchange account and purchase Ethereum.
Besides this, there was always a fear of losing out money due to minimal support available on these exchanges and no direct contact with the authorities included. All of the above methods required a high cost in either money or time and needed some knowledge of payment systems which we felt would be very difficult for normal investors who are not that much aware of the technology. Reading through the public forums, social media groups, we got to hear similar experiences and concerns and also showed us that there was huge interest among Indian users to invest in cryptocurrency.
The journey so far (When you launched, how far is the traction so far?)
We are right now in the testing phase of the product development and planning to launch the product by the end of January. Our beta-registration module is currently live on our website in which we are giving the 30-day free trading window to our early users and have received an excellent number of user registrations.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur while establishing your startup?
Well, the biggest challenge has always been around building a good team who are ready to invest 1-2 years in the idea with same passion and enthusiasm as of ours and remain intact in the difficult times of journey. A good team is a precursor of a good product which in turn becomes a magnet to attract more people to the team.
How did you overcome it?
We reached out to our network and met people who already had worked with us in our previous jobs. It was mainly the clarity of idea of what we wanted to do which helped us in starting the discussions.
What is the biggest learning so far in your entrepreneurial journey?
The biggest learning so far is to remain focus on the main objective of your business. While developing something, we are always tempted to provide lots of features and functionalities to our users. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is necessary to check if these feature additions are not affecting your product launch timelines and if they are absolutely necessary for meeting out your product objective. Always keep in mind that with each passing day, you are losing out on a potential business earning of that day.
Who is your mentor/role model? What’s the best lesson you learned from them?
As with the majority of current decade entrepreneurs, I have been inspired by the journey and achievements of Mr. Elon Musk. His perseverance and attitude is something which motivates us to continue fighting for our mission and remain undeterred by the initial difficulties and uncertain times.
What’s your revenue model?
Our revenue model is based on commissions. For facilitating orders placed by users, we charge a nominal percentage of the transaction amount as the commission fee.
Have you raised funding before?
Yes, we raised our initial round from the first-degree network. (Undisclosed amount)
Are you looking for raising more funds? If yes, how much?
Yeah, we are interested in a seed-funding round of around 1 Cr INR. This fund will be utilized for office space, team expansion and marketing purposes.
Who are your competitors?
There are some established players like Zebpay, Coinsecure and some recent startups like Koinex, Coindelta which have been able to grab a good share of traffic in last 2-3 months.
How are you planning to outpace your competitors?
As said earlier, we will be focusing primarily on security and support which seems to be the major concern with most of the existing Indian exchanges. Besides this, we have developed our own in-built trading engine which can process a high number of transactions per second and can scale automatically in case of high loads. Our backend systems are robust enough to onboard a new currency in minimal times with very few changes needed in the main code.
What are your future plans for your startup?
Our future plans are inclined towards making our platform more robust regarding faster order executions, improved user interface, regular onboarding of new cryptocurrencies and dedicated mobile application for improved mobile usability and security.
Overall KoinOK seems to be an easy to use and secured cryptocurrency exchange platform and have to agree that the team has put a big effort to make sure that users can use the platform with complete peace of mind. The Talismanian team is thankful to KoinOK team to make this happen.