An increasing number of enterprises have been exploring blockchain applications to make work flows more efficient and transparent. Commonly known to be the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, blockchain has proven its use case when applied in financial services, supply chain management, digital identification, among many others. A number of this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list entrepreneurs have harnessed the power of blockchain in scaling businesses and growing investments.
Having worked in the healthcare space, Gourish Singla said he saw genetic testing companies in India profiting off of selling DNA data to pharmaceutical giants without the users’ consent. His Project Shivom, a blockchain based genomics and healthcare platform aims to give individuals more control over their personal data, and a way to monetize their private information. Consumers could upload their DNA sequence from websites like 23andMe or Ancestry.com onto the platform, or purchase Shivom’s genetics testing kit. Results could be stored or shared on Project Shivom’s blockchain in exchange for apps that provide healthcare insights. Singla says the company earns revenue through pharma companies who want to use the genetic data to support their drug development programs on a revenue-share model.
The project raised $35 million through an ICO in May 2018 vis OMX token issuance. If the platform succeeds in connecting patients, clinicians, researchers, insurers and laboratories, Singla can be a step closer to his ultimate goal of positioning Shivom to be in the preventative care sector, to predict disease before disorders are detected from medical exams. In the process he also hopes to collect a more ethnically diverse dataset to make up for the underrepresentation of Asian DNA samples in a predominantly Caucasian population sample.
From healthcare to entertainment, Robbie Ferguson and his brother James cofounded Fuel Games, a blockchain ledger based esports company that enables true digital ownership of in-game items. Currently, most game publishers wield absolute authority over game economies, and act as central banks that inflate or manipulate the value of assets, says Ferguson. Fuel Games’ infrastructure claims to guarantee scarcity, inflation, ownership, and tradability. They’ve also introduced the digital equivalent of star athletes selling signed merchandise in the virtual world, creating a new revenue source for top players to sell off avatars for example, at a premium, while preserving the history of ownership.
Within the first year, the pair launched their flagship game Gods Unchained and raised over $2 million from investors including Nirvana Capital, Sora Ventures, and U.S.-based digital currency exchange Coinbase. The company says to have reached $5 million in revenue in just one year.
On the enterprise tech front, two-year-old startup Elemential Labs is on a mission to bring trust back to India. Cofounders Anilkishen Dukkipatty, Sahil Kathpal, Raunaq Vaisoha makes reference to the commodity exchange fraud in 2015 that resulted in over a billion dollars in damage and tarnished the reputation of Indian capital markets, as the basis for building their service. Elemential Labs deploys blockchain in its product Hardon to manage and ensure immutability of complex financial data. The National Stock Exchange of India recently tested e-voting on the company’s platform. The team had previously worked on projects run by the Reserve Bank of India, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
In terms of valuation, Singapore-based Qtum Foundation has one of the highest on this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list, coming in at $250 million. Founder Patrick Dai considers his platform for building decentralized applications an Ethereum challenger. The foundation claims to have 1.5 million users globally and more than 50 DApps (decentralized apps) on Qtum, and include partners such as Amazon and Google Cloud. His eponymous digital currency has a market cap of $218 million according to CoinMarketCap, and consistently ranks in the top 30 most traded cryptos. Dai worked for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba before striking out on his own.
Another Singapore-based company in the blockchain space is investment firm FutureMoney Ventures founded by Siyu (Steven) Li. The $12 million fund that started in 2017 focuses on investing in disruptive technology, namely digital assets. The former private banker says in-depth research combined with his methodology has helped the fund achieve a 32% return last year, outperforming 90% of its peers in 2018. According to the company, its in the process of establishing a new blockchain fund with China Bridge Capital, which Li says will bring $30 million of assets under management. To build blockchain awareness, Li conducts trainings with Family Offices and high net worth clients from UOB and JPM in South Asia.
Out to disrupt the fintech and e-commerce space is Jian Kai (Jake) Goh, CEO and founder of Rate. The flagship product RateX is a browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes to detect the best exchange rate at checkout. Rate raised $15 million in a token sale for its blockchain project Rate3 in August 2018. Rate3 is a decentralized dual protocol covering asset-tokenization and identity management, helping to improve transaction speed and lower costs. RateX’s merchants include Amazon, Lazada, ASOS and Forever 21. The company counts Node Capital, FBG, Fenbushi and Matrix Partners China among its investors.