As founder of Bondevalue Pte Ltd — a company that is bringing transparency to bonds — Rahul Banerjee is completing a year of his FinTech venture. In this interview, he shares lessons learned during his ongoing entrepreneur journey.
Tell me a little about yourself
I grew up in India, my father was an Air Force Officer, so we moved around across various cities. After my MBA I joined Citi bank and have worked as a banker for the next decade and a half, working across India, Hong Kong and Singapore, specializing in bonds and fixed income.
What is your business venture about?
The Bonds markets are opaque and Individual investors are at a disadvantage, we are providing them with the decision tools and pricing that only institutions could access till now.
What is your mission at the outset?
To bring transparency to bonds.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I had spent my entire career in the institutional Fixed Income markets which is quite efficient, using technology I wish bring the same efficiency to the retail segment
What is unique about your business?
Bonds are the largest asset class in the world and yet one that is hard to understand. Individuals get over-charged thousands for dollars by the people they trade with. With our monthly subscriptions, we save our users a lot of money and also help them become better portfolio managers of their wealth.
Likewise, we are useful to Private Banks and Family offices that wish to improve the quality and efficiency of their bond advisory process or tighten up their reduce the risk of in-appropriate sales.
Our team has real traders that make prices just like they would in a big bank, and technology allows you to get direct access to our expertise. So instead of us covering just 5 or 10 institutions in the classical banking model we share our expertise with many more investors.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
We sell to HNI clients and to the companies that market to them like Private banks and multi family offices. We don’t sell to asset managers and refuse to onboard them.
We share our knowledge about bonds and if it resonates with people they sign up with us.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
The need to stay abreast or ahead of the bond market is important and continuous. With the Fed increasing rates bonds are in for a volatile ride ahead.
What have been the biggest obstacles?
We have created all our IP in Singapore and we are not a replica of a valley based model like many other companies. Being a pioneer means that one has to face a lot of challenges. It is fun and rewarding but the dearth of comparables has been a hindrance.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Please hire quality talent, Fintech is a pure IP business and a great team is essential.
Believe in the model and the value you are creating, there will be a lot of tough moments in a start up. During those dark moments nothing but you and your teams self-belief will take you across.
Lastly have fun, the journey is the destination.
Do you have any final thoughts?
I am very excited to be part of the Singapore Fintech Ecosystem, what is being created here by the MAS is very very special. The community has banks, the universities, tech companies, funds and incubators all melding their knowledge and expertise to unleash fintech. I foresee this becoming a global hug like Detroit for Autos or the Valley chip manufacturers.
Bondevalue is a Singapore based Fintech company that focuses on Asian bond markets. Unlike equities which have already been digitally disrupted, bonds have remained unchanged for decades, with private bank clients unable to access live prices. Bondevalue levels the playing field for them via the simplicity and convenience of a mobile app, and with the price transparency, lowers the transaction cost of bonds.
Hock Lai has 18 years of experience in the financial industry, having performed roles in both business and technology. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (Real Estate), Nanyang Technological University (Infocomm Technology) and Nanyang Polytechnic (Fund Management & Administration).
He is also a Fellow of the Singapore University of Social Science, advisor to FinTech Startups and mentor to student FinTech projects.
Latest posts by Chia Hock Lai (see all)
- Networking Your Way in FinTech – Heng Wui Liang - July 10, 2017
- Removing Pain from Last Mile Payments – Jeffrey Lam - July 3, 2017
- Making FX Trading Faster and Cheaper – Wong Joo Seng - June 26, 2017