Current pace of regulatory changes is putting pressure on firms to meet their risk management and compliance needs across various emerging and developed markets. At the same time, tech led disruption is driving need for transformation and resulting in workforce displacement resulting in more and more people with domain expertise having to voluntarily or involuntarily look out for flexible work options.
Rajit Punshi is the Founder of ORP2b, the first “peer-2-business” (P2b) interactive full service marketplace to match client needs with vetted Risk, Compliance & Transformation (RCT) expertise and solutions, anytime and anywhere. He shares his entrepreneurial journey with us against the above backdrop and tells us how he intends to make ORP2b the preferred marketplace of choice for RCT experts and clients, whilst focusing on a much bigger and broader purpose.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Rajit Punshi and I am the Founder of ORP2b, a tech venture of “The Operational Risk Practice Pte. Ltd.” (ORP), a Singapore based startup established by me in 2011 after a banking career of 21+ years with Standard Chartered. My entrepreneurial passion coupled with 25+ years for experience working with clients and experts in the Risk, Compliance & Transformation (RCT) space, has provided me with a good understanding of the problems grappling the industry (from a demand and supply side) and the solution needed to help address the same.
What is your business venture about?
From a traditional consulting and training firm (i.e. ORP) , our business model has evolved into a highly scaleable cloud based marketplace platform (ORP2b) offering P2b expert hiring, training solutions and tech products/enablers to clients with needs in the RCT space. Our product launch comes on the back of a successful track record of business origination, matching client needs with right experts and training solutions and ensuring successful delivery of key outcomes across key markets in South East Asia, Middle East, UK and US. New and old clients (several of whom have given us repeat business) are transitioning to the new platform along with our growing pool of experts.
What is your mission at the outset?
Our mission is to make ORP2b the curated trusted platform of choice for experts and clients in the RCT domain. Through ORP2b, we are building the RCT ecosystem, giving recognition and flexible work options to domain experts, matching client needs with vetted expertise and providing an enhanced user experience by leveraging our track record and latest technology developments.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
The ORP2b platform/business model is the outcome of a successful bricks and mortar “proof-of-concept” that we went through during the last couple of years. Our business model and platform offering incorporates the very unique, valuable insights and lessons learnt from originating, executing and delivering RCT projects for clients across South East Asia, Middle East and UK, US leveraging our pool of 75+ experts. Over the last few years we have adapted our business model to the operating environment changes and responded to client needs.
Having come from the domain side we understand the RCT domain, opportunities and challenges. ORP2b was the logical way for us to scale up our bricks and mortar business, create more opportunities for our growing pool of experts and meet client needs in a timely and efficient (cycle times are shorter) manner. Our successful execution track record, pool of experts and client base with repeat business gave us the confidence to transit to a highly scaleable, platform-driven business model. The value-add of going down this route as opposed to a straight product development route has been immense.
What is unique about your business?
Our uniqueness stems from several angles including our journey from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar, our platform structure and offering which is disruptive, scaleable and has some very exciting features that allow for enhanced user experience through superior algorithmic matching, gamification, personal dashboards, vetting and rating of experts, API integration, SAAS solutioning.
Additionally, as we help clients run their business well and achieve their objectives and needs in the RCT space, we are playing a key part in helping transform their risk and compliance culture. Last but not least, we are building and developing a community of RCT experts and becoming part of a broader societal solution to the challenge of changing work force patterns.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
Our clients are financial and non-financial services firms and intermediaries across the end-to-end value chain and emerging, developed markets. We source our clients through our network, sales and marketing, word of mouth, referrals, industry presence and also governmental agencies.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
A number of our clients give us repeat business. Quality of experts, experiential sharing, timely deliverable of key outcomes, our nimbleness, quick response times, transparency and personal touch are key drives for repeat business. We have had to earn every penny of this and continue to do so.
What have been the biggest obstacles?
When i started off in 2011, the whole entrepreneurial eco-system (as it exists today) was at its very early stage of formation. This coupled with our domain focus meant that there weren’t too many firms that we could relate with/to. Our insights and lessons learnt have been through repeated instances of falling and getting back on our feet and learning by getting our hands dirty.
ORP (and ORP2b the product) is a bootstrapped venture of mine. As we now look to expanding and scaling ORP2b, our biggest obstacle(s) as I see it include funding, gaining access to investors (strategic and funds) in this part of the world (who are willing to truly partner and invest in business models and marketplaces such as ours) and penetrating new markets.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
The entrepreneurial journey requires dedication, passion, sacrifice and perseverance. It is important to understand what “risk taking” means in reality. Not everyone will succeed in year one. Stick it out, keep getting up after falling, have faith and be authentic. It is important to have your family behind you all the way, believe in yourself and listen to your “gut”.
Do you have any final thoughts?
My journey has been hugely enriching and transformational. Through my journey i have met some amazing people along the way and realised that there is a bigger purpose to what i am doing. Having a great team and advisor(s) is key to ensuring success.
Who is your biggest inspiration or drive to do what you are doing?
The biggest driver for me lies in knowing that whilst we are creating a great product, we are also making a huge difference to people’s lives by providing flexible work options providing help where it is needed. The human impact of the technology led disruption is high, not easily understood and humbling.
Through ORP2b we are privileged to have the opportunity of being part of the solution. Our growth ambitions are high and we are impatient because we know we can make the difference to clients, partners, experts, investors and broader society.
What’s next for you and for ORP2b?
We have an exciting journey ahead of us with ORP2b. We are seeking investors who are aligned to our vision and will support us through our journey, we will continually enhance our product offering and experience, we are building a great team, we will source the best RCT expertise and solutions and continue to meet client needs across markets anytime, anywhere. We will share our experience and journey along the way. We will do all of this and more with humility, gratitude and a strong determination to succeed and make a difference.
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.
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