C.R. Venkatesh is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He is best known for building Dot Com Infoway, now one of the world’s leading IT companies, from the ground up, for which the company has received numerous recognitions. His most recent ventures include Thooya Innovations, an initiative seeking to provide better public toilets to the Indian public at large, and Minnal, an NFT marketplace focusing on the Indian entertainment industry. This is his first foray into the NFT industry and the metaverse.
In an exclusive interaction with Startup Terminal, C.R. Venkatesh shares with us the story of his entrepreneurial journey, future roadmap, and latest technology trends.
Here are edited excerpts:
ST: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and start your own venture?
C.R. Venkatesh: Firstly, I’m a movie lover – that’s the main reason. It doesn’t take a lot to be inspired by the stories that films tell about struggle and success. Of course, it’s easy to admire the actors in most movies, who are themselves inspiring based on the characters they portray, their acting skills, and what they do in real life.
I also have a deep love for technology and innovations. The rise of the NFT industry and blockchain is truly noteworthy for anyone who’s into the latest technologies that are driving society and culture at large.
ST: Please briefly introduce your venture to our readers, and how the concept developed from inception.
C.R. Venkatesh: Minnal is, first and foremost, both a primary and secondary NFT marketplace focusing on celebrities and directors in both the film and music industries. With it, people can buy exclusive NFTs of celebrities that they admire.
It also serves as a bridge to connect fans with celebrities.
I have to say that the two main factors I mentioned above (my deep love for the Indian movie industry and my natural passion for technology) motivated me to start Minnal.
We’re also always keeping track of trends. It’s not hard to see that the NFT industry offers plenty of adaptabilities when it comes to the niches you can work in. It didn’t take long for our team to connect the dots and focus on content provided by local celebrities.
ST: How has been your entrepreneurial journey so far?
C.R. Venkatesh: As a founder of Minnal, there’s still definitely plenty of work to do. I look at this journey with great expectancy since I see plenty of potential in the industry. But as an entrepreneur as a whole, I can safely say that I’m more seasoned now. Still, my sense of wonder for new things to explore and learn has never waned.
ST: What team size did you start with and how big is your team at present?
C.R. Venkatesh: Right now, we are a team of 6 people, and we started with that number.
ST: As per Gartner, about 25% of people will be spending at least one hour a day on the metaverse by 2026. How do you see the future of the metaverse?
C.R. Venkatesh: I see it becoming a wholly independent place where people can connect and share experiences in totally different ways. I say this because it fits well with the leading and promising technologies at present.
In the short-term future, I expect more integration of virtual reality and augmented reality that will make those fresh, engaging experiences possible. I expect the investment and trading potentials to only become more robust in the future.
In the long-term, I look forward to its incorporation of ground-breaking technology like brain-computer interfaces that could very well replace the norm. It’s an industry that was founded to challenge the status quo, so it’s only right to expect nothing less than revolutionary potential from it.
ST: How did you scale your business up and what are your near-future plans?
C.R. Venkatesh: We’re largely still in the growth phase. We’re already dropping the first sets of limited edition NFTs of Arya who believed in our platform and our vision. This will be followed by NFT drops of Megha Akash and Music Director Ghibran.
We’re also constantly developing our platform, particularly our smart contracts, addressing bugs and how we can boost security further. Improvement doesn’t really stop post-launch and NFT marketplaces are no different.