Sabita Furtado is the co-founder of Kalhatti, a startup on the Tezos blockchain. Kalhatti is working to make it easy for people around the world to make small investments in global brands with no border restrictions and no transaction fees. I was able to catch up with Sabita at the recent she256 conference in Berkeley, CA and get her story.
How did you get into the blockchain space?
Two key aspects of blockchain drew me in:
Intellectual curiosity: One of the things that fascinates me is the intersection of various rigorous disciplines such as cryptography, p2p / consensus protocols, game theory, economic incentives, social engineering, legal vs. code contracts, etc… that are combined together to create a beautiful self-driving system based on an a priori set of rules.
Arc of decentralization: This is fascinating from an evolutionary standpoint . While a number of industries are at the throes of disruption, I am particularly fascinated with the impact of blockchain on broader society. How do the regulatory systems catch up with the tsunami of changes unleashed by blockchain? How do central banks and the governments learn to coexist with it? And if you stretch the arc far enough, how do the various social and legal institutions evolve?
Why did you start Kalhatti? What does it do?
Kalhatti’s vision is to enable cross-border fractional investment for any type of asset that can be bought by anyone anywhere in the world for as little as a dollar, a rupee, or a yuan.
Each of the team members comes from a different and rich point of view. While my reasons for starting Kalhatti are many, they center around trying to ensure a level playing field when it comes to access to financial assets and also a desire to make the process of asset acquisition easy. Growing up I saw my mom, who lives in India, invest in various financial instruments and it always was a cumbersome and tedious process. The process drowns you in paperwork, making a user want to run for the hills! Access to investing is also skewed towards individuals who are in a certain income bracket. To me that does not sit well. I believe in leveling the playing field for all individuals and the industrial engineer in me strives to make that process as efficient as possible.
What is your background? What led you to this?
My background has been in operations (Industrial & Systems engineering) and as such my focus has been in designing and enabling change through process efficiency. We strongly believe that blockchain is re-wiring the securities supply chain and there is a large opportunity to create a more lean and efficient system that could make global assets more accessible to a large segment of the world. Efficiency is not necessarily from a time perspective but from the number of hops/intermediaries/fees etc. The industry structure itself is based on assumptions and limitations that might no longer make sense. We also believe making the future happen today is done by working with the regulators and broader ecosystem. That is what strongly resonated with the optimizer in me.
Our primary concern is on safe-guarding our customer experience, identity, and data. We want a platform that is in line with those principles of longer term stability and durability. Tezos is the ideal fit. The on-chain governance provides a graceful way for the chain to evolve, while the explicit focus on secure and verifiable smart contracts adds that extra dimension of security. My co-founder has a longer note on this.
What has been the hardest thing to overcome?
For us the hardest thing to overcome is getting talent and staying on top of the space given the exponential pace of evolution. While they say entrepreneurship is like building a plane as you fly, this feels like not only building the plane while flying but also waiting for the parts of the plane to be built itself! Nevertheless, it is exhilarating.
How was the SHE(256) conference?
The conference was great. I think it took a lot of initiative to create the venue and to provide such a wide view of blockchain.
Was there a statement or speaker who stood out to you at the conference?
So many to choose from. I especially enjoyed the talks by Cathie Yun on TxVm’s approach to describing transactions and Mahnush Movahedi’s talk on the Byzantine General’s problem.
What can the blockchain ecosystem do to support women?
More events. Especially casual ones where women can build a tight knit community. When I started down this path I was faced with a deluge of information which was either highly technical or just barely skimmed the surface. It is easy to go down a rabbit hole that looks interesting without understanding the basic premise of blockchain and what it tries to do. Creating a clear cut path in getting relevant information which starts broad and goes into the various aspects affecting the ecosystem in an organized manner is important. I believe this will lead to more people finding interesting and relevant applications that can be solved using blockchain.
For more information on Sabita’s company Kalhatti, see their website at https://www.kalhatti.com/