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Conversation
Highlights

  • Kalpesh’s Background: Growing up in Mumbai, Kalpesh embarked on a journey to the United States with dreams of engineering but soon found his calling in revolutionizing the credit system.
  • The Genesis of Deserve: Stemming from personal struggles with accessing credit as an international student, Kalpesh outlines how Deserve was born out of necessity, aiming to provide a fair credit opportunity for students and young professionals who are often overlooked by traditional financial institutions.
  • Transitioning from B2C to B2B: Deserve’s pivot from a direct-to-consumer approach to offering its platform as a service to businesses is highlighted as a strategic move that not only broadened its impact but also solidified its position in the financial technology landscape.
  • Navigating Growth and Challenges: Kalpesh shares insights into Deserve’s growth trajectory, including overcoming recent challenges in the crypto space and adapting to the evolving needs of the credit card industry.
  • Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising: The conversation sheds light on how Deserve secured investments from notable entities like Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, and Visa, underscoring the importance of storytelling and strategic vision in fundraising.
  • Vision for the Future: Looking ahead, Kalpesh envisions Deserve expanding globally, continuing to innovate the credit card experience, and leveraging emerging technologies like generative AI to enhance financial services.
  • Entrepreneurial Insights: Offering advice to aspiring founders, Kalpesh emphasizes the importance of persistence, resilience, and being prepared for the rollercoaster journey of entrepreneurship.

Actionable
Takeaways

Pivot When Necessary but Stay Mission-Focused

Deserve's shift from B2C to B2B was a strategic move that broadened its impact and market reach. Founders should remain flexible in their approach but steadfast in their mission, recognizing when a pivot can leverage their core technology to capture a larger market share.

Strategic Partnerships are Key for Scale:

Deserve's partnerships with giants like Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, and Visa highlight the importance of strategic alliances in scaling a business. B2B founders should actively seek partnerships that can enhance product offerings, extend market reach, and lend credibility.

Storytelling is Critical in Fundraising:

Kalpesh's success in securing significant investments underscores the importance of effective storytelling in fundraising. Founders need to craft compelling narratives that not only highlight the potential of their technology but also connect emotionally with investors.

Invest in Technology that Future-Proofs Your Business

The discussion about leveraging generative AI for enhancing Deserve's services points towards the necessity of adopting emerging technologies. Founders should stay ahead of the curve by investing in technologies that can provide a competitive edge and address future market needs.

Prepare for Long-term Commitment in Competitive Markets:

The insight into the competitive and regulatory challenges of the lending space reveals the importance of patience and long-term planning. Founders entering highly regulated or competitive markets must be prepared for extended timelines to profitability and success, emphasizing the need for sustained innovation and customer focus.

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