ASQI, India’s most promising blockchain technology startup, has raised $ 1 million in pre-series A funding. The round was led by Founders Room Capital, a leading early-stage investor headed by Uday Sodhi (Senior Partner, Kurate Digital; ex-Head Sony Liv), Manish Agarwal (CEO, Nazara Technologies) and Jasmeet Singh Gandhi (Head Global Business Development, Clevertap). Anupam Mittal (Founder, Shaadi.com/People Group) was also an investor in this round.
With a vision to bring blockchain into mainstream finance, ASQI is building a public blockchain called Newrl. It is an asset tokenization and lending platform aided by smart contracts, aimed at fractionalization, trading and use as collateral of standard assets like stocks, bonds, properties, intangible assets like brands, IP and other novel digital assets.
Swapnil Pawar, Founder, ASQI said, “The funding will help us further decentralize and strengthen Newrl as a regulation-compliant blockchain with legally sound tokenization and KYC built right into the protocol layer. Having set up a solid foundation, our aim is to onboard application layer partners on the platform. The funding further reinforces the faith of our investors in our vision of bringing the revolutionary web3 technology into mainstream finance for financial inclusion and empowerment of individuals and small businesses.”
Founded in July 2019, ASQI plans on using the funding for technological development and refinement of their blockchain platform, Newrl. As a start, ASQI aims to decentralize the $900 billion personal and small business lending in the US, using blockchain, followed by a similar feat in the $1.5 trillion global counterpart of it.
“We believe that Web 3.0 blockchain technologies will enable creation of “trust networks”. Such trust networks will usher in future of new age cooperative banks and we are passionate about this future which ASQI is building at global scale. We eagerly look forward to launch of “peer to peer” lending with tokens of real world assets as underlying securities by ASQI in US, UK markets.” added Manish Agarwal of Founders Room Capital.
While NFTs and cryptocurrencies have got a lot of attention in recent years, the non-crypto uses of blockchain technology are still in a nascent stage. Newrl is designed to address these use-cases given its emphasis on fully KYC-compliant users and adherence to law of the land of each jurisdiction. For example, using Newrl, small businesses can easily raise equity or debt funding in fiat currency and thin-file borrowers can get access to regular credit, using peer-group inputs besides financial data.
“ASQI is embarking on a very interesting journey with its unique focus on non-crypto assets. Having seen the sharp jump in adoption of web2.0 technology in my earlier work, I believe we are now at the cusp of a dramatic shift in the way we do lending and investing using web3.0 technologies. Newrl as a mainstream DeFi chain is well-positioned to be at the leading edge of this shift.” Added Anupam Mittal.
Other investors in the seed round include DMI Alternative Investment Fund – The Sparkle Fund, Maninder Gulati, Global chief strategy officer, OYO, Arun Duggal, ex-CEO of Bank of America in India, Zishaan Hayath, Founder & CEO, Toppr, Ashish Goel, Co-Founder & CEO, Urban Ladder, Saurabh Garg, Co-Founder & CBO, NoBroker.in, Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl, Chief Operating Officer, BharatPe, Manu Chandra, Founder & Managing Partner, Sauce.vc, and Aditya Pittie (MD & CEO-Pittie Group).