MonetaGo is a little different compared to many other blockchain startups. It hasn’t taken an eye-watering amount of funding, and it has a product and customers. Its initial offering is a fraud prevention solution for trade finance and was probably the first production blockchain solution in the sector.
Founder and CEO Jesse Chenard is an experienced and successful entrepreneur. He came across Bitcoin in 2014 and immediately saw the potential, though initially his focus was on cross-border payments. As a result, he traveled to several countries to sort out regulatory clearance. One of them was India.
There was a fair amount of pushback from banks as soon as Bitcoin came up as a topic. But when talking to Indian banks, he started to see an appetite for blockchain applications just as the Ethereum platform was in beta stage. But they kept raising the question ‘What does the Reserve Bank think of this?’
So Chenard approached the Reserve Bank and explained that there were potential use cases that did not touch payments, such as sharing information, know your customer (KYC), and trade finance. And he asked whether they would be open to a blockchain shared network for these applications. This resulted in MonetaGo taking part in a working group.
India isn’t short of software developers, but MonetaGo wasn’t looking to earn consulting fees. They were happy to build first and prove their case. Plus they provided free advice and feedback on the fly. That combined with the fact that Chenard has strong business development skills, gave them an edge.