Neha Soni, Blockchain Queen
Neha Soni is an Indian entrepreneur with offices in the US and a global customer base, known for her work revolutionizing marketing with AI and her Blockchain work.
When we chatted, she was back in her native India, where some of her team are still based, as she candidly tells me, they are exceptionally efficient, and the US would be four times as expensive.
I had to confess to complete ignorance when it came to blockchains, so I did a little research just in case anyone is as ignorant as me.
I tended to associate Blockchain with cryptocurrency, but the technology can impact on broad sectors, from government institutions to finance and health and in different ways. It enables the decentralization of currencies and financial transactions and data and information storage. It is perceived as free of censorship and unable to be corrupted. So it goes a lot further than just cryptocurrency.
The tech behind it was invented in 2008, the name meaning a chain of blocks, and the original intent was for it to be a ledger for the cryptocurrency bitcoin. But it was a decade earlier that the early seeds were being sown for better data storage and decentralizing currency with Bit Gold, which never came into being. In 2000, one of the key figures in the development, Stefan Konst, published a theory of cryptographically controlled chains and ways to implement it.
However, Satoshi Nakamoto (a name suspected to be a pseudo name for the real inventor or inventors) conceptualized Blockchain for the first time in 2008. A year later, this design was implemented as the ledger for the cryptocurrency bitcoin, electronic cash, which became available to the public for the first time.
Blockchain 2.0 is the technology when it is used in other ways than currency. Ethereum uses computer programs introduced into the blocks for bonds and contracts and can be used in any industry. A Russian-Canadian programmer and cryptocurrency researcher, called Vitalik Buterin, was the first to produce a white paper on Ethereum. Buterin is credited as its co-founder and also the publisher of Bitcoin Magazine.
Neha graduated in 2015 with a BTech from the College in India, studying computer engineering. She went to work for IBM as a Subject Matter Expert using business intelligence data science. She stayed for three years and learned about Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain while she was there.
At this point, she felt ready to start her own company. Initially, she started with a partner, and they raised $2.5m in investment from an Angel investor, but Neha left it to work on her dream solo startup.
Instead, Neha started Corum8 Group, specializes in blockchain, AI, cryptocurrency development, news coverage and data driven growth hack marketing..
Neha started it as a software company dealing in Blockchain and cryptocurrency, and it has diversified from thee. Being a consultancy, she did not have to turn to outside investment, and by the time she had 200 customers, it was profitable enough to fund all its expansion. Her profit margin is an exceptionally healthy 80%, so she could soon achieve this and build the team’s experience in private and public Blockchains like Hyperledger fabric, sawtooth, Indy, Iroha, R3, Corda, Quorum, Ethereum, Stellar, EOS, NEO, Steemit.
They help businesses with enterprise Blockchain, AI, and Growth hacking. Neha says her customers were regularly asking her help with AI and on marketing, so it was a logical diversification to expand into this area.
While working with companies across the globe with IBM, Neha had seen many companies with fantastic products failing to make enough sales and was sure that AI could change that. Most companies do not have this sort of know-how to develop marketing that could be so much more effective and save them so much money.
Expanding, they became able to help customers with sharp and targeted marketing, applied for lead generation, and sales through the Corum8 store. They will also market Blockchain for crypto enthusiasts on their vast database through various methods.
They help businesses with B2B marketing developed through AI. Their specially written scripts use a combination of public data and sentiment analysis to target their messages more effectively, which Neha describes as growth hacking.
She explained that many people are struggling to do social media, trying desperately to reach enough people and the right people. With Neha’s help, it is possible to reach over 50,000 a month. What they do is all data-driven, using only data that is all in the public domain and using several boards to pick up the data,
Another aspect she provides for customers is media coverage. Once you appear somewhere like Forbes and have that on your web site, it is instant credibility with possible customers. For a set fee, Neha’s company can make this happen.
They have also developed a Blockchain – AI product for the supply chain called Deeptrace, which they estimate can save companies up to 45% on cost and resources and 33% on time and cost. It also protects from fraud and increases security.
The next gap Neha spotted was to provide for students wanting to learn both how to trade cryptocurrency and how to analyze it so that they did not lose money. So Neha created a third arm, the Corum8 Academy. Here, they offer online learning courses to learn more about Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and Etherium.
The Future – for Neha & Blockchain:
I asked Neha if she felt that cryptocurrency would continue to be as strong in the future. She told me that there are now seven thousand currencies in the market, and businesses have 230 billion invested in the crypto market, so the answer is yes. She believes it is desperately needed.
The pandemic has meant that Neha has seen between 4- and 5-times growth in business overall. Retails especially have been converting to e-commerce and needing web sites and marketing help. Bitcoin is booming, and so is e-leaning. People are desperately trying to learn new skills and new ways of making money. Companies also keen to upskill their staff and are investing in increasing knowledge in the digital world. Individuals want to learn how they can turn 2 dollars into ten by dealing in cryptocurrency.
Neha has big plans for Corum8. She has seen that many start-ups cannot afford agencies, so she is developing a freelancer platform similar to Fivrr but more refined. She believes companies will flock to use its services, not least because payments will be escrowed, and funds will be kept safe until the customer is happy. Equally, it will be a platform where the people she trains at the academy can use their skills and regain the money have invested in her course several times over.
Neha says she intends to be globally renowned in all things IT related.
Neha’s Advice to other Entrepreneurs:
The first thing Neha says she leaned in business what to stop trying to do everything herself. Neha thought doing everything was what she had to do when she started, and it took her a while to realize she was completely wrong.
Secondly, she learned that you have to look for the best people, people who are better than you are within their personal skill-set. You will then need to learn another skill, which is the art of managing people with better skills than you.
Finally, there is another art of closing sales. You must not talk about yourself at all to close a successful deal. Every word has to be about the customer and the ROI they will get. Only then will your sales and marketing pay off.
If you are looking at different ways of investment or raising investment, you might be interested in reading about Oliver Woolley and his company Envestors