Meet Women In Blockchain Swati Joshi, Founder & CEO: Loyela Protocol
“Experiment and learn constantly. I read a lot of books to get new ideas and to learn new ways of doing things. I was new to blockchain till about a couple of years ago, but I made sure to attend events and read about it so I could learn. I decided to start Loyela as an experiment to see if I could solve a real business problem, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Swati Joshi, Founder and CEO of Loyela Protocol. Loyela is a Singapore-based company working on revolutionizing the rewards and loyalty market. It uses blockchain to create a secure infrastructure which enables these programs to be scalable and interoperable, while also providing the option to consumers to own their data and monetize it. The company has seen strong interest with 30+ merchants having signed up to their platform.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I am an engineer by background and worked in big corporates for almost 8 years. I found those jobs too narrow in their scope and constantly struggled to persuade my managers to let me try different things. However, when you work for mammoth companies, you’re expected to stick to your domains. During the time that I was pregnant in 2015, I wondered about the legacy that I would be leaving in the world. I wanted to do more than what my corporate job was allowing me to do. So I decided to pursue entrepreneurship and set up my first business when I was 6 months pregnant! It took me a while to figure out what the focus of my entrepreneurial journey would be, but since I have found my niche, it’s been a very rewarding and exciting journey.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
I am currently working on Loyela, which is a customer loyalty protocol based on the blockchain, AI and data analytics. As a shopper myself, I do not find any loyalty program on the market worth my time. None of them excite me enough to care about them, rewards are always too difficult to get. And there are too many of them! Clearly, somebody needs to do something about making loyalty programs more exciting, especially since loyalty and customer retention can be very valuable for business growth. Loyela aims to do exactly that while appealing to younger consumers too who spend a lot of their time online and on social channels. The loyalty program is backed by powerful insights based on profile and location to create highly targeted marketing campaigns.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband has been extremely supportive of all that I have done and been able to achieve so far in my business journey. He has been a friend, mentor, and critic, somebody whom I can count for sound advice. He’s the person who listens to me every day about all my struggles and can still provide valuable advice. When you’re an entrepreneur (and especially a mother) you need a strong support system at home to ensure things run smoothly!
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
What really excites me about blockchain and crypto is 1. The promise of Democratization of wealth 2. It’s applications to some very fundamental areas such as governance, charity, and humanitarian work. Its ability to change the way we inherently work and do business 3. Its ability to disintermediate, which means processes can become more efficient and quick 4. Fraud-proof capabilities. It is auditable and difficult to tamper with 5. I love how it has fostered such a huge culture of change and entrepreneurship among people who are now using this technology to solve some long-standing issues.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
The things that worry me are 1. Too many people who don’t know much about the technology now claim to be experts. This is true especially in the ICO space where it is amazing how many advisors you can find! 2. It’s attracting a lot of easy money which means projects which should never have been funded have been. 3. Retail investors who really do not understand investing at all may lose a lot of money through crypto’s volatility 4. It’s a fledgling technology which needs good talented people to find useful applications and work on it without too much pressure and scrutiny or government interference 5. It needs more time to find its way and some people are getting impatient and writing off the technology as all hype and no good. There will be some experiments that fail, but there will be some that succeed and can change the way we work drastically.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
My husband and I have long supported under-privileged children through World Vision, sponsoring several children to get the education and basic needs. Even in Loyela, we are introducing charity-based rewards — giving people the ability to donate to charitable causes through the rewards points they earned through shopping.
What 3 things would you advise someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
My advice to someone who wants to follow my path is to
1. Experiment and learn constantly. I read a lot of books to get new ideas and to learn new ways of doing things. I was new to blockchain till about a couple of years ago, but I made sure to attend events and read about it so I could learn. I decided to start Loyela as an experiment to see if I could solve a real business problem, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people.
2. Not to take the norm too seriously. Sometimes we have biases in our head which prevent us from taking the next steps. Like we tell ourselves that women can’t do technology, or that mothers can’t run businesses. It’s difficult, but not impossible. You can make your choices and find ways that work for you.
3. Find ways to delegate and balance. This is a problem with many working mothers. The guilt is very real. I tell myself that I won’t be a happy mother if I am not contributing to the world through my work — so it’s important that I do that too. I delegate house chores where I can and try to spend quality time with my child at home, even if it’s just a few hours.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I would love to have a meal with Elon Musk. I find his vision and his intelligence very compelling. He is one person who thinks far beyond what others even think possible. I would love to share some ideas and hear his thoughts in person!