The Georgetown FinTech Spotlight aims to shine a light on the great work of our students, alumni, and leaders leveraging technology to transform the financial services industry.
This month, we caught up with Harsh Thakker of Finnex, a student-run business that is building a blockchain-enabled mobile wallet for the unbanked.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: My name is Harsh Thakker and I am the co-founder and CEO of Finnex. I’m an undergraduate student in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service majoring in International Politics. I'm originally from Richmond, VA and have had a passion for technology and coding since around sixth grade.
Q: What is Finnex?
A: Finnex is a blockchain company tackling inefficiencies in the financial services industry. We're currently experimenting with the ways blockchain technology can improve services such as microfinance and point of sale interfaces.
Q: Why did you start Finnex?
A: I founded Finnex in 2017 with the goal of creating a peer-to-peer lending platform. Since then, we have pivoted a few times, but the original vision remains unchanged: we aim to promote financial inclusion at all levels and add new sources of value to the world.
Q: What sparked your interest in blockchain?
A: Blockchain really interests me because I have always been a free-markets kinda guy. There are a lot of problems with creating and maintaining trust, access, and competition in banking. Blockchain changes all of that by acting as a neutral arbiter. As a result, it is a perfect fit for banking the unbanked.
Q: What has been the greatest highlight at Finnex thus far?
A: Our greatest highlight was the moment we merged our resources with another team that shared our vision. This allowed us to add a new product category and begin pursuing funding in earnest.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge at Finnex?
A: Definitely keeping up with the pace of the space. It is challenging to keep an eye on competitors and regulators while trying to maintain our sense of direction.
Q: What are your goals in 2018 and beyond?
A: We hope to launch our payments platform by the end of the year, which will pave the way for our financial inclusion initiatives in 2019.
Q: What advice would you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs at Georgetown?
A: The best piece of advice that I have is just jump right in. Contact anyone and everyone you know who might have even the slighted interest in learning about your idea. Work your network to the max to find new teammates and make sure you keep up with all of the contacts that you make because you'll never know when you might need to add a new team member very quickly. Moreover, stick to your goals as opposed to becoming married to any single idea. We launched this project about six months ago and have already pivoted several times. Change is inevitable, so you might as well embrace it.
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