Recently UAE based investment firm O1EX made what some would considera sizable investment in Cashaa, the Blockchain based NEO bank entity. UNLOCK interviewed Gaurav Dubey, Founder and CEO of O1EX to learn more about their investments in Cashaa, their Blockchain and crypto investments thus far and their future plans.
As Dubey explains, “ O1EX targets crypto and token investments, our technology accelerator based in India, ITH Technologies holds a versatile portfolio of tech startups both hardware, software and deep tech, so we are not limited to just blockchain and crypto in India, while our operations here in UAE are focused on tokens, crypto, and blockchain.”
O1EX chose UAE as a base because of its advanced ecosystem and its regulations especially given that India still has not regulated crypto. O1EX has made large investments in TopNetwork, Coti, BCT Blockchain terminal, Spring Role, and Cashaa. Dubey states, “We made investments in projects and partial exists, for example Coti is now listed on Binance and is considered best performing asset. With big investments returns exits are 5X with crypto investments you can get exits of 50 or 100 times.”
Dubey adds, “We are based in Dubai and for us it is closer than Mumbai, convenient which makes one do more.”
As for their investment in Cashaa Dubey considers the 5 million not as a large investment given that Cashaa is a working product that is fueling the biggest enterprises in the crypto world. He explains, “ When we invested in Cashaa we invested in a stable company with products and clients, Neo Banking is heating up and the other NEO banks have received even more funding seven eight figures. Some have invested 50 million in hyper growth ecosystems like NEO banking so we consider this as a seed investment in Cashaa and will witness bigger investments in the coming 6 months in Cashaa.”
As for the type of equity that O1EX has in Cashaa, Dubey stated that it is a token equity deal in the UAE as this is the only mandate O1EX has in Dubai. Dubey is looking forward to Cashaa’s product rollout coming out in the next six months and as such the investment is a strategic one. Cashaa is also using the funds to expand into India, and the Caribbean. Dubey states, “ We have been working with regulators in the Caribbean as many crypto holders have domiciled accounts there, yet banking infrastructure is lacking, so we think crypto holders there deserve better banking as they now are utilizing banks in Hong Kong and other parts of Europe.”
When it comes to Cashaa and its expansion in India, Dubey believes that it will go smoothly as NEO banking startups in India have raised multiple of millions of dollars and are working closely with banking sector and regulators.
Since O1EX is not a fund or family office, but rather utilizes the profits from ITH Technology’s equity stake in tech startups, Dubey could not provide an exact investment amount that O1EX will be spending. However, he commented that they will be aggressively investing in DeFi, in partnership with TradeDog accelerator in UK. He states, “TradeDog will be launching XBTC on UNISWAP as part of TDFive accelerator where they were nurtured in terms of regulatory, fiduciary and compliance licensing. The DeFi non fungible tokens will be the next big thing.”
In terms of the UAE, Dubey talked highly of two blockchain startups that although domiciled in the Caribbean have operations in the UAE. The first one is Biconomy, founded by Ahmed AL Balaghi. Biconomy is developing a platform (an SDK and dashboard) that utilizes the merits of meta transactions to allow end-users that are unfamiliar with crypto to seamlessly use dApps without them having to learn about wallets, crypto and paying transaction fees. Layer one Integration X Tezos
Dubey claims, “We have been close to the team of Biconomy, as a few other projects such as DiamondBack which is supported by SEED Group here in the UAE. So there are a few projects that we have been looking into that are functioning in UAE while maybe not stationed in the UAE.”
As for the future Dubey believes strongly that DeFi is the next big deal, or what some would call the next killer application, as realistically he believes that Bitcoin was the first killer application of the blockchain ecosystem. He states, “Finding the killer application will continue to be a life role because if it is ever really found half of morals will be dead.” He adds, “Crypto will change the shape of finance and DeFi is a major turn in that direction. It will bring together real world finance with digital DeFi and once that happens a new financial world will be created.”
In retrospect, IHT Technologies and O1EX have thus far been successful in their investments, with over 30 granted patents, and success rates of 80 to 85 percent. It will be interesting to see who they invest in next.