By : Profectus Magazine / 15 Oct 2022 / Entrepreneur Story / Success Story
When it comes to gold, you will not find a more passionate guy than Gaurav Mathur. His vision and mission is to empower every player in the gold ecosystem – artisan, local jeweller, or customer – with technology solutions. He wants to bring an institutionalised change to a highly unorganised sector. He believes this will galvanise SafeGold into becoming a ‘Gold Bank’ – the first of its kind. Born and brought up in Delhi, Gaurav’s father worked for the Indian Railways.
He graduated from Delhi University in Economics and then went on to do his MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad. Right from childhood, he was academically strong and brought many laurels to his school and college. After completing his MBA, he was offered the position of Analyst at Deutsche Bank in London. From there he cut his teeth in the field of Valuation, Financial structuring, and Private Equity at JP Morgan. But after working for 7 years, he found the bureaucratic nature of big organizations to be slow and stifling. Following a fairly well-defined career path was not something he was keen on as he had always wanted to nurture something of his own. One of Gaurav’s life mantras is ‘if you have to get something done, it's better you do it yourself’. This caused a shift to where he ultimately decided to venture into entrepreneurship.
His first breakthrough was when he became Co-Founder of India Equity Partners with three others. He spent the next one and a half years on the road, trying to raise funds without drawing any salary. After 9 years, the four founders ultimately decided to go their separate ways. Afterwards, Gaurav knew he was not looking for another job and wanted to start a new venture. In the course of evaluating his future course of action, he remembered one of the companies he had invested in earlier - Manappuram Finance (a Gold Loan NBFC). He had seen it grow from a small venture to a substantial business over the years. His experience obtained from investing in Manappuram Finance and other similar firms convinced him that his next venture would be in gold finance.
His inspiration to start SafeGold came in 2016 when one day his mother asked him to deposit gold under the Gold Monetization Scheme. A google search on how to deposit gold under GMS directed him to a nearby SBI branch. That triggered a kafkaesque situation for him. After talking to 3-4 employees that day, he was told to go to a different branch. It took him 3 days to find the right branch. Finally, after jumping through all the hoops he came to know that for 30-40 grams of gold that he wanted to deposit, all he would get is half a percent in return amounting to INR 500. “I spent more in petrol than the interest I would have gotten,” remembers Gaurav.
He then added, “All I could think of after that was, this should not be that difficult”. Thus, SafeGold was born in 2017 - a leading Indian digital platform that allows customers to buy, sell and receive vaulted gold. It offers financial propriety of low ticket sizes and the convenience of buying at the touch of a button.
But every new venture suffers from growing pains and SafeGold was no exception. For almost one year, Gaurav struggled to find a suitable distributor for SafeGold. This was crucial as a viable distribution partner was the difference between his idea and the business ultimately generating revenue. But his persistence eventually paid off when PhonePe became the first distributor for SafeGold. This was to be a turning point in the business because once PhonePe came on board, other distributors also started lining up. From here, there was no looking back.
According to Gaurav, there are three things that differentiates SafeGold from its competitors. First, they are the only ones integrated with several large jewelers such as Tanishq and Kalyan. This allows customers to buy digital gold from SafeGold and seamlessly convert it into jewellery from reputed jewelers. Secondly, people have the freedom to gift digital gold from their platform to any other platform without inter-operability issues. Third and finally is their upcoming feature - GAINS - which will allow customers to lease their gold assets to MSME jewelers and earn yield in gold. It is the first-of-its-kind initiative in India that no other competitor in the space has.
“Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” - JP Morgan
Talking about government initiatives, Gaurav echoes the Prime Minister’s principle of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’. According to him, it is fundamental for enhancing ease of doing business in India. Also, GST implementation has been a boon for enhancing India’s economy as it has brought uniformity in taxation and helped in reducing the number of compliances. As far as GMS is concerned, he believes the intent behind it and the issue it sought to address were very relevant. But it missed out on execution because of low awareness and bureaucratic approach.
"If you have a dream you are responsible for protecting and nurturing it. If you want something, go out and get it. Persevere even when things don’t go your way; especially them. Don’t let anybody else tell you any different. People who go the extra mile tend to find success more often than not"
“My biggest inspiration in life has been Late Mr. Anshu Jain who was CEO of Deutsche Bank when I joined as an Analyst. He was the man responsible for hiring Indians directly from the IIM-A campus to London Office in 1998. Earlier, they used to hire for corporate office in Mumbai and then based on your performance you would get to go abroad. Although he was several levels above me, he always made a point to interact. From the basics of the job to the mundane stuff, his door was always open for conversation.” - Gaurav Mathur
TagsGaurav Mathur, SafeGold, Entrepreneur Story, Success Story, Gold, India, Digital Ecosystem, Home