What It Takes to Build a Unicorn – An Entrepreneur’s Journey

FalconX is one of the largest and fastest growing digital asset brokerages. Its valuation sits around $675M. Trading volume increased 12 times over and its net revenue spiked 46 times in the past year. This is a market pegged for meteoric growth and FalconX has positioned itself at the forefront. Raghu Yarlagadda, co-founder and CEO, is the brains behind this ‘startup’, but we ask what of his journey to get to where he is today? Karim Nurani, Linqto’s CSO, sat down with Raghu to learn about his path to today and why Raghu believes a people-first focus will always trump product.

The Journey Begins
“Raghu you are not doctor material.” This is what Raghu’s father told Raghu when he was young. Raghu comes from a family of doctors, but his father recognised that Raghu’s talents lay in a different arena – engineering. From an early age Raghu was passionate about engineering, he enjoyed the potential it allowed him to tackle a very complex problem, dissect it into manageable sub threads, and create something of value to society. 

At the University of Texas, he fell in love with video image processing – this is the art of how you take high-definition video, process it, and transform it so you can broadcast it over distances. This passion took him to Motorola, as an engineer there he helped pioneer high definition video transmission over IP stack, laying the technical foundation for many popular video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. 

The Crossroads
Raghu’s real crossroads moment came after graduating from Harvard Business School where he had to decide whether to embark on a product idea that he was very passionate about or follow an exceptional individual – Sundar Pichai – and thereby join Google. Inspired by Sundar and his vision of how the world is shaping up, Raghu decided to reinforce his thinking that building great products oftentimes is a manifestation of great relationships with people. The gravity field around Sundar was unbelievable; this saw Raghu join Google and put his own startup idea aside. 

The Lessons
On Sundar’s Chrome OS team, he led efforts to scale Chromebooks to over $3B in revenue for Google and its partners. Here are 2 key things he learnt:

  1. Start with people – build a team that’s an excellent complement. This is the foundation for building a unicorn company. 
  2. Product building is the pursuit of truth, therefore start with data, use it to refine your gut instinct and then move incredibly fast. 

It’s with these lessons that he has built and scaled and is scaling FalconX. Listen in to find out how and why Raghu sees FalconX as the ‘connecting tissue’ in a tokenized world; how it helps institutions with all the things that you need with digital assets and how, not surprisingly, the biggest challenge ahead is hiring.

Tune in to this podcast and find out more.

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