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Taking Risks From Student Startup Founder to BlockChain Incubator Director

Jay Gujral


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Taking Risks From Student Startup Founder to BlockChain Incubator Director

Jay Gujral



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Jay Gujral BlockDojo
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About Jay Gujral

The BAE HQ welcomes Jay Gujral, the Managing Director of BlockDojo, the UK's first blockchain incubator.

Jay has an obsession with growth and doesn't like sitting still. This led him to create his first startup while still at uni. He went on to sell GradSeacher and then felt lost.

He tried different jobs before reentering the startup world through McKinsey and BCG where he was involved with incubators.

He's now invested in many companies as an angel investor and runs BlockDojo where founders are put through an intensive 12-week course which massively accelerates their growth.

If you're thinking of applying to an accelerator make sure you listen to what Jay has to say!

Jay Gujral


Show Notes

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Jay Gujral Full Transcript

Jay Gujral: [00:00:00] The Jim Carrey quote is, you can fail at what you don't love, so you might take a chance at doing what you love. If you're in a dead end job and you hate it, what's the point in being there? Try doing something else. Take a risk. I always have, I guess once I have an idea, I want to pursue it and get into it no matter what.

Jay Gujral: If you told me at 18 years old at University of Portsmouth that I'd ever be able to make it to McKinsey and then to, you know, running a blockchain incubator. I'd said, whatcha talking about? We invest in each founder, so we give them 10,000 pounds each. We give them a developer, we give them a designer each, they have

Jay Gujral: a toolkit that not many other incubators can give you.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to The BAE HQ where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asians. If you are watching on YouTube, make sure you hit that subscribe button, and if you're listening on Apple, Spotify, make sure you leave us a five star review. Today we have with us, Jay Gujral, who's the Managing Director of Block Dojo.

Amardeep Parmar: They're the UK's first Blockchain Incubator.  How are you doing today?

Jay Gujral: I'm good, thanks. How are you? 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. Good. So [00:01:00] we've had a good chat before we started here. And wanna dive into your story. And you've done so many different things now and especially on the investment side, but you started off very differently.

Amardeep Parmar: And when you were growing up, did you think this would be what you're doing today?

Jay Gujral: No, to, to put it bluntly, mainly because blockchain didn't exist when I was growing up, so I actually had no idea what it was or what it could have been. Even at uni, I was still a bit like, this is, this is bizarre. I've heard of, heard of Bitcoin.

Jay Gujral: What, what could it, what could this be? No, my journey was, or what I wanted to be when I grew up was always changing. At one point, I wanted to be a, a famous footballer, probably then. I wanted to be a singer at one point. So I've always gone through a number of different things and never really knew what I wanted.

Jay Gujral: And it really took me until I got to, well, I first, I founded my first company after university. I enjoyed that a lot. And.. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what made you found that first company rather than get like a, a job or go into corporate world? 

Jay Gujral: Yeah, that's, uh, an interesting one. I. It basically started where I was in a placement year at university, at Lenovo, the the PC [00:02:00] manufacturer.

Jay Gujral: And I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that whole process, but what I found was a year out was just such a waste of my time and in me, I was like, wasting time was, it's not my biggest bug bet, in in life in general. And it was, why am I, it was more of a case of why am I taking a year out to get the experience where I'm going to get a degree.

Jay Gujral: I'm gonna do well in my degree, an Economics degree. Why do I need to then take a year out to get the experience? Oh, it turns out because all employers care about its experience. So that's when I came up with the idea for Grad Lancer, which was a student freelance platform, essentially helping students to find freelance work based around their degree.

Jay Gujral: So that was the first thing that I thought could really help other students at the time, giving them an opportunity to do work that's based around their region, about around their university, where they can do stuff related to sales, web design, marketing, whatever it is. That's where it came from. Yeah, it was a, it was a, for me, it was a case of let's try and help other people not waste time getting this experience.

Amardeep Parmar: Was that originally a side  hustle or did you want to go [00:03:00] full-time into business straight away? What was your  under?

Jay Gujral: I always wanted to go first, full-time into it, so as soon as I left Lenovo I, in my last three months at Lenovo, I remember I went into a meeting room. I wrote down 20 different business ideas because I was so bored of being at this company.

Jay Gujral: I love the company, don't get me wrong. I've met one of my, uh, my manager there at the time, uh, Sanjay, he's like still a mentor to me now. And that's what, 13, 14 years later or something like that, or 12 years later. But I was just, I just wanted to get into business. So I wrote down a list of business ideas and that idea for Grad Lancer came out of it and it was, I remember it, which meeting room I was in and, and what I was doing at the time.

Jay Gujral: And it was number 13 on the list. And I was like, student marketplace, student freelance marketplace. I think at the time I called it the Student Village or something like that. I called out my best mate at the time, Ben. And I was just like, I've got an idea for business. What do you think? 'Cause he was also on a placement year at the time, and he was like, I love it.

Jay Gujral: When should we do it? And that was literally it. That was a conversation. So when we got back to uni together, we just started building and building and building and then [00:04:00] managed to get our, uh, first investment to actually build out the platform. Because it was a chicken and egg scenario, we ne neither of us were developers.

Jay Gujral: We built a pitch deck and I started going around town to VCs, who now I work with quite closely, but at the time I had no idea who they were. And I'm trying to figure out how to pitch them an idea for a business that doesn't exist and won't exist until they gimme money basically. And then, Thankfully found an investor down south in Farnham called Chris Phillips, who, who backed the idea at the time.

Amardeep Parmar:So I started economics as  well. And I remember when I was at uni, nobody, I went to uni with least was thinking about that VVC route. And we weren't really taught about it either. We were taught more the traditional finance, we were taught about, I don't even think we're talking about private equity. It was more..

Jay Gujral: No.

Amardeep Parmar: The big finance, big corporate kind of side of things. So where did that inspiration come to go down that VC route? How did you even, how were you aware of it?

Jay Gujral: At the time of grad Lancer, the VC, or going to get funding for down that VVC route came from just research, to be honest. Seeing companies getting funding and [00:05:00] saying that they're, they're..

Jay Gujral: They've raised a lot of money from big companies. How do I get a chunk of that money that is essentially it? It looked like the big thing to do. I think in everything that I've ever, always done in life, I, once I have an idea, I want to pursue it and get into it no matter what. And that's kind of what happened.

Jay Gujral: And then here I'm today. 

Amardeep Parmar: When you are a full-time  entrepreneur, it off university, was it what you thought it was gonna be or how was the, your expectations there compared to reality? 

Jay Gujral: It was very difficult. It was, paying yourself peanuts. I mean, we had a very, I suppose we had unbelievable backers who gave us quite a lot.

Jay Gujral: They gave us a house to live in 'cause he had a good property portfolio. He, he got a very reasonable rate. He gave us investment. He was, gave us, you know, his whole back office of finance and HR and the rest of it. So, It was very, very difficult, but it wasn't the typical route of a founder in any way.

Jay Gujral: Like what we got given compared to what other founders get at the time is, yeah, it was [00:06:00] unparalleled to be honest. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, because we're going to Block Dojo at the moment. 'Cause I know that you've done something similar though, right? You give a lot more than what people usually get. But you exited that company.

Amardeep Parmar: Right? What was that process like? Because you're still quite young to be able to exit a company as well. 

Jay Gujral: That  was hellish to be honest. It was. It was an experience in itself. It was good to do, but it had got to a point where we knew the business wasn't gonna go where we wanted it to go. We were struggling to raise our next round of investment and it was almost like a, how do we sell the assets of this business to, to people that wanna buy it.

Jay Gujral: And luckily we found a buyer. The deal was, not, you know, something that was going to help me to retire, but it was something that got the company moving in the right direction at least, or what we thought it was at the time. Then G D P R and whatever else came into play and there were a few other issues for the acquirer, but look, we did what we had to do at the time, basically.

Amardeep Parmar: Did you already know what you  were gonna do once you sold the company? Did you have the plan or what happened to identity? Right? Because for many founders, like your entire life is wrapped up in your [00:07:00] company, and once you sell it, Then what kind of mindset were you in? 

Jay Gujral: I had a, almost a mini crisis after selling it where I was thought that was gonna be the, you know, you always do when you're a founder, you think that's gonna be the thing that you do forever.

Jay Gujral: You're gonna be a billionaire off the back of it. You're 24 years old. You don't need, think about anything else. You've just gotta think about like what yacht you're gonna buy in five years. That's, you know, the stuff that starts going through your head, you're like, this is gonna be unbelievably successful.

Jay Gujral: As soon as it, it ended, it was, uh, Right. What, what next? I ended up going around and freelancing at startups in London. I think I worked for, or, or was applying for jobs all over the place. I worked for three in the space of six months because I literally had no idea what I wanted to do. I then ended up getting into recruitment 'cause my dad owns a, an a recruitment company.

Jay Gujral: I didn't work for him, but I thought I know recruitment. Uh, my startup was based around that. So I know how I can, I know my way around recruitment, basically went in, worked in recruitment for six months, did quite well on commissions and [00:08:00] placings and whatever else. Realized I hated it. And then from there thought, you know what?

Jay Gujral: We've done the startup route. Let's go back to the corporate route and start all over again. In that sense, because I hadn't done that before and that's when I went into Dow Jones afterwards and it was almost like a let's get financially secure, recalibrate a little bit and figure out how I can do the entrepreneurial part inside a corporate.

Jay Gujral: And, and that's where, where I went into Dow Jones. 

Amardeep Parmar: I like that as well ' cause I think. For a lot of people who want to start their own companies, they think of it as very binary of you make that decision, then that's it. You're a founder and you can never go back to the corporate world when obviously it's not.

Amardeep Parmar: And it's funny 'cause often people I get on the podcast, Having done that journey from founder back to corporate and then to do their own thing again. But it's really important 'cause a lot of people do do that and obviously a lot of companies do fail and they don't get to where people want 'em to do.

Amardeep Parmar: So obviously you were lucky that you had the exit and things did go pretty well, but it's still that what's next and you always have that option available. [00:09:00] Was it tough for you though to go from working for yourself, making all the decisions and even I guess as a recruiter you still have quite a lot of flexibility to then going, working somewhere else.

Amardeep Parmar: Where maybe if you didn't agree the decisions above you, you had to kind of bite your teeth and listen.

Jay Gujral: Yeah, that, that bit was difficult. I suppose. I had a really good manager at Dow Jones who really helped me when I wanted to share my ideas. We had that vehicle to do so, and that's what helped me to grow and develop further there.

Jay Gujral: There was a lot of opportunity there. Once I proved myself in, you know, doing some deals and getting some sales over the line, it was a case of, okay, now I just want to, I want you guys to listen to me. I think the big part and a big superpower that I have had and have is my ability to network. I think when I was in the company for three months, Yani, who was my boss at the time, she said to me like, you know more people in this building than I've known in 10 years of being here.

Jay Gujral: Like how, and that was just something that I've always done. But then from that, you start to understand how different departments work or don't work together. You figure out how different people in the building work or [00:10:00] don't work together. And that was a bit,a big thing for me. Like, I mean, Rupert Murdoch's company basically this time was Dow Jones.

Jay Gujral: I mean, the news building in one London Bridge Street. It's one of the nicest offices I'll ever be in, and I'm walking around some of the most senior executives at the company. And because I was just so confident and excited to be there, I was talking and learning, talking to everyone, and learning from everyone, and then slowly figuring out and creating a web of things that I

Jay Gujral: was interested in and that led me to not only just doing the sales side of things there, but then co-creating sort of a product that was related to, to blockchain actually at the time, which is quite interesting. Before we started recording, 

Amardeep Parmar: we were both talking about toxic networking and how some people we transactional and using agenda.

Amardeep Parmar: What advice have you got People to do Networking the right way, like the way that you did it?

Jay Gujral: Literally don't have an agenda. That's it. Like you don't need an agenda for, for networking. You've just go, you're meeting people because you're interested in them. It's not about [00:11:00] what you can get out of them. If at a point in time there is a way to leverage that in your benefit, but it it fine.

Jay Gujral: But it's not a, again, leverage is probably the wrong word, but it's, it's using you being a good person first and foremost. You know, these relationships, they could go on for five, 10 years. Like you, you can't pretend to like someone or, or network with someone for the sake of it. You don't have enough time in life to do that sort of thing.

Jay Gujral: So I think it's, for me, it's just you need to stay humble and stay interested in what other people are doing and it will come back to you at some point. That's, that's normally how I, I see it. 

Amardeep Parmar: There's one piece of advice I always hate, which is, um, You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Amardeep Parmar: And how people often see it is you make five really successful friends and hang around with them all the time so you can leach off them in some way. Whereas I'd say, like you said, you talk to everybody and it could be that one person is good for your career. One person's just a laugh. [00:12:00] One person you watch sports with, one person has got a similar family background to you.

Amardeep Parmar: There's so much more to a person than their binary level of success and if you're gonna do that thing about the five you spend most time around, make it good people, right? People who have got kind hearts, and then that will reflect on you. Whereas if you're just trying to do it because of success, which is what I think most people use in that term, success is money.

Amardeep Parmar: Why would they wanna be friends with you if you just wanna be friends with them because they're rich or because they're successful?

Jay Gujral: And that's, that's the point really. Like I, I, I couldn't even tell you the five people that I hang around with the most I have. Too many connections probably and too many people that I'm constantly around, but that's a part of my role is to, to be around people all the time.

Jay Gujral: I hang out with my friends quite a lot, but there's such a big group of us from home that there's like, there's 14 of us in our boys group that you went to school together and we're still connected with 'em. We see each other on, you know, most weeks. And I think that's a big part of my growth and my upbringing is, is, is those group of friends because we

Jay Gujral: We [00:13:00] don't compete. We never talk about competing or, or it's always been a, you know, subconscious thing where they are all unbelievably successful where it's almost pushed me to go, right, you can't stick where you are, you can't keep doing what you're doing. How do you get to the next level? Like there's, 

Jay Gujral: They're doing some, I I I can't even explain like half of them. Like one of them's got a venture capital firm, one of them's got his own construction company. Yeah. There's just so many and it's a case of, right. This is, this has really helped me without actually realizing it, that having a great group of friends like that has really helped.

Jay Gujral: But yeah, I don't think any of them would ever agree with that. You are the average of your, your five people closest to you. I don't think that at all. 

Amardeep Parmar: And so  you mentioned by doing that, you then created this, uh, blockchain product, right? Was that your first experience with blockchain in creating something or.

Amardeep Parmar: What made you choose the blockchain for that product? 

Jay Gujral: Yeah, and it was a case of, I actually have no idea what I'm doing at the time, but basically at Dow Jones we did this thing called I P O  reports, where we created reports on companies that were going through I [00:14:00] p O. So due diligence reports at the time, 20 16 17 ICOs, so initial coin offerings were becoming pretty fraudulent and they were big, big money.

Jay Gujral: So people were putting money into these initial coin offerings and they were losing lots of money. So I thought, well, why can't we just apply the same process? This is what we do, just due diligence to the ICOs essentially. And that was the, the product that was developed there at the time. And then shortly after that actually got headhunted or sort of headhunted by McKinsey to, to go through their interview process.

Jay Gujral: And that's when, when I moved on to the, to the next step basically. 

Amardeep Parmar: And McKinsey  wasn't just blockchain focused, right? It was more general in startups. But I guess with that initial experience with blockchain, then  make you think there's some gonna do spend more time in, or was it still just That was fun and then something new?

Jay Gujral: Still nothing to do with blockchain. I was actually in oil and gas at McKinsey and then slowly moved into startups, but that was a side part to my role. So I, I guess at McKinsey, the, the main part of my role was actually as a commercial consultant where, [00:15:00] or, or client developer where I was working as like the commercial arm on a number of projects.

Jay Gujral: So what we'd do is, a big part of McKinsey in the oil and gas space was assets were left behind on consulting projects. So that was in the form of, say, a software solution or a data analysis tool, whatever it was. My role is to look at that and figure out how to like commercialize it basically, and then take it to other companies or take it to market in other ways so we could almost turn it into a software arm of the business.

Jay Gujral: That was the whole part of the business that I was in, but it was also working on JVs with other larger corporates to create new products. And that's what I did and that's why I found it really interesting, the variety of creating new products, working with different people. That's what I really enjoyed and that's kind of led into the same thing that I'm doing now in a roundabout way.

Jay Gujral: But then working and building the startup incubator there really cemented it that I really like the variety of, of what I do. 

Amardeep Parmar:So why   did you choose to make it about blockchain then? For Block Dojo? Because, so Block [00:16:00] Dojo, as you mentioned before, is uh, Incubator resource similar to what you did at McKinsey, but focused purely on blockchain companies, right?

Jay Gujral: Yeah, so that was, wasn't ED in my hands at the time. So the initial founder of the idea came up with the blockchain incubator, and me and a few others got involved at a certain point in time where it was like gone from ideation to righ, let's actually build this. And I'd done the same thing in McKinsey previously.

Jay Gujral: In between that I'd worked at B C G as well, and it was a case of, right, let's take what, what we all know and build out this program. We had some incredible advisors on board and incredible backers in in Bitcoin sv, which is what we build on and these guys got got behind us and allowed us to have an offering that no one else has ever been able to have, basically.

Jay Gujral: And that was, and I, and I think the, the whole reason for doing blockchain was the fact that it's, it is a massive differentiator. It is something that will change the world in a number of different ways. Why not be it at the forefront of that? We've got an [00:17:00] incredible team of developers who can build out products.

Jay Gujral: Yeah. Let's, let's. Make the most of it now basically. 

Amardeep Parmar: So the name you  just mentioned there as well, McKinsey, BCG to go from those to someone who just new and starting afresh. What was behind that decision too? Because there's a risk there, right? If you, you're at McKinsey and B C G, they're pretty much gonna be around for a long time.

Amardeep Parmar: You know that there's a lot of support, big network there. And even though Block Dojo had great advisors and backers as well, what made you take that jump across?

Jay Gujral: I've always taken risks, I think, uh, even at B C G, so it's actually B C G Digital Ventures, which is what I was part of. And then a company that was one of the like, portfolio companies that I was parachuted into there called Axora.

Jay Gujral: So it was still a risk to be part of something there. But then going into the Dojo, I've always had a, a risk appetite. Uh, I like to push myself as much as I can. I like to learn new things. I don't like to sit still. I've only been at the companies I've been at for just over two and a bit years [00:18:00] each. Not because I thought that I'm better than them, but when I get to a point or a ceiling where I'm not necessarily learning as much as I think I can learn, I want to see what's next.

Jay Gujral: And this now, and it is probably a case of this now feels like home. It feels like where I'm gonna be for a long, long time, where I've got. The the Dojo. Also launching a fund alongside that and SaaS company as well. So there's a number of different things I can do, but I think that that's the way that the world is moving.

Jay Gujral: And I maybe just identified it earlier. I think the whole idea of someone being a career person is going to die out soon. I think you're gonna have to wear multiple hats in a number of different things that you do. And I think you've probably been through something similar like that. And I think that that's what I thrive on is, is having that variety.

Jay Gujral: And then alongside that, I'm doing a venture program as well, Newton Venture Program, and then a, a mini MBA  thing as well. So there's always constantly learning and developing and doing stuff that, that I need content thrown at me 24 7. I think that that's just the way I'm as a, as an individual [00:19:00] now. The world has moved that way where.

Jay Gujral: If I'm not constantly on a walk with podcasts, listening to podcasts or you know, sitting down and reading something or, or just growing or developing, I think that the, I feel like I'm standing still and that is the new age for me is just having content constantly blasted in your face. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah.  So you've got like a lot on your plate there, right?

Amardeep Parmar: How do you actually, so it is one thing to always want this simulation and like things to be going on, but you've been doing this some time now. How do you stop it from burning you out and how do you make sure you've got those systems in place to stop that from happening.

Jay Gujral: I think it's just practice, to be honest, more than anything.

Jay Gujral: I think I know when I'm gonna be close to burnout and the, the good thing about is about the Dojo is that we do three 12 week programs a year. So after the 12 weeks, there's inherently a month where you get, it's not off because a whole part of my role and, and my investment director Gareth's role is to get the companies funded once they leave us.

Jay Gujral: But it's less intense than the 12 weeks where you're fully on [00:20:00] helping these companies go from founder. To fully fledged M V P and products. There's a whole process in the middle there, so I, I, I know when I'm going to burn out and I think that's a big part of making sure I gym daily or play football or whatever else, and then go on a holiday if I need it.

Jay Gujral: That's, that's also a big part of it. 

Amardeep Parmar: And with  blocked out as well. How do you, as you said, like it's very innovative in how it does things. What do you think some of the most impactful things you do for companies? Like what makes you guys stand out and help people more than maybe other companies do or other incubators do?

Jay Gujral: I think that we've got really, really good EQ as a team, as a company like the, we invest in each founder, so we give them 10,000 pounds each. We give them a developer, we give them a designer each, so they have a toolkit that not many other incubators can give you. And then throughout the program, we've designed the 12 week program to be.

Jay Gujral: Almost like classroom based exercises. It's literally like [00:21:00] going back to school. Other incubators, other accelerators, whether they're as intense as ours, I dunno. But we make sure that ours is fully face-to-face. You can't do it remotely. You have to come trips all the way to Stratford to to be part of what we're doing.

Jay Gujral: And our program director Alex, is, you know, I keep calling him the professor, but he is literally like the, you know, the father figure to all the founders. They're all going through this new thing. They're going through this new journey. And that's a big part of it , is it's then us helping them on that next leg of the journey, which I think we've done incredibly well.

Jay Gujral: But each week has a different focus as well. We, we want everyone coming in to almost each cohort to almost leave as like a little family together. And that's, I think, a big part of what we, what we do. 

Amardeep Parmar: How many cohorts have there been so far now? 

Jay Gujral: We're on our fourth at the minute. 

Amardeep Parmar: What do you think is better now than when you started?

Amardeep Parmar: Like what have you learned along  that way?

Jay Gujral: Oh, we are constantly iterating. Like the program itself has changed. We've got better office space now. We've honed our investment agreements and the legal documents. We've made it more fun and engaging. We don't try and [00:22:00] force fun where we don't need to force fun.

Jay Gujral: We, we just give uh, them an environment where they can really develop their business idea, basically, which is something that yeah, we've, we've massively focused on. We don't want it to be, yes, it's gonna be intense, but we also want 'em to have fun along the way. And that's a big thing. I think we've changed up until now.

Amardeep Parmar: And with your own work ethic as well, right? 'cause as you said, you're doing same different things at the same time. What do you think's changed as well for you? Because now obviously when you started, you started pretty much nothing gets to build up that company. And now as you got further and further, you are, you, you are an angel investor, you've got a lot more going for you.

Amardeep Parmar: What's changed about your motivation, the way about you do things? Has that changed or is it similar? 

Jay Gujral: I think it's just being more efficient at knowing what I want to do or what I enjoy doing or what gives me energy. The stuff before that didn't, I mean nothing previously didn't gimme energy or, or wasn't anything that I wasn't, wasn't interested in.

Jay Gujral: It's just that now it feels more like a lifestyle. With a [00:23:00] job attached rather than a, it, it feeling like I'm going into a nine to five. I think that that's what it is. So once you've got that, you have the, yeah, you have the energy to keep going and, and to, to enjoy what you're doing. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And with the angel investment side as well, what made you get into that?

Amardeep Parmar: And have you got any in your investments you could share us and why you invested in them? 

Jay Gujral: Yeah. Yeah. The reason for getting into that was I felt it was the way to grow yourself as Like when you, when you go to McKinsey and you start getting bonuses and this, that and the other, you have no idea what to do with them.

Jay Gujral: I was like, well, I'm not going to add to my pension. That sounds boring as hell. Like I said, I'm, I'm risky in general. I'm gonna try and find some founders and, and put some money into them. And that's essentially what happened. So Sonic Jobs was one that, that's been invested in Mikhail. Unbelievable founder, he's taken the business.

Jay Gujral: Sonic Jobs is uh, a pla just a really unbelievable jobs platform basically. And, you know, he'd be great to have on here actually, but he, [00:24:00] um, he's expanded into the US. He's raising more money into the business. There could be valuation of 30 million at the end of this year, or not even at the end of this year and the next few months. that when, uh, we initially got involved was 2.5 million, for example, travel.

Jay Gujral: Curious, so Amir from Travel Curious, got involved in with him in 2019 and that opportunity for me was massive. Covid hit, he had to pivot the business, but he's still going. That business could be valued at 50 to 60 million in the next few months. And because of the businesses like that and the, the companies that have got involved in, and Amir, for example, from Travel Curious, he's now put a company through the Dojo, which is in there right now, which is a vr uh, metaverse travel company.

Jay Gujral: And. That's what I love. Like all of this network effect is, is coming to fruition now basically. 

Amardeep Parmar: So with your Angel Investments and Block Dojo, how do you find these founders and companies to invest in and to bring into incubator? What are you looking for? And [00:25:00] also, sometimes, like, let's say somebody listening right now wants to get involved in whether it's in blockchain or not, but they're looking for, how do I find people like you who can back them?

Amardeep Parmar: What advice would you give them there too? 

Jay Gujral: Trying to figure out how we get half the founders we get is mind blowing to me. We've got so many different avenues in terms of like social media, LinkedIn, S six S. There's so many platforms that we used to, to find these founders. Big one for me is just going to events, meeting founders face-to-face and convincing them that what we can do is gonna really benefit them.  In terms of finding us,

Jay Gujral: go to blockdojo.io, apply to us and you can learn more. But we, for, for me in general, it's, we just want founders who are passionate about. Wanting to, they don't even need to be changing the world. They just need to be passionate about wanting to do something different right now. And that's all I care about.

Jay Gujral: We don't, we're not doing, we're not building companies that are super scary or different to traditional companies you see out there nowadays. All it is is they're, what I call is Web 2.5. They're built on a tech stack that is just slightly different [00:26:00] to web two, and it uses the benefits of, of, of blockchain and then gives the founders or gives the company a base to be able to scale into whatever web three will be whenever web three actually arrives.

Jay Gujral: But essentially all of our companies are companies that my mum would be able to understand. For example, they, they're not difficult, they're not scary, just, yeah, you'll be able to understand what they do. there 

Amardeep Parmar: So you mentionedabout Block Dojo being in person and then also a big way you meet founders who even get into it in the first place is in person as well.

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously in the last couple years there's been a lot of talk about how the world's going remote and how everything's gonna be online now, what for you is the benefit of being in person? Like why does it help you so much? Because I agree with you. I'd much rather be in person and chat to see it like this rather than through a screen.

Jay Gujral: I think you bet,  you make better connections, you make a better network. You, you understand people better. The, you know, zoom teams is all convenient nowadays. Uh, if I don't understand the, the point in doing a Zoom or a Teams or you could just gimme a phone call, I connect better to [00:27:00] most people over a phone call than I do on a Zoom or a Teams.

Jay Gujral: 'Cause I think you're just staring at yourself half the time. So I think it's a, a really odd, odd way to connect. And I've never really enjoyed it. You know, I think the, the face-to-face thing you, you start to understand. you can really sell what you do to someone. You can really appreciate someone and the reason and the passions and why they're doing something on a team or a Zooms.

Jay Gujral: It could feel like there's a script a lot more, and I, I don't like that. I mean, reading people's body languages, seeing, you know, what they're like in person is so, so valuable. I'm not saying that every founder that we've ever had has come through face-to-face either. We've had founders come from Canada, Poland, Norway, India.

Jay Gujral: Half of them I didn't meet face-to-face. But once you do have them there face-to-face, you, you get who they are as a person and you start to appreciate them more, in my opinion. 

Amardeep Parmar: So before we get into  quick five questions, what is most exciting that you've got coming up soon or. What's your dreams for where you're gonna go in the future?

Jay Gujral: What's exciting about what's coming up soon is, [00:28:00] well, on a personal level, is getting married, so that's always a good one. Congratulations. Thank you. Good one. 

Amardeep Parmar: Your, your, your, your fiance's gonna be happy you said that?

Jay Gujral: Yes, yes. You're quite happy with that. Also, we are launching international incubators now with the Dojo.

Jay Gujral: The Philippines has just been announced as the next one, and we've got a few more to announce after that. The fund that I'm launching with, with my Co-GP Gareth Bundry that's coming up in the next few weeks, which is nuts. But it's super exciting. And yeah, there's uh, a few other bits and bobs coming up, but in terms of this year and, and what we've got with the dojo, it's cohort four to finish and then five and six to start.

Jay Gujral: So another 20 founders coming in this year at some point.

Amardeep Parmar: So really exciting to see what's coming up with there. A few in the future. We're gonna have to move on to quick five questions now. So first one, and it's always the hardest for everybody, is who are three British Asians that you'd love to shout out?

Amardeep Parmar: You think people listening right now should be following or paying attention to? 

Jay Gujral: Oh, this is  always so difficult. The first one is gonna actually have to be my fiance, Radhika. She runs her own manufacturing [00:29:00] company. It's actually a door manufacturing company. To see how they've grown over the last few years is pretty insane and I think that the she'd be a great person to, to follow.

Jay Gujral: So Radhika, she runs the Wooden Door Company along with her family and her brother. my cousin. Ashwin and his, his wife, Chahat, they have a company called Xxuma, which is a, uh, a footwear brand. And I mean, they're doing some incredible things. I've just been featured with the Red Men the other day. I hate Liverpool, but they're, they're on the, on the Red Men's Instagram, which is awesome.

Jay Gujral: And then I'm gonna have to sneakily do two at the end, if that's all right. But one is Saloni Bhojwani  who is from, uh, pink Salt, uh, ventures. So she's awesome. She's become a close friend. I've only known her for about seven months or so, but she's already become a close friend. AndFarrukh Hussain from Sony VC as well, who's, uh, become like a weird VC brother to me over the last few months.

Amardeep Parmar: I love how you kind of got in five people there as well. So your, your second one was two people too, but we'll let you get away.

Jay Gujral: I told you I know too many people. [00:30:00] 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. So next one is, if people listen right now are looking for help or guidance, what should 

Jay Gujral: they reach out to you about? To be honest, I'm, I'm easy to talk to if you've, ever wanna talk about anything, just reach out and I'll normally make time for whoever it is.

Jay Gujral: But look, with the, with the crowd that are listening to, to this podcast, maybe there's some people out there that want to figure out how to get into to consulting. Like I've done some pretty hectic interview stages with with McKinsey, with B C G. I'll happily walk you through how to tackle those. If you wanna learn more about venture or, or getting into investing or even learning how to angel, invest, happy to, to, to talk to anyone about that, basically.

Amardeep Parmar: So  I'm gonna ask you about angel Investments afterwards. I'm gonna start, I've got a call in a couple hours. I'm gonna do my first one, hopefully. Nice. So we'll see if that goes through. And on the flip side, What's something that you need help with right now that somebody listening to the audience might be able to help you with or reach out to you about?

Jay Gujral: If anyone can help me to, uh, slow down a little bit or figure out how to just take more time and not be so all over the [00:31:00] place or enjoying being all over the place, that would be great. If anyone's got any tips and tricks for, for that, that would be brilliant. And also sh you know, uh, any, any gym tips or tricks or any, uh, diet tips and tricks?

Jay Gujral: I think we're all go, we all need to focus on that nowadays. Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. Because the whole thing,  what's the, someone who said this recently, that the healthy person has a hundred problems. The sick person only has one. So it's true. You gotta look after your health. 

Jay Gujral: Love that. That's  good. 

Amardeep Parmar: And love chatting today.

Amardeep Parmar: Have you got any final words to audience? 

Jay Gujral: I think one of my final things would just be, just enjoy doing what you're doing. I think one of my favorite quotes, and this may be cheesy as hell, but it's got me to where am it genuinely has, is actually a Jim Carrey quote is you can fail at what you don't love, so you might take a chance at doing what you love.

Jay Gujral: It's true. You can you, if you're in a dead end job and you hate it, what's the point in being there? Try doing something else. Take a risk. And I, I always have, I guess. And that if you told me at 18 years old at University of Portsmouth that I'd ever be able to make it to McKinsey and then [00:32:00] to, you know, running a blockchain incubator, I'd said, what are you talking about?

Jay Gujral: But it's just been the, the risks that I've taken throughout that has allowed me to get there.

Amardeep Parmar: Hello. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for listening. It means a huge amount to us, and we don't think you realize how important you are because if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you leave us a five star review, it makes the world of difference. And if you believe in what we're trying to do here, to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asians,

Amardeep Parmar: if you do those things, you can help us achieve that mission and you can help us make a bigger impact. And by doing that it means we can get bigger guests, we can host more events, we can do more for the community. So you can play a huge part. So thank you so much for supporting us.

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