Ausang Shukla shares his journey as a fintech founder

An interview with Ausang Shukla, the founder and CapHive, where he discusses the story behind his company. CapHive is a SaaS platform built exclusively for the unique requirements of Private Capital Markets In this interview, Khalid discusses the origins of CapHive, the gaps he is trying to address, and his long-term views on the fintech industry.

Please tell us about your professional journey so far.

I started my career as a trainee accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and post completing my Chartered Accountancy qualification went to the Indian School of Business for an MBA. Post MBA I moved to investment banking and worked with leading organizations including Lehman Brothers, Nomura, and Macquarie. In my last role I was Co-Head of Investment Banking and Member Group Executive Committee at Ambit. I advised leading financial institutions, corporate groups, start-ups and private equity funds on mergers & acquisitions and capital raising transactions aggregating to over US$50 billion across India and South-East Asia.

What was the motive behind starting CapHive?

CapHive was set up to address a gap in the market for a holistic technology platform to address the special requirements of private market funds and transactions.

I had the opportunity be closely involved with the evolution of private capital markets over the last two decades and some of the significant changes have been the exponential increase in number of participants (eg: LPs in funds, investors in companies), greater complexity of managing funds / transactions and rising compliance requirements.

While technology has made many parts of lives more efficient, there is a need in the market for specialist technology platform for private capital markets to handle the rising volumes and complexity in a smarter and more efficient manner while building institutionalised processes. Additionally fund managers and CFOs should be able to have all relevant information available as and when they want and be able to facilitate decisions and provide transparency to their investors.

We set out to build CapHive as a technology platform for private capital markets and build a platform that encompasses the specific nuances of private markets in a holistic manner.

What are the offerings of CapHive?

We’ve built CapHive as an integrated platform that covers:

  1. SaaS for Funds – helping private market funds with managing:
    • Investors: including onboarding, reporting, generating multi-party documents, and complex computations
    • Portfolios: handling portfolio related computations, scenario analysis and digitally managing reporting by portfolio companies
    • Portfolios: handling portfolio related computations, scenario analysis and digitally managing reporting by portfolio companies
    • Compliances: automating generation of a range of regulatory reports and filings
  2. Deal management - a transaction management platform to help with end-to-end execution of multi-party transactions
  3. Capital Management for private companies – to help manage investor relations, ESOPs and CapTables

An integrated platform with a modular framework enables our clients to choose the functionalities that they require and also give them an ability to use additional functionalities as they may need over time, in a single platform.

What does your client base look like?

CapHive works with a range of venture capital, angel and private equity funds and with leading private companies. We also closely work multiple advisors in the space of fund accounting and wealth management.

Can you talk about what innovations you have introduced/ planning to introduce that are set to create new benchmarks for this segment?

For private market funds, CapHive is the only technology platform that can holistically handle onboarding, reporting, generating high customised and hyper personalised document as well as automate complex computations and allocations on the platform which provides an extremely powerful and scalable engine for funds.

For multi-party transactions, we can enable end-to-end execution from aggregating supply/demand, allocations, KYCs, documentation and post transaction compliance requirements – all with a few clicks.

We enable this using our proprietary and highly agile technology framework which enables an integrated approach to the entire process.

What are some of the challenges that you see in teams of asset management companies embracing new fintech solutions? What advice would you give to them?

Embracing technology needs to be recognised as a strategic priority and have all stakeholders of the organization spend time to identify how they want technology to integrate with their roles today and how these are likely to evolve with rising volumes.

Many products that were built for public markets have been retrofitted for private markets and the feedback we have from clients is that it leads to significant challenges over time. As a result, we see clients using multiple legacy tools overlaid with significant manual interventions and multiple excel sheets which adds layers of complexity and inefficiencies.

We encourage our clients to think through a roadmap of what they may require now and over a period of time and then evaluate the product and implementation strategy in an integrated manner.

What lessons can you share with other fintech startups to learn from your experiences?

I would suggest the following:

  1. That have a very clear focus on the problem statement and keep ratifying this with real users of the product
  2. Have a clear sense of the unit economics from day one
  3. Build a network of partners who will provide the ecosystem for the venture to grow and thrive

What excites you the most in the field of financial technology right now? And how do you anticipate things to play out by 2030?

We anticipate that the AIF market has the potential to grow 5x+ to reach over US$ 500billion by 2030 with increased participation from domestic and global family office and institutional investors as well as introduction of a range of different specialist investment vehicles.

This will need exceptionally smart tech solutions to help support the growth. Savvy fund managers are realizing the need to shore up / revamp their processes to be able to capitalise on the opportunity.

Over the next couple of years integration of AI will be the next significant milestone in these platforms which we at CapHive are particularly excited about. The other evolution we anticipate is the rise of interconnected systems which will need extremely agile and open systems.

This is an exciting time to be building given the way the underlying market is growing and the strong digital infrastructure which enables ability to build at a significantly faster pace than was possible earlier