2021 Most Disruptive Business School Startups: Sencha, New York University (Stern)

Sencha

New York University, Stern School of Business

Industry: Decentralized Finance/Blockchain

Founding Student Name(s): Rishi Nair, NYU Stern 2023; Christopher Lamarre, Northeastern 2019; Kristian Lamarre, Boston University 2024

Brief Description of Solution: DeFi (Decentralized Finance) and blockchain technologies are an incredibly complex area of innovation. It has the opportunity to change the world and make finance a much more equitable area for everyone involved. Our solution creates a bridge between the existing financial world and DeFi, enabling established institutions to harness the power of DeFi with no extra work on their part. This is our beachhead market, and future growth and expansion are already being built—follow along for more!

What led you to launch this venture? I met Chris and Kristian when they were creating a solution to help people build credit through a debit card. I have always been interested in making the financial field more equitable and efficient than it is now, and both Chris and Kristian were building something great in that space. From there, we discussed our interests and learned that all of us had a distinct interest in the blockchain space and its incredible power to promote a more equitable financial system. Everyone here at Sencha wants to build the financial system of the future—providing a DeFi bridge is the first step in our plans to augment and grow the financial industry.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Our biggest accomplishment thus far with this venture has been being able to compete in the Harmony Hackathon and forming connections with prominent DeFi companies in the space to give people the best product. Raising our seed round in the upcoming months has allowed us to meet some amazing people and has helped us to augment our current solution and relationships.

How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? My finance and entrepreneurship major at NYU Stern’s Undergraduate College has enabled me to see this expanding landscape in a new light. Since we are trying to remake the world of finance, it has been incredibly beneficial to understand the frameworks of the existing structure of finance, and there is no better place to do that than NYU Stern. It has also helped me hone my own personal skills as a businessman and cultivate the confidence in myself to conduct these meetings in a professional manner.

Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? The class that has been the most valuable in building this startup for me would be “Getting to Launch: The Lean Startup“ with Professor Cynthia Franklin. This class took me through the ways in which to launch a startup and how to continuously be iterating to create a product that could quickly find product market fit. This class highlighted the need to move fast and put your product out instead of focusing on perfection over the timing. That lesson was invaluable for me in my startup journey.

What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Professor Cynthia Franklin has provided the Sencha team and me with advice that has helped us shape our business plan and present ourselves to investors. The biggest contribution cannot be measured, though. She always believed in us as founders from the start and trusted our intellect. Allowing us to just be ourselves and not deal with the doubt that we face from the start of most conversations due to our age was incredibly helpful and helped us come into our own as founders.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Simply put, we want to change the financial world. We want to bring DeFi into the financial world of the mass public in order to help make everyone’s lives better and more financially stable. We truly believe that DeFi and Sencha have the power to change the world for the better. We will not stop until we achieve it.

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