Where it all started
The idea for AssetVault was conceived and executed in Chundi’s first year at LBS. “I already had 10 business ideas before joining the School,” he says. “I spent two months in 2015 thinking about a student loan venture, which I tested with some of the faculty but killed it when I realised there wasn’t a real need for it.”
That lightbulb moment came in November 2015 at LBS Hackathon – a three-day event bringing together entrepreneurial minds, hackers and designers to create software and programmes that address current and future business issues.
“My hypothesis for the venture was based on 55% of all global wealth being locked up in physical assets,” Chundi says. “After that weekend, I knew there was no point in waiting for another good business idea as this one was good enough.”
A family feud over assets was also a factor. Chundi’s uncle was a successful businessman working in New Delhi and Dubai, who died aged 55 without writing a will or leaving any record of his assets. It took Chundi’s family four months to locate everything. Some of his relatives subsequently fell out over what they felt they were entitled to.
Chundi and co-founder Farid Haque believe AssetVault helps solve this problem. People can secure their assets through digital wills and make simpler insurance claims for anything lost or damaged as everything is accounted for. Moreover, they can record anything ranging from financial statements to birth certificates, property, vehicles, jewellery and art.
Along with 1,200 other companies from 33 countries, AssetVault spent three months in May 2016 pitching to startup investor TechStars for funding. Chundi was supported through the process by three LBS Masters in Management students who helped him validate the hypothesis with real customer interviews and feedback on his prototype. The venture eventually secured funding, making AssetVault one of only 11 companies to receive backing from TechStars.
Since then, AssetVault has catalogued more than £75 million worth of assets and received orders exceeding 60 for digital wills. The company has also secured a place at the Munich Re accelerator in Madrid and been selected as the only non-US company to pitch in the finals of the SXSW Accelerator Fintech category in Austin, Texas.
Moreover, Chundi has secured pilots with some of the world’s largest banks and insurance companies to distribute AssetVault to their customers. He now plans to approach members of the LBS network to learn from their experiences. “You’ll find LBS alumni in C-suite roles or at senior levels everywhere,” he says. “I would love to get their coaching and feedback on our strategy.”
Chundi says that the LBS community has already shown great support for his venture. Students from the 2016 and 2017 MBA classes have encouraged Chundi to follow his dream and never give up. “I’m really grateful to all the students,” he says. “When I told them about my idea, no one ever said, ‘Don’t do it’ or ‘Do you have a plan B?’. That was never the conversation. It was always, ‘Hey, this guy wants to do something. Let’s help him out’.”
He adds that the LBS faculty have been instrumental in helping him get AssetVault off the ground. “Professors Jeff Skinner, Nader Tavasolli, Simona Botti, John Bates, Keith Willey, Rupert Merson, Michael Bikard, Anna Pavlova and many more have been so supportive,” he says. “I also have to thank Jane Khedair and David Morris for their help and mentoring. The advice and guidance I’ve received from everyone has been invaluable.”