A new Vancouver-based company that provides platforms and services based on the Ripple protocol for businesses officially launched earlier this month.
Bluzelle, a licensed Canadian firm based in Vancouver, is co-founded by Pavel Bains, a Disney and 500 Startups alum and Neeraj Murarka, who has worked with Google and Zynga and was recently at Zeroblock, a crypto-startup that was acquired by Blockchain.info.
The company’s mission is “building products that enable faster movement and access to money around the world.” We caught up with Pavel and Neeraj to see how they were doing.
Congrats on the launch of Bluzelle!
Technically, we went live April 1st. We spent the last couple of months working out the kinks, to refine the model and the roadmap.
What happened is that Ryan [Terribilini, Head of Platform Partnerships at Ripple Labs] would get calls from people who wanted to use Ripple but they didn’t fully understand the technology. But they understood the benefits of it. Ryan told them to call up Pavel and Neeraj in Vancouver. And so the business started organically. On top of running the gateway, what we want to do is be a middleware company, helping businesses build and manage financial software built on Ripple.
How did you end up in this space?
My background is in finance, technology, and international business. I had this thesis in my head—what can you do with financial technologies to lift communities in developing economies? I had heard about the blockchain and Bitcoin and to learn more, I devoured everything out there.
That’s also around when I discovered Ripple, which seemed very interesting to me at the time based on what it could do. Neeraj was working at a company that got bought by Blockchain.info. He and I got introduced by a friend since we were both in the same fintech space, living in Vancouver, and also had spent time in Silicon Valley.
At the time we were thinking about how to build an Indian remittance product since our families are originally from there. I recommended Ripple to him. Around last fall, we began building the product. Then in December, we started getting inbound requests from people who needed software and support solutions, having researched Ripple. That’s when we knew we were on to something.
Unlike some new startups in the space, Bluzelle is fully licensed.
From the beginning, we wanted to do it the right way and not have to go through potentially battles down the road for no reason. So we did our homework and went through all the necessary steps. We’re dealing with fiat currency all the time so it made sense to do everything the right way just to take away any apprehensions people might have.
The easier part is that in Canada, licensing is handled by the federal government, so you can handle it at one place and you’re operational everywhere.
You mentioned an Indian remittance service.
It’s something we’re working on. Globally, India is the number one place for remittance and Canada is in the top 10 so it’s a great test market for us. Currently, we’re working on getting approval for a few things. It takes a big longer to get your regulatory stuff in India.
Any final thoughts?
I think in the general sense, what we’re getting is that people are starting to understand what Ripple can do. A lot of companies see the application and use case for it, but they’re not fully tech people. That’s the gap we’re filling. We’ll just get you onto Ripple really quickly so you don’t have to spend all that time on integrating internally. This allows businesses to focus on getting customers and providing the best experience. We’ll connect you to the protocol and the network.