In this article, we talk to our CTO – Koustubh Moharir, about his professional journey at Quantum Phinance and delve into his experiences of building cutting-edge tech products such as SheetKraft. He also shares his thoughts on the future of fintech, and his unique perspective on building a career in this dynamic industry.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional journey before joining Quantum Phinance
Answer: Early on in college, I thought I would follow in my father’s footsteps and pursue a PhD. However, after graduation, I realized that academia wasn’t my true calling. I craved faster results and more demonstrable value. I wanted something different from being a small cog in a big company, so I decided to venture out on my own. I partnered with a classmate who worked in the diamond polishing industry, and together we built a machine prototype that could create 3D models from diamonds and optimize their polishing process. Although our venture didn’t pan out commercially, it marked the beginning of my professional journey. It was during this time that I crossed paths with the founders of Quantum Phinance.
Question: How did you join Quantum Phinance? And how has your journey been so far with the company?
Answer: One of the founders of Quantum Phinance was a classmate of mine, though he was about ten years senior. We stayed in touch, and he expressed his desire to transition Quantum Phinance from a services-focused consulting company to a product-oriented one. They had an idea for a Monte Carlo simulation-based engine to evaluate derivative portfolio risks, and they wanted to transform it into a marketable product. I joined Quantum Phinance with the mandate of building this product from scratch. Over time, as Sushant moved on, I took on larger responsibilities within the company. This journey led us to successfully sell our product to Citibank, which was a significant achievement for us. This product also opened doors for us to other large financial institutions like Siemens, Piramal and more. I have mostly focused on building the technology here all through these years. I have been actively involved in the tech aspects of most of the products built here at Quantum Phinance since I have joined and want to believe that 70-80% of the code base has been written by me.
Question: What were some of your biggest professional achievements at Quantum Phinance?
Answer: One of my most fulfilling achievements was the development of SheetKraft. It was an innovative technology ahead of its time, enabling solutions through low code approaches. The finance industry has witnessed the rise of countless companies working on similar concepts since then, but at the time, we were among the early pioneers. Right from building a prototype for it to talking to people to see if it makes sense from a business application point of view and then going on to build a full technology on top of that with various customisations, I had a large role to play in all tech aspects. Also from a market perspective, this product solves a big enough problem that no one else was trying to solve. So from both of those perspectives SheetKraft is something that has given me a lot of satisfaction that yes, I have built this.
Question: What excites you the most about working at Quantum Phinance?
Answer: Culturally, I find immense comfort in working with a team that shares the same values. We are all driven to create lasting value and build something sustainable. It’s rewarding to know that the work we do truly matters, and it will have a lasting impact on the industry.
From a professional point of view, I am someone who really enjoys working with tech, seeing how the industry is adopting or moving to newer things, what makes an innovative product or a new solution stick. Even in my current leadership role, I actively research these innovations and trends and use those learnings along with my domain expertise to carve out the product road map for the future.
Question: What excites you about the fintech industry and its future?
Answer: The fintech industry is constantly evolving and experimenting, which brings its own excitement. However, amidst the vast array of developments, not all trends and initiatives prove fruitful. Understanding what will succeed and what will fade away can be challenging. Evaluating the factors that contribute to success or failure within this landscape is a fascinating aspect. It requires critical thinking and analysis to determine the technologies and solutions worth investing in. There are a lot of tech trends that are probably being driven just by buzzwords.
So much about micro services today. Yeah, it’s a pattern which probably a few big companies at the level of Twitter, Facebook, Google etc. may need because they really have those high volumes. But these might not make sense for smaller companies. You are just bringing on a whole lot of complexity for no real purpose, just because it’s cooler. So it’s important to spend time and energy to truly evaluate what tech will add value to the finance world in the future and what will not.
Question: What attracted you to finance, considering your technical expertise?
Answer: Finance, in many ways, controls where investments flow, making it a powerful industry. As we become a more knowledge-driven society, the significance lies in deciding where money is allocated rather than what is done with the investment itself. This realization drew me towards finance. While my personal interest lies in problem-solving through technology, understanding the financial domain is crucial for developing effective solutions.
Question: Outside of work, how do you spend your free time?
Answer: In the past, I enjoyed reading fiction and exploring amateur interests in philosophy. However, as work demands increased, my free time diminished. Nowadays, I primarily engage with blogs and online posts related to my professional domain.
Question: What advice would you give to young individuals seeking a successful career in fintech or related industries?
Answer: My advice would be to focus on building skills rather than getting caught up in superficial measures of success. Particularly at the beginning of your career, doing good work and allowing skill development to follow naturally is crucial. Rather than chasing short-term trends, focus on delivering genuine value through expertise and continuous learning.