Recognizing the need for quality investment research in digital asset markets, Umed founded research and consulting firm, exclusively focused on providing high-quality investment insights on digital assets.
What’s your story?
I was born in the Soviet Union (Tajikistan to be exact) in a fairly sheltered environment. Until the age of 18, I had little or no idea about how the world outside the Soviet Union really worked.
My life changed as a result of a chance encounter with a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) officer who hired me as his translator for one summer. That encounter set in motion a series of events that would transform my life. Shortly after, I won a scholarship to study economics in the United States. That experience eventually lead me to find my passion—Finance. I spent more than a decade in the finance industry, working on infrastructure deals across the globe. Now I am the CEO of a start-up focused on providing high-quality investment insights on digital assets.
What excites you most about your industry?
As the CEO of an investment research firm focused on digital assets, I find myself at the forefront of the latest developments in finance every day. Our financial system is undergoing an upgrade as we speak, and I feel incredibly lucky to have the front-row seats to this process. Being involved in this space is by far the most intellectually challenging and exciting thing I have done in a long time.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Central Asia and studied/lived in Singapore.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Admittedly, I haven’t been to Taiwan or Hong Kong, but from what I have seen in Singapore, I have yet to find a city so efficient, educated, welcoming and global. Also, my alma mater—INSEAD is located in that city so I have a soft spot for it. I am biased, I know… but it is truly impressive how much Singapore has achieved with such a limited amount of resources.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A quote below has had a lasting impression on me when I was a banker. It may have led me to quit my job and pursue my dreams. This is the best piece of advice I got from the man I never met.
Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Who inspires you?
People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world—Elon Musk, Charles Hoskinson (CEO of IOHK), Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs to name a few. I consider them kindred spirits on many levels.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That it takes the most powerful computer in the world many thousands of years to crack private keys of a typical digital wallet in the crypto sphere.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I embrace my life with all its pitfalls and triumphs. They make me who I am. In fact, some of the hardest lessons of life, things people would rather change, catapulted me into trajectories that brought me enormous success.
How do you unwind?
By being out in nature (beaches, hikes, skiing), by having meaningful conversations with friends, or by playing with my 3-year old son.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan. I visited Japan in 2014 and became fascinated by its culture, food and history. I want to know more about it.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari—it puts a lot of things we do as humans into a deep historical perspective.
Shameless plug for your business:
Oqulent is building the next-generation analytical platform for digital assets. We provide institutional-grade investment research and consulting services to investors, governments, corporations and individuals. We are on a mission to become the world’s primary source for actionable insights on digital assets. Visit us at www.oqulent.com to learn more about us.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.