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Meet a south Asian millennial who co-founded a blockchain company in the US: let excitement be your guide

Sanjay Bandare was always a go-getter.

The 31 year old co-founded his blockchain company in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis in his home country of Sri Lanka in 2021. An honors student in high school, “My No. 1 dream in life was to be a person who changed the way the world worked” he says. But he didn’t quite know how to get there.

“I come from a tiny island nation off the southern coast of India, which not a lot of people have even heard of,” he says.

With monetary help from his elder sister, Sanjay managed to graduate with a degree in management information systems in Sri Lanka and was awarded the world prize in higher education qualifications by the British Computer Society in 2014.

“One of my abilities is being comfortable through uncertainty, collecting facts and making decisions,” he says. Ultimately, this ability led him to co-found VRRB Labs Inc, a blockchain platform with a new consensus algorithm.

Here’s how Sanjay built his career, and his advice for anyone keen to find their own successful career path.

‘I’m a builder’

After getting his degree, Sanjay was hired to do project management, product management and business consulting at a US based multinational technology company catering to Fortune 500 clients. He was hired by the company’s offshore advanced technology center based in Sri Lanka, after he had been called for an interview following his world prize. “I was extremely happy getting a job as soon as I left university,” he says.

During his tenure at Virtusa, he started learning about entrepreneurship, quickly climbing through the ranks within the company and clinching a lead position, working with a multitude of Fortune 500 companies and realizing, “I’m a builder,” he says. Starting his own company seemed like the best route.

Building on his enthusiasm of blockchain that started with him reading about Bitcoin and its underlying technology and what it could potentially do to the world and change the way people worked and interacted, he understood that he had met his calling.

He began looking at any and all information related to blockchain and its uses, speaking to anyone within the tech industry who would talk to him, and asked questions like, “Do you work at a startup? What does that mean? What is venture capital? What is an accelerator? How do you start a startup?

‘Where do you start?’

As a young individual from Sri Lanka, a country which did not foster nor have a culture of startups, Sanjay was faced with a dilemma of where to start. So, like any sensible individual, Sanjay looked to the internet to connect with entrepreneurs from across the globe. He had contemplated starting on his own, but realized that having a co-founder who complemented his own skills would enable him to reach his goals in the least amount of time possible. “I always recommend finding a co-founder, someone that complements your skills. A co-founder can take a lot of pressure off your plate and give you the necessary confidence to keep moving forwards” Sanjay says.

It is there, on the internet, through a discussion platform for entrepreneurs that Sanjay met his co-founder, Andrew Smith.

Sanjay and Andrew started talking, about an idea that Andrew had come up with and Sanjay soon realized the immense potential of the idea that Andrew was proposing.

As Sanjay learned that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley build tech, in part, to solve problems, both Andrew and Sanjay realized the problem they themselves would face as adopters of blockchain: there was no true interaction between the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies with real world problems and people.

When Sanjay talked to Andrew, he realized with what Andrew was proposing, “Why not build a new consensus algorithm for a new generation of blockchain, that would be faster, more secure and would enable the bridging of crypto and real-world economics”

That idea would turn into VRRB, founded in 2021, initially started with just Sanjay and Andrew, but now in 2022, boasting a third co-founder – Shiva Kintali, a PhD holder leading as their CTO supported by 6 highly skilled web3 engineers.

‘What is VRRB’s aim’

VRRB is a startup that is building a new, innovative, computationally lightweight block mining and consensus algorithm known as Proof of Claim. Proof of Claim allows for fast, decentralized, fair validation of transactions and block mining.

One of the main areas of focus for VRRB is ease of access to the network, to join and run a node.

Due to the lightweight nature of the algorithm, launching and running a node will simply be accessible to anyone with a computer. Proof of Claim is a consensus algorithm that aims to solve many of the issues currently present with both Proof of Work and Proof of Stake.

When it comes to advice, he’d give others looking to find their way in the workforce and entrepreneurship, Sanjay suggests letting excitement be your guide. “Do not be afraid to let your fear of failing stop you from building something great. Find a partner that you can build with, a cofounder will help you move forwards when you are doubting yourself. A cofounder doesn’t have to come from your city, or even your country. We live in a globalized world. Join platforms that are dedicated to pairing like-minded cofounders. If an opportunity feels like it’s out of your grasp, that’s exactly when you need to try and snatch it” he says.

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