Q&A With Giri Devanur, Founder and CEO of Runs.com

What is Runs.com and how does it work?

The idea behind Runs.com is to deliver extraordinary experiences to a global community of people, who are fans of Cricket, Cinema and Coffee. We are the world’s first blockchain-based e-commerce platform for experiences targeting 25 countries and over 2 billion people. We are aiming to pivot from the conventional ecommerce offerings that are available in the market today from a commodity-based offering to a more value-based offering. We believe that as the markets mature, people will start looking for more experience-based offerings. Runs aims to capture these experiences into a tangible and quantifiable offering that can be shared and experienced by all on our platform.

How is Runs fundamentally different from other centralised platforms for experiences?

We at Runs want to disrupt the monopolistic eCommerce platforms and decentralize the eCommerce marketplace. We believe that this is the future and with our patent pending XKU model sharing and transacting real life experience will become a reality. We envision a growing community of users transacting with Runs tokens to share and trade their favourite experiences.

We want to transform from the conventional Centralized Platforms to a Trusted Decentralized Marketplace. Also, convert Electronic (SKU) Commerce to Experience (XKU) Commerce. Digital trust encompasses everything from product information to data collection to payment transactions occurring within the platform. It’s a key feature assured by the Blockchain and reinforced by the effort towards GDPR compliance.

XKU or Experience-Keeping-Unit is an innovative extension of Stock-Keeping-Units and has 3 attributes namely Story, Source & Sustainability. These act as ledger entries that are codified on the Blockchain. Runs has already filed a provisional patent for XKU.

Can you tell us the core USP of Runs.com?

There is a massive shift away from traditional ecommerce to experiences driven community commerce. No other company has managed to capture experiences and curate them in the past. With Runs we are looking to leverage the exciting Blockchain technology to allow people to share their memorable moments within the community. Initially we will be focusing on Cricket, Cinema and Coffee enthusiasts around the world. 

Do blockchain-powered platforms provide a better experience to users and how?

Blockchain is present almost everywhere now, the hype around it is making the world pause and take notice of this powerful technology. But Blockchain is more than just new technology, it includes the design and user experience which sets this technology apart.

Blockchain provides great potential for how information is shared as well as verified, it should not be limited to only those who already understand the specifications of it.

Does the platform allow members to share their experience with other community members? What are the other features of the platform?

The USP of Runs.com is our patent pending XKU (Experience Keeping Unit). XKU will be a far superior method to identify 3S’s — the Story behind a product, the Source – is it ethically produced and the Sustainability aspects. XKU’s will come with their unique bar codes that will register the uniqueness of each unit that is listed. All this is then transacted on the secure blockchain platform to ensure security. After the decentralized blockchain is put into effect, members will be able to share their own XKUs (pending XKU verification) with other members on the platform.

Can you walk me through the payments model? How do users make payments?

To provide maximum flexibility to users, it is contemplated that both fiat and token payments will be allowed on the system. When users create an account, they will have the option to purchase RUNS tokens with either BTC or ETH. To obtain these crypto assets, there is a step by step guideline on the website to walk a user through this.

Do you follow a marketplace model? How many experiences providers and in which geographies have you partnered with?

Initially, Runs will be following an inventory model where Runs will buy in wholesale and sell it in retail and will slowly transition to a hybrid wholesale and marketplace model. We have conducted successful pilot events with PVR and Coffee day and are in discussions with a number of brands for forging future partnerships. We have identified 25 countries and 125 cities which are our key markets. We are working aggressively to be present in these countries and cities through various initiatives. For Q6, we contemplate 30 XKUs by the end of CY 2018 and ramping that up to 120 XKUs.

 You seem to have raised funding from some VCs. Can you share details?

Response: Yes, we have closed an equity round of US 1 million from US investors. The round is backed by Panamax Capital, Beast Capital and Columbia Angels. The funds would be used to grow the operations and build the technology. We have also launched Token Generation Event (TGE), also known as Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in May through 3 phases – Private presale, Public presale and Crowd sale. There was a total of 75,000,000 tokens available for buyers. 

When are you launching ICO? What is your hard target?

Response: We have a total supply of 180million RUNS tokens. We are opening 75M tokens during pre-sale. During this period, we are offering 30% discount as an early bird offer. Following this we will launch the crowd sale during September.

Have you signed up any new partners for funding or private placement?

We have partnered with Panamax Capital, LLC to execute a private placement offering of $15Million in Runs Tokens and $5 Million in shares. This private placement will accelerate growth for the company by generating capital on the strength of the unique business model.

We have also signed up for a purchase agreement with BlockTeam Ventures, LLC for a private placement offering of Runs Tokens as part of its ongoing ICO.

Who are your biggest competitors?

We have different categories of competition. For examples, there are online ticketing companies, there are travel companies etc. But there is no direct competition as we have invented our own XKU model.

What expansion plans are you looking for in the next 2 to 5 years?

In the next one year we plan to build a global community for users transacting with Runs tokens to share and trade their favourite experiences. We would like to expand to 125 cities in 25 countries in the next 3 years. Currently we have technology development teams in USA, India and Singapore.

Who are the people behind the company?

Mr. Giri Devanur is the Founder & CEO – Runs. He is an E&Y entrepreneur of the year award winner and has successfully completed Nasdaq IPO of AMRH (Ameri100.com).

Board of Directors:

Mr. James Yee: Chairman

Mr. Tom Blinten: Managing Partner/CEO, Paramax Capital

Miss. Jee Cho: VP- Technology Finance Viacom:

Mr. Nobuyuki Mokkoh: Director, Marubeni America Corporation

What are the challenges with the traditional centralized SKU based ecommerce?

In the centralized business model of eCommerce, existing players exercise significant discretion on commerce that gets transacted on their platforms. Existing eCommerce platforms not only act as intermediaries in buyer-seller transactions, but they also sell directly.

To maximize profits, these eCommerce platforms may promote certain offerings, mostly their own, over those of external sellers. This is in direct conflict with the consumer’s demand for transparency and trust in decision-making, and the producer demand for price control and product discovery.

Some of the challenges are:

  1. SKU Commoditization
  2. Lack of Transparency
  3. Centralized Monopolies
  4. Last but most important is ‘trust’

What is the future of XKU’s and Decentralized ecommerce platforms?

Experience-Keeping-Unit or XKU is a unique identification code that can be entered into a distributed ledger. XKU includes the basic attributes of an SKU (Stock-Keeping-Unit) and adds three additional attributes on top of that – Story, Source and Sustainability. The second aspect of transformation is associated with the concept of XKUs (Experience Keeping Units) as opposed to conventional SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). As mentioned previously, Digital Trust encompasses everything from product information to data collection to payment transactions occurring on the platform. Immutable distributed ledger entries for the above, creates transparency and trust in the way the platform operates.

Could you share with us a few words about your recently published book ‘Nothing to Nasdaq’.

This was not a planned book. Right after our Nasdaq listing, some of my younger colleagues and friends asked me what’s the formula to get a company listed. And then we realized that we had broken some real records in our journey to listing on Nasdaq within 4 years. This book is a bit of my journey as well as how to get listed on Nasdaq. During my years at Columbia University, I had researched under the guidance of Dr. Art Langer and I had developed a framework SNSNFTP (Strategy, Negotiations, Sales, Networking, Finance, Technology and People). These skills I believe are a must to take one’s company from “Nothing to Nasdaq”.

About Runs.com:

Runs is the world’s first blockchain-based e-commerce platform for experiences targeting 25 countries and over 2 billion people. Lead by its dynamic CEO Giri Devanur, this Singapore-based start-up with offices in NY & Bangalore, intends to bring together Coffee, Cinema & Cricket fans around the world on its platform. Providing exclusive experiences like Coffee tours, LIVE cricket viewing & Invites to movie premiers; Runs will be a platform that seeks to engage its users with a more relevant experiential marketing approach of offering curated experiences in their areas of interest. Runs aims to build a global community of people around their interest areas in 25 countries and 125 cities

Giri Devanur, CEO of Runs, has had a history of entrepreneurial successes. His last venture got listed on Nasdaq within just 4 years of its launch. Giri was instrumental in scaling the revenues from $3M to $50M in that short span. He has also been conferred with the “EY Entrepreneur of the Year” award for 2017 in US.

Runs was incubated at Columbia University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at Columbia Business School. With the power of technologies such as Blockchain, AI, ML, AR/MR, they are reimagining the ways communities interact and engage in a decentralized world.

Founder and CEO: Giri Devanur, Runs

Mr. Giri Devanur is the Founder & CEO – Runs. He is an E&Y entrepreneur of the year award winner and has successfully completed Nasdaq IPO of AMRH (Ameri100.com).

He has helped raise multiple rounds of capital, executed M&As and created successful companies such as Ameri100. He is also a mentor at the Columbia University. He is an Indian by origin and has completed has completed his graduation from University of Mysore. He is an alumni of institutes like MIT, Harvard Law School and Columbia University.

Co-Founder & CTO: Artit Wangperawong, Runs

Mr. Artit Wangperawong is the Co-Founder and CTO – Runs. He is a scientist, engineer and educator. He also co-founded other companies such as SaturnAPI and Vody.

His educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

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