Insights

5 Questions with FinTech Founders - Arta Finance

August 02, 2023
by: Cohen Circle Team

Welcome to 5 Questions with FinTech Founders, where we sit down with the next generation of FinTech innovators to hear about how they got started, and where they are going. 

In this installment, we spoke with Caesar Sengupta, Co-Founder and CEO of Arta Finance, a digital family office that uses technology to unlock the financial superpowers of the ultra-wealthy.

Caesar has a passion for using technology to bring access. In his last role at Google as VP & GM of Payments & the Next Billion Users initiative, he led Google Pay, which went from 0 to 175M+ users in ~5 years. He also built other hit products like Files and Camera Go, and he helped start and led the development of Chromebooks. Previously, Caesar worked as an engineer at Encentuate (acq IBM) and HP Labs.

Caesar holds fifteen patents in Operating Systems Design and Expert Finding Systems and earned an MBA from the Wharton School and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University. He resides in Singapore.

1. What inspired you to start Arta?

Arta came about from an idea that brewed within a group of us who'd been at Google for quite a while. Over time, we found our conversations branching out from the day-to-day grind. We started talking about life after work - retirement, investing, goal-setting and such.

As we were climbing the career ladder, we started noticing something about the big wigs, the folks who'd been there since the start of Google. They seemed to have financial superpowers we were just not privy to - access to unique opportunities, tailormade solutions and a network of people with similar ambitions. That got us thinking: could we bring these superpowers to the masses, us included, by leveraging technology?

Over the last few years, as technology and AI reached a tipping point, we felt it was time to jump in and make it happen. And that's how Arta was born. We're here to use AI and technology to bring these financial superpowers to a wider audience.

2. What problem were you trying to solve in the market?

Handling money and finances is a critical aspect of everyone's life, but let's be honest, the financial world as it stands is imbalanced, opaque, and strangely complicated.

I'm a firm believer that technology, and particularly AI, has the potential to make financial superpowers - the exclusive opportunities, profound knowledge, and access to experts - which currently seem reserved for the ultra-wealthy, available to far more people. This is precisely the mission we've embarked on with Arta.

Many of us at Arta have devoted our careers to utilizing technology to extend accessibility and bridge gaps. Our experiences span diverse projects, like Chromebooks, which revolutionized personal computing by making it more affordable. This not only lowered the cost but allowed thousands of schools to introduce 1:1 computing to millions of students. Then there's Google Pay, which now serves hundreds of millions of users worldwide and has played a pivotal role in economies like India's transition from cash to digital payments.

We want to make wealth building easier and more accessible.

3. What lessons have you learned that you would share with other entrepreneurs
looking to scale?

Think in terms of problems and pain points. I'm truly proud of the team we've assembled at Arta, and I'm confident in our ability to create top-notch products and solutions, second to none. However, the crux lies in identifying and understanding fundamental, prevalent challenges. Issues like over-concentration of financial assets, or the lack of a comprehensive view of your financial landscape. These are genuine concerns faced by a multitude of individuals.

Our goal is to delve deep into these challenges, comprehend them, and then devise insightful, compelling solutions. It's not just about creating a product; it's about crafting an answer to these deeply-rooted issues. This is what we aim to achieve at Arta.

4. What measures do you take to create a culture of growth within your company?

The majority of our team, in a way, has "come of age" together. Many of us worked together to build Google Pay from the ground up, with many of us having previously collaborated on ChromeOS. This shared journey has fostered a distinct culture, which we've carried over and continue to cultivate at Arta. We even went a step further by penning a culture doctrine, outlining the virtues and principles we hold dear. We abide by it wholeheartedly, and it has proven to be an effective filter or magnet, assisting others in deciding if Arta aligns with their own values and aspirations.

We actively engage in discussions about our culture, its evolution, and how we can continually refine it. We firmly believe that a strong, open culture is not static, but an entity that grows and evolves with us.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

Surround yourself with people you look up to and admire. Our concept of a digital family office might never have surfaced if we hadn't been exposed to the world of family offices and financial superpowers, thanks to the accomplished individuals in our circles and those who blazed the trail before us. There's immense value in learning from those who've “been there, done that.” Their knowledge and experiences can be an invaluable guide in our journey.

To learn more about Arta, visit artafinance.com.

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