CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – When Rakesh Patel couldn’t find a website to practise cryptocurrency trading without investing real money, the Charlottetown entrepreneur did what he’s always done when confronted with a problem – he created a solution.
“I love building things. I love creating things which are far bigger,” said Patel, co-founder of Cryptoground.com.
In January, Patel launched a new version of the website, which gives users real-time market data and valuations as well as news, a trade simulator, mining calculator and a beginner’s guide. The site also has a ‘what if’ calculator that allows users to see how much profit or losses they would have incurred if they invested in a cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, on a prior date.
The first version of Cryptoground was launched about five months ago, Patel said.
“I built this whole site so I could play with it myself,” he said.
The Cryptoground site is free to join. Patel explained when someone registers, they receive $50,000 U.S. in virtual money to invest. The site has about 3,000 users and 10,000 page views daily. Patel has filled a position to help market the site and is looking to hire a content writer with journalism skills to provide authentic news and help with analysis.
Patel’s day job is CEO of Space-O Technologies, a mobile application software company he co-founded in India in 2010 with $1,000 and an Apple computer.
The company has grown to 254 employees with three offices in India and in Siberia, Phoenix, Ariz., and Monterey, Calif.
Patel said 11 companies reside within Space-O Technologies as a result of a unique incubation plan to retain managers. It involves providing managers in at least their fourth year with $75,000 U.S. in seed funding to “build your own dream product.” The manager still works for the company and earns a salary while working on the project, and can access other employees in various departments to help. The manager buys more shares in the company each year until 90 per cent is owned after nine years. Space-O Technologies retains 10 per cent, unless the company has ended operations.
“That’s the reason we don’t lose our managers,” he said.
One project Patel has been involved with is an app that gives a tennis coach real-time data on a player’s performance through a device on the racket. The project was created for a client in Atlanta.
Patel is also involved with Everythingcivic.com. The software uses GPS to connect residents with their local municipality. The app allows people to file a complaint with a municipality about concerns, such as the lack of snow removal or a streetlight or traffic light not working. It also gives users information about other municipal topics, such as traffic and transit services, help line phone numbers, bill payment information and office locations. The app is currently used in large cities like New Delhi and Ahmedabad in India.
Patel is also busy preparing to launch V Bridge, an app that connects organizations on P.E.I. with potential volunteers. Patel said volunteering is a way newcomers can integrate into society on the Island, make contacts and acquire local references for employment opportunities. The app uses GPS to identify organizations looking for volunteers in a particular area. Patel is hoping to launch the app in April or May.
Patel came to P.E.I. from India with his wife and two children in August 2016. His friend, also a brand ambassador with UPEI, suggested he visit the Island. His son is a student at Colonel Grey High School. He plays soccer and has taken to carpentry and furniture building as a hobby. His daughter is studying computer science with an interest in “big data.”
Patel operates out of office space in the Launchpad P.E.I. Building on Great George Street. He compares doing business in downtown Charlottetown to sitting at a dining room table – everything is conveniently located and within reach.
“You get things done here quickly,” he explained.
Before moving to Charlottetown, Patel did his research on the city and notes its “almost nil” crime rate, health care and short commute to work as motivating factors.
“This is more than money. This is lifestyle for me,” he said.