From being a car guard to a businessman with a net worth of R4billion, Priven Reddy now rubs shoulders with the global business elite.
And it’s thanks to his innovation, Krypteum, a technology his company, Kagiso Interactive, developed to simplify cryptocurrency trading.
“The more I spoke to people about Bitcoin, the more they said it was complicated and I saw there was a real need for us to develop a solution.
“We decided to make Krypteum as easy as going to a vending machine to buy coke,” says Reddy, who is CEO of Kagiso Interactive.
“You shouldn’t need to watch your portfolios or go for seminars.
“Our lives are too busy so there is no need for that kind of stress.
“We realised that if we build a product that uses AI (artificial intelligence), the user doesn’t have to sit online 24 hours a day,” the 35-year-old says.
As his company specialises in AI, it developed a new currency to eliminate having to sit in front of a gadget to trade in cryptocurrencies.
“If you wanted to get involved with Bitcoin you would need to know how to get your wallet, secure it and learn how to trade.
“But you are a human who has to eat and go to work.
“You can’t sit and watch your cryptocurrency 24 hours a day.
“Markets are open 24 hours, unlike stocks. So we developed Krypteum which is a coin that uses AI and goes on it’s own to invest in multiple other currencies.
“When the coins are performing well, it will invest and make money.
“When the price is volatile or there is a dip in the markets, it will disinvest.
“It’s like having 100000 actuaries working for you per day.
It’s what cryptocurrencies should have been from the start.”
Before the cash started rolling in, one of the most important things he learnt was to never let his circumstances define him.
“Whenever something went wrong, I asked why me? It took me years to realise that those things happened to teach me lessons.
“People want instant gratification, but it doesn’t work like that.
“It took me over a decade to get to where I am.
“If you are resilient you will get to where you are supposed to be.”
He grew up in Chatsworth, a KwaZulu-Natal suburb notorious for poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse and crime. Reddy’s businessman dad died when he was a child, and this instilled in him the virtues of honesty, integrity and hard work.
He collected cardboard boxes and sold them to a recycler to earn money in his early childhood.
“My father was a hard working, honest man, who taught me the importance of working for your dreams from an early age.
:He instilled in me the values he consistently displayed throughout his life.
“I was taught to not sit back and expect things, but to go and work for them.” After Reddy finished high school, he applied for jobs, but was turned down. With no support system or financial backing to study further, he took a job as a car guard.
“I was young and broke and I needed to take care of my family. I agreed to take the job just to put food on the table,” he recalls, adding that his pay was a meagre R50 a day.
Then he got a job as a waiter in a restaurant. “I was so excited to get the opportunity, until one day a guy walked in with his girlfriend and insulted me by ordering me to take the leftover pizza to my family as they may need food.”
That motivated him to get to greater heights. “What really pushed me was not a desire to be wealthy or successful, but fear of remaining poor. I went from being unable to afford taxi fare most days to heading the leading mobile software development entity in Africa.
“When you have a burning desire to become better, nothing should ever permanently stand in your way, not now, not ever.”