Traydstream’s CEO Sameer Sehgal sat down with Head of Marketing, Emma Davies, to talk about his inspirations, biggest learnings and the future of AI and Machine Learning.
My name is Sameer Sehgal. I’ve been in the industry for 30 years and I started my career in the early 90s, where I spent most of my time at Citibank. I began in India, moved to Hong Kong, Dubai and then London. My last job was with Citibank as Trade Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
I joined Traydstream in 2017, where it’s been an absolute amazing journey. My wife’s a banker as well and we live in London with three kids.
What inspired you to join Traydstream? And what challenges did you face in the early parts of your career?
I think technology, the confluence of technology and trade is exciting, and even in my banking days, I could see how technology was reshaping and redefining the other industries around us.
When you look at the trade industry with which I’ve been indelibly involved for the last 30 years, it has been wrapped up in a time warp, very paper-based, and cumbersome – It’s difficult for various people in the industry to work together. I could intuitively sense that technology had a way in which it could reshape and redefine it for the better for everybody involved.
As for my learnings, no one holds the pen as far as solutions for the future are concerned. No one person has a real defining idea as to what it’s going to look like, or how it’s going to finally pan out.
The other learning is that the path of innovation is riddled with failure. You will probably fail nine out of 10 times and need to have the patience, the guts, and the determination to get over that failure before you can get to a point where you start succeeding.
Another thing I have learned is the benefit of inclusivity. I think that perspective lends colour and makes a very important and telling difference to the way the solution gets configured finally.
And finally, with all of this, I’ve realised that you need to be humble, hungry, and have humility – you need to continue to put in the hard work because success does not get defined in one step.
What are some of the biggest lessons that you have learned as a leader in the industry? And how have those lessons and have those lessons impacted you?
The most crucial lesson I’ve learned is that learning is a lifelong journey. Despite 30+ years in the industry, transitioning to technology has been a constant learning curve. Continuous reinvention and staying humble are essential for success.
In today’s dynamic tech environment with opportunities abound, staying focused and informed is key. Being a voracious reader helps me understand industry nuances and tailor our technology to evolving needs. Perfection is not a destination but an ongoing journey, and embracing a perpetual learning mindset is vital for navigating the complexities of technology and business.
What piece of advice would you give to somebody interested in starting out in our industry?
It is one of the most fascinating times, as far as the trade industry is concerned.
We are currently experiencing a once-in-a-hundred-year transformation in the trade industry – a shift from analog to digital. This journey is extensive and will likely take a decade to reshape every facet of the industry. The reorientation involves not only banks and corporates but the entire trade ecosystem, including freight forwarders, insurance providers, and carriers, becoming digital.
For individuals passionate about technology and trade, seeking a dynamic non-nine-to-five job, and thriving in the deep end of innovation, this is an unparalleled opportunity.
What are some of the biggest trends that you see shaping the future of our industry? And how have we as TraydStream positioned ourselves to stay ahead of these trends?
Looking ahead, the road is paved with convergence. Traditionally siloed sectors such as logistics, FX, funding, trade processing, and education are now digitising simultaneously. This digital transformation enables convergence, providing a single access point for exporters to seamlessly manage transactions, funding, FX, logistics, and more.
Regulatory changes, such as the shift from physical to digital in the Bill of Exchange Act and the digitisation of the Electronic Trade Documents Act further support this momentum. These changes, coupled with regulatory alignment, indicate a pivotal decade for the trade industry, promising substantial savings, faster turnarounds, and disruptive benefits for all stakeholders.
We are in a decade of significant change in trade and Traydstream is very much at the forefront of that.