theWeb3.News Audio Experience
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Today, we have Arad Malhotra, an award-winning social entrepreneur whose work stands at the forefront of technological innovation and social impact. Arad’s journey is marked by his passion for creating and leading organizations that drive significant societal change, irrespective of the industry or technology involved. As the founder and CEO of Report To Earn Inc., he has pioneered the world’s first gamified web3 platform that rewards users for reporting and validating real-life incidents, a testament to his vision of harnessing technology for the greater good.
Arad’s entrepreneurial spirit is not limited to Report To Earn Inc. He’s also the co-founder of Skyless Game Studios, an organization that has garnered acclaim for using games as a medium for social impact and engagement. His work in integrating immersive gaming, AI, and blockchain across various sectors demonstrates his unique ability to blend innovation with social responsibility.
Recognized globally for his contributions, including being granted the prestigious ‘Genius’ visa by the U.S. government and featuring on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, Arad continues to inspire with his dedication to impactful entrepreneurship. His insights have been sought after in international forums and publications, and his influence extends to coaching executive leadership in Fortune 500 companies. We’re eager to dig into the mind of an individual who is not just changing the future of technology and gaming but is also redefining the landscape of social entrepreneurship.
As a child, what were some of your primary interests or hobbies, and do you see a connection between those interests and your current entrepreneurial ventures?
As a child, I was always interested in art, programming, and philanthropy, and video games were the perfect combination of the above, which initially led to the educational path that I chose (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with concentrations in Video Game Development and Design, Human-Computer Interaction, and Information Systems).
This path led to the founding of my first organization, Skyless Game Studios, which focuses on philanthropic game design that empowers several social impact causes, including Anti-corruption investigation training for federal law enforcement, therapeutics for children with autism and stroke patients, minority empowerment, and several other projects.
Eventually, this has led to the founding of my current venture, Report To Earn™
Was there a particular moment or experience in your childhood that sparked your interest in technology and gaming?
With more than 3 billion people across demographics around the world playing video games and the immersiveness of the medium, I realized that this platform should be used for more than just entertainment. The behavioral psychology behind video games led me to explore the untapped potential of motivating people to contribute to social issues, all while having fun and being competitive.
Were there any significant challenges you faced in your childhood that helped shape your resilience and determination as an entrepreneur?
Coming from a middle-class background, but with an entrepreneurial mindset shaped by my parents (my father is a media entrepreneur, and my mother is an educationist), I faced several challenges that shaped my journey. One significant instance was relocating from New Delhi, where I was born and exposed to extreme poverty in society, to Dubai at the age of 13. When my family transitioned from living in a house with extended family to starting from scratch and sharing a single bedroom, these experiences taught me valuable lessons in humility, responsibility, and resilience.
What inspired you to create innovative business models like Report To Earn, and how do you identify opportunities for such disruptive ideas?
Having been a social entrepreneur for over a decade, I learned a lot through the hardships and challenges associated with making a real, quantifiable difference in the world. This journey involved gaining diverse insights from various roles, including being a co-founder of Skyless Games and serving as an advisory board member for several socially driven companies across industries such as gaming, fashion, AI, and executive coaching.
One of the most profound lessons I learned is that, in our pursuit of positive change, we often succumb to following trends such as AR/VR, 3D printing, blockchain, and now AI without a deep understanding of the underlying problems or challenges.
The key to true disruption comes not from reinventing the wheel but from observing, adapting, and combining solutions that effectively create value for people, particularly those in underprivileged and under-represented communities.
How would you describe your leadership style, and how has it evolved as you’ve grown as an entrepreneur?
Empowerment, trust, and communication form the cornerstone of successful leadership, in my humble opinion. Initially, I believed that authoritative direction was the path to effective leadership. However, over time, I came to the realization that this approach is not sustainable.
Discovering a shared goal and purpose, and then supporting motivated individuals to harness and expand their skill sets in achieving these objectives, while allowing room for mistakes and learning, proves more beneficial and sustainable in the long run. This contrasts with a ‘task manager’ or ‘taskmaster’ leadership style, which, while potentially yielding quicker results, lacks scalability. This perspective was particularly solidified during my tenure as an executive coach at major Fortune 500 companies through Agile Brains Consulting. I have detailed this transformative journey to assist fellow entrepreneurs and enterprises in a comprehensive account.
How do you approach major decision-making, especially when balancing technological innovation with business viability?
Making decisions becomes straightforward when you consistently keep the Vision and Goal in mind, letting go of the fear of failure. Failure, far from being a negative term, is an opportunity for learning and growth. It’s crucial not to succumb to tunnel vision caused by tactical decisions that might not align with the overarching goal. Personally, I gained profound insights when I practically implemented the OODA loops framework created by the US Navy.
The convergence of technological innovation and business viability is facilitated when your vision and goals are crystal clear, stemming from the identification of a core challenge through root cause analysis.
Can you share a significant challenge you faced in your entrepreneurial journey and how you overcame it?
Just like any entrepreneur’s journey, mine was filled with challenges, some minor and many significant and. From last-minute setbacks in major contracts and funding sources to the unpredictable shifts in market dynamics, various uncontrollable circumstances, including the impact of COVID, presented many hurdles.
Yet, the most formidable challenge I encountered was navigating the complex US immigration process while actively managing Skyless Games. Despite having a team of 17 members along with my co-founders Oleksandr Levtchenko and Chris Bennett, I faced the pressing issue of having less than 60 days left to stay in the country.
Overcoming this challenge required extensive support, hard work, and the generosity of wonderful individuals. I successfully tackled this hurdle through the O-1A (genius visa) route, which entailed providing evidence to prove that I was in the top 1% globally in the field of Video Games, even at an early pre-revenue stage of the company. You can find more details about this journey in this Huffington Post article.
The positive outcomes from overcoming this immigration challenge were substantial, including a significant speaking engagement at the International Anti-Corruption Conference and the making the Forbes 30 Under 30.
Are there specific sustainability or environmental goals that you aim to achieve through your future projects?
Yes! I’m glad you asked. Perhaps, there is no more critical social cause today than climate, environment, and sustainability. Report To Earn has conscientiously designated a category that enables users to report and validate environmental hazards and issues. This encompasses a wide range, including air pollution levels, illegal dumping/littering, hazardous waste, water/marine pollution, chemical spills, illegal protected land encroachment, and noise pollution.
The platform actively harnesses validated crowdsourced data, comprising pictures, videos, and reports, among other forms of evidence. This robust dataset is then collaboratively shared with our sustainability partners for in-depth analytics and evidence-based accountability, contributing to our collective efforts towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.
Can you speak about the role of collaborations and partnerships in the growth of your businesses, particularly with Skyless Game Studios?
Collaborations and partnerships are not just after-thoughts but integral components embedded in the core business models of both Skyless Game Studios and Report To Earn. When addressing impactful issues, it is paramount to engage with the best subject matter experts and organizations to define goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), allowing us to measure the impact of our solutions and ensure the accomplishment of our objectives.
For instance, at Skyless, we formed partnerships with RGI and Transparency International, globally recognized as top anti-corruption experts, for our ‘Follow The Money’ game. Additionally, we collaborated with doctors from the University of Pennsylvania for certain healthcare and therapy-based solutions.
At Report To Earn, our expansive network of partnerships includes government agencies, law enforcement, media outlets, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and socially conscious retail organizations, among others. These collaborations amplify our collective ability to address societal challenges and achieve meaningful, lasting impact.
What strategies have you employed for funding your ventures, and how do you attract investors to socially-driven projects?
Skyless Games has consistently operated as a bootstrapped venture, enabling us to be discerning about impact projects that align most closely with our values. Our revenue generation model is flexible, ranging from a development fee to royalties and joint venture partnerships with profit-sharing structures. Additionally, we tailor custom/hybrid models based on the specific needs of our clients and partners. This approach has empowered us to collaborate with organizations of varying sizes and scales, depending on their impact goals and the nature of the projects, be it grant-funded initiatives or Corporate Social Responsibility-sponsored monetizable solutions.
Report To Earn has so far successfully secured funding through family and friends, as well as angel investments. Currently, we are strategically engaging with early-stage investors who bring valuable expertise to different facets of our business. In our pursuit of additional funding, we aim to attract investors with robust portfolios in Blockchain/AI, Gaming, Govtech/CivicTech, Media, and Impact, ensuring a well-balanced cap table.
A crucial tip for attracting investors is to understand their preferences, align with their goals, and structure pitches with a focus on both financial and impact metrics that resonate with their priorities.
I recently had the opportunity to delve extensively into this topic in a podcast.
Looking forward, what areas of personal growth are you focusing on to enhance your effectiveness as an entrepreneur?
My mantra is to keep learning, evolving, and maintaining a positive outlook, regardless of the challenges thrown my way. It begins with acknowledging that experiencing extreme lows and highs is a very ‘normal’ part of any journey. Once you truly embrace this reality, it becomes significantly easier to stay stress-free and focus on ‘solutions,’ irrespective of external challenges or circumstances. I plan to persist in this practice while also dedicating more time to enhancing my physical health and spending quality time with my family.
How do you plan to cultivate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders, especially in the tech industry?
I prioritize taking time to volunteer and share my learnings with fellow young entrepreneurs, regardless of their industry. Each person has their unique journey, but those with an open mind and a growth mindset can gain valuable insights from others’ experiences.
In my speaking engagements and on various platforms, I aim to emphasize the importance of looking beyond buzzwords, fads, and get-rich-quick schemes. Instead, I try to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs to focus on endeavors that genuinely add value to others during our limited time on this planet. For those interested, I’ve shared a list of heartfelt reflections that I recently posted on LinkedIn.
Have you had any mentors or influential figures in your life? How have they shaped your journey?
Elon Musk! I’m just kidding. While I’m sure Elon is great, my journey really has been shaped by the unwavering support and influence of my family, school teachers, professors, co-founders, closest friends, and the incredible professional relationships I’ve built. Each of these individuals has played a significant role in shaping who I am and contributing to whatever little I have achieved along the way.
It’s challenging to single out or list a few individuals because there have been so many good people in my life from whom I’ve learned and whom I’ve looked up to. While I’m conscious that this might read like an Oscar speech, the gratitude I feel for everyone is truly immense. Each person has left an indelible mark on my journey, and I am indebted to each one of them.
How can people find out more about Report To Earn and connect with you?
I make it a point to be accessible to people and am always happy to help others to the best of my ability.
Feel free to connect with me on any of the following platforms:
To learn more about Report To Earn or to join our early beta test program check out our website or follow us on our social media handles:
You can also email us at email@example.com