Rajiv Dingra launched RD&X Network, a global transformation network powered by deep tech and the gig economy. He was previously the Founder & CEO of WATConsult. An initial corpus of $10 million committed for organic and inorganic growth.
RD&X Network is a transformation network that leverages deep tech like AI, Blockchain, Robotics, XR and IoT, to drive brand, business, media, and data transformation, helping businesses become real-time, disruptive and thereby achieve exponential growth. A geography agnostic, gig economy-powered, and agility encoded company, its expansion plans include inorganic means of acquiring and investing in early stage companies, along with organic ways of creating flagship in-house solutions. It is building a global presence with hubs underway in the US, EMEA, and APAC.
In an exclusive chat with Medianews4u, chat Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, RD&X Network, talks about his new venture and the way forward.
You have had a multi-million dollar exit from WATConsult. Reason for this move?
I started WATConsult back in 2007 when social media was not even a buzzword and not being considered seriously by either clients or marketers themselves. I’ve been fortunate to have successfully led it to a strong team of 400 people over 13 years, and sold the venture completely to Dentsu International. They are doing quite well for themselves and around December 2019 I felt it was time for me to move on and try something new. So, in January 2020 I stepped down from my role at WATConsult.
Around my birthday in February this year, the idea of a Transformation Network came to me, much before COVID had become a global pandemic. I was already thinking of the opportunity in deep tech and the new-age business model of leveraging the gig economy. I felt the combination was one that could scale globally. Then in March-end, the pandemic got recognized the world over and it further accelerated all kinds of disruptions. It also strengthened my belief that 2020 to 2030 will be the decade of deep tech disruption leading to transformation across businesses the world over. This also made me accelerate my plan to start a transformation network called the RD&X Network.
What is the business of RD&X Network?
We are building a global deep tech transformation network powered by the gig economy. We will leverage deep tech like AI, Blockchain, Robotics, XR and IoT, to drive brand, business, media, and data transformation, helping businesses become real-time, disruptive, and thereby achieve exponential growth. Our mission is to enable deep tech transformation to empower businesses worldwide.
We are working on building a unique business model and operating model that will hopefully give us the edge and rapid global growth. Our growth plans include both organic and inorganic means. On the one hand, we are looking at bringing early-stage companies in the deep tech, gig-economy, ad tech and martech space worldwide that are globally scalable to be a part of the RD&X network. And on the other hand, we are working on creating our in-house cutting-edge transformational solutions.
RD&X is a powerful name. What’s the thought behind this name?
This is an interesting question and we have an equally interesting story behind it. RD&X stands for Real-time, Disruptive, and eXponential. We believe that businesses need to be both real-time and disruptive in order to drive exponential growth. Only after you are real-time and disruptive is when you can hope to achieve exponential growth. Deep tech is also known as exponential technologies globally. Secondly, R and D are my initials, and the X stands for the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs that we hope to bring on board, who will bring in the X-Factor which will complete our Network.
If you see our logo as well, we have used an incomplete infinity symbol as we believe transformation is always ongoing and never complete. Another reason to use this math symbol is that the madmen of yesterday are handing over the baton to the math men of the future. This does not mean that creativity will lose its place or the mad man creativity is not needed in this industry, it is but not without the math men of the future. Hence, an incomplete infinity symbol signifies the imperfection of creativity and the perfection of math at the same time.
With regards to the colors, white signifies the blank canvas on which the present and future of transformation will be created. ‘We are in the Black’ is popular business terminology, which in essence means being profitable. On the other hand, ‘Being in the Red’ denotes being in a loss. To us at RD&X Network, business is all about the constant pendulum between black and red. But businesses whether in red or in black need to strive to constantly innovate, self-disrupt, and prepare for the future as they try to successfully combat the present.
Your LinkedIn and Twitter channels mention that you are a geography agnostic network. Can you please elaborate on that?
We will be working on products and solutions that will not be tied to geographic limitations. It will be equally valuable to a company in Singapore as it will be to a company in New York. We also believe you can be producing anywhere and selling anywhere in today’s highly globalized world so why services and products that are anyways tech-oriented can’t be created in one place and consumed in another.
Additionally, we believe the work people do is no longer tied to a location anymore. I could be residing in Bombay or working out of my home in Singapore or a beach in Los Angeles, as long as I am delivering what I am supposed to that is what matters. This is how I believe all companies will judge people and talent in the future. So as far as I am concerned, we at RD&X Network don’t see the world as divided into geographies, we see the world divided by opportunities. We are also a remote-first organization and believe talent should be free to choose where, how and when they work so long as they deliver to their own and company goals. We believe transformation is not just for businesses, but for our people too. We even refer to ourselves as Transformists which means we believe in the constant cycle of learning and evolution.
How do you see the deep tech and the gig economy landscape going forward in the new normal?
Fundamental behavioral patterns have shifted after COVID-19 hit us and the change that probably would have taken another 3-5 years has been fast-tracked in 3-5 months. The largest businesses in the world have had to evolve forcibly in some cases and relook at their policies, processes, products, and even people to stay relevant to cope up with this change. I foresee the disruptive changes that await the advertising, marketing, and business consulting space in the coming decade and I believe deep tech like AI, Blockchain, Robotics, XR, and IoT will hugely enable the same.
There is no doubt in my mind that the gig economy is set to re-define the future of work. Studies show that the gig economy accounts for the second-highest number of work opportunities across the world, after full-time employment. Some of the biggest names in the business are born from this intersection of technology and the gig economy and are effectively making use of freelance and temporary professional talent. What we are excited by is the future potential of combining technology disruption that deep tech will create along with the business model disruption that the gig economy shall create in the coming future.