Yurop Shrestha is a serial entrepreneur having already established and led multiple businesses. Holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Lewis & Clark College, USA, Shrestha is currently the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Kathmandu Lanco Pvt. Ltd., a newly established real estate development company with its first residential project consisting of 60 villas in Bhaisepati. He is also a Co-founder and Director of Phoenix Capital, the holding company for ebeema.com and karjabazaar.com, Nepal’s first online insurance and retail loan platform (aggregator model).
Shrestha is also the Director and Co-founder of GG Investment Co. Pvt. Ltd., a private family investment company and Chairman and Co-founder of Snowball Capital Pvt. Ltd. GG Investments have minority promoter interests in hydro-electricity, tourism, and medical sectors. Snowball Capital is an investment firm modeled after the ‘hedge fund’ concept, focused on the Nepali stock market where the investment philosophy is value based, long term oriented, and driven by rigorous research and common sense. Currently, the company has Rs. 25 Crores under its management. 
Shrestha is also on the Board of Directors for Gahana Griha, a leading jewelry house in Nepal and was instrumental in helping establish the company’s high-end jewelry brand, Zuleika by Gahana Griha. He is actively seeking to diversify the family business interests in new segments in a profitable and sustainable manner. 
Prior to coming to Nepal, Yurop was the VP, South Asia, for Aginsky Capital Group, where he was responsible for setting up and running the Company’s international office in New Delhi, India. From 2011 to 2013, he was a Senior Associate at Aginsky Capital Group, Portland, Oregon, USA, where he managed a $20 million real estate portfolio and was an integral member of advisory teams for various acquisitions and consulting projects. 

You were the one who brought the first online insurance to the country. How did it come about and what was the idea?  
It was a week after the earthquake in April 2015.  The initial shock and fear had subsided and there was a lull of sorts with our jewelry shops and the market at large still shut. With time on my hands and a hunger to do something meaningful and potentially substantial, I began exploring various sectors that could be direct beneficiaries of the earthquake. Insurance was one such sector and within insurance, I realized that the market was large and more importantly rapidly growing with a huge runway ahead. Upon deeper analysis and due diligence, I figured innovation was virtually non-existent in the industry and the industry was very arcane, inefficient, and bureaucratic. That is when, I and a couple of friends/cousins decided to start ebeema, an insurance aggregation portal. 
Our goal was to make insurance simple, fair and accessible to the customer in terms of both price and process, and use technology to remove existing inefficiencies.  
The idea wasn’t novel. It was ‘policybazaar.com’ for Nepal – a website/app where one can compare policies and buy it online. 
Why reinvent the wheel? We, as a country, are lacking in so many areas – playing catch up and bringing in proven technologies and business models from our neighbors or the world at large is plenty to keep a whole generation of entrepreneurs busy.  

What was your mission at the outset when you began your entrepreneurial journey?
In the beginning, for me, it was about wanting to build something of my own. It could be from scratch or building on a platform that I was blessed to have due to my parents. It was to prove to myself that I could make a difference, that I could move the needle.    

Unlike other business people, you say “Innovation is Not Good for Business”. Why do you think so?  
Because innovation is expensive and most of the times it fails. The probability of innovation succeeding is very, very slim. It makes perfect logical sense for any rational business person or investor to do something that has a high chance of success as opposed to a high chance of failure.  And the data is out there for everyone to see; innovations fail far more often than they succeed. 
As for me, business or investing in general is all about maximizing one’s chances of success while limiting one’s risk. As Mohnish Pabrai says – ‘Heads – I win, Tails – I don’t lose much’.  
A caveat here – it is important to evolve, and build on, and ‘replicate’ other people’s innovation.  Let everybody else do the heavy lifting. First mover advantage is an advantage only if you survive.    

How should one invest in any sector?  
Rationally, unemotionally, objectively!    

What do you think is trending at the moment?  
The same thing that has been trending historically almost everywhere, including Nepal – fear and greed. The market is a pendulum that swings towards one or another.  

You are always on the lookout for new venture ideas. How do you analyze things?  
Not anymore. Yes, I explored dozens of ventures and tried my hand in at least half a dozen different businesses over the past decade or so. I am much more focused now, I hope.    

It’s simple for me. I really look at a few things:  
- The nature of the business and its chances of success given the market conditions. To derive the probability is largely a combination of common sense and rigorous analysis.  
-My particular skill-set, personality, wherewithal and whether it complements the opportunity or not
-Will I be happy pursuing that opportunity? This is more of a personal choice. I have to love what I am doing. Otherwise, I don’t think external motivation is going to give me the same kind of energy day in and day out.  
  
How do you think this ban of imports is going to affect the market?  
It’s probably not going to be good for the traders. It’s a move that’ll most likely result in some sort of contraction of the economy. However, I am no macroeconomist, so we’ll see what happens.   
What is your view about legalizing the crypto in Nepal ?  
They should do it – there are models where it won’t affect capital flight and can be done in a regulated fashion but I doubt they will this decade. But before crypto, we still need to legalize so many other financial products – short selling, derivatives, day trading, margin lending, NBFCs, PE/VC,  zero-fee brokerage, the list is quite extensive. 

You are also involved with housing and real estate. Do you think it’s the right time to invest in real estate? How do you think one can maximize the returns?  
It’s impossible to say what will happen to future asset prices. Real estate prices have not gone down in Nepal since I was born or maybe even since the past 80-100 years. Now does that mean that the next 80 years will look similar? Historically speaking, real estate prices in no country can continue an unsustainable trajectory, the party will stop at some point. Maybe tomorrow, maybe after 50 years, who knows!  
Having said that, a home is a necessity for everyone. We spend half of our lives at home. So investing in a good home for you and your family is always a good idea. At the end of the day, a happy life is what we are all after and I strongly believe a good home plays a pivotal role in ‘maximizing’ the happy quotient.    

Do you think the aggressive startup culture is good for the market?  
Yes. I am a big fan of free and fair competition.    

Considering the post pandemic scenario, what strategies do you think the company should incorporate to sustain and grow ?
Any company should have a strong balance sheet, agile thinking to proceed towards things and a quick decision-making ability. The ability to sustain pain for long periods as an institution along with a strong culture is equally important.

How logical do you think ethical business is in today’s day and age?
Completely logical! I mean a lot of people have built empires ‘unethically’ so to speak. Each individual or company has their own set of values – not the values on their website but their true values.  
Doing things ethically is just easier I believe. Yes, it may be slower and more frustrating, however, a good night’s sleep is as good a return as an extra five percentage point on your ROE in the short term. As a business practice too, doing things ethically will attract the right kind of capital, the right kind of partners and employees, creates the right kind of culture. The values will be reflected in the products and services too. Unethical values will eventual result in shoddy products and services which will directly lead to a decline in the business. 

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Think probabilistically.