Steering Llama towards a kinder tech future

By Maria Irene
Shreyas Hariharan, the co-founder of Llama

Shreyas Hariharan, the co-founder of Llama, is a figure whose journey intertwines technological innovation with a deep-rooted commitment to social betterment. His venture, Llama, is not a mere  start-up in the bustling world of blockchain and cryptocurrency; it’s a testament to Hariharan’s unique approach to technology and life.

Llama stands out in the blockchain domain as an innovative access control and governance platform for smart contracts. This platform is more than a technical solution; it’s a response to the need for transparent, secure, and effective management of permissions within blockchain protocols. The creation of Llama was fuelled by Hariharan and his team’s experiences and challenges in the crypto world, leading to a product designed to secure the next generation of protocols.

The significance of Llama was recognised early on, as it successfully raised $6 million in a seed funding round. This investment, led by the Founders Fund and Electric Capital, was earmarked for the platform’s further development, underlining the tech community’s confidence in Llama’s potential. This funding also enabled the hiring of more engineers and covering infrastructure costs, setting Llama on a path of rapid development and expansion.

However, to truly understand Hariharan and his vision, one must know his backstory. Born and raised in Bangalore, India, Hariharan’s journey to co-founding Llama was marked by a blend of entrepreneurial spirit and a deep-seated desire to impact society positively. This blend is vividly reflected in his earlier initiative, Unsung People, which he founded as a student at the University of Virginia. Unsung People was a platform dedicated to sharing stories of kindness, drawing inspiration from ‘Humans of New York’, but with a unique twist of focusing solely on positive narratives.

The inception of Unsung People was triggered by an incident Hariharan witnessed in Bangalore—an act of kindness by an auto-rickshaw driver clearing the way for an ambulance in a traffic jam. This experience not only led to the birth of Unsung People but also shaped Hariharan’s philosophy towards life and business. He saw Unsung People as a means to combat the ‘Mean World Syndrome’, a phenomenon where excessive consumption of negative news skews public perception of the world towards danger and mistrust.

Under Hariharan’s leadership, Unsung People expanded its reach, forming chapters in India, at the University of Virginia, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The initiative’s success can be attributed to its interactive approach, collecting and sharing stories through events and online submissions, thus fostering a community of positive storytelling and inspiring acts of kindness.

Hariharan’s personal values of authenticity, humour, and resonance are evident in his approach to both technology and social initiatives. He treasures his experiences, from driving his old car to exhaustion, cherishing a cap with a call to the mountains, to jotting down ideas in his notebook that range from solving sleep issues to reimagining economic models. His hobbies, including running, basketball, and stand-up comedy, reflect a well-rounded personality that values endurance and the joy of long-term commitments.

Hariharan’s philosophical underpinnings are deeply influenced by David Deutsch’s ‘The Beginning of Infinity’, which resonates with his belief that anything not forbidden by the laws of physics is achievable with enough knowledge. This mindset is a driving force behind his ventures, be it in the realm of blockchain technology with Llama or in fostering societal goodwill through Unsung People. In a remarkable testament to its innovative impact in the world of finance, Llama has been honoured with a place in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the finance category.

Shreyas Hariharan’s career is a fascinating amalgamation of technological prowess and humanitarian ethos. His journey from the streets of Bangalore to the forefront of blockchain technology, interspersed with meaningful societal contributions, paints a picture of an individual who is not just building a product but is also committed to building a better world.

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Maria Irene
As a dedicated journalist at The Indian Sun, I explore an array of subjects from education and real estate to macroeconomics and finance. My work deep dives into the Australia-India relationship, identifying potential collaboration opportunities. Besides journalism, I create digestible content for a financial platform, making complex economic theories comprehensible. I believe journalism should not only report events but create an impact by highlighting crucial issues and fostering discussions. Committed to enhancing public dialogue on global matters, I ensure my readers stay not just informed, but actively engaged, through diverse platforms, ready to participate in these critical conversations.