Arunoday Ganguly is a trusted consultant who collaborates with global business leaders, offering insights into business, legal, and go-to-market strategies. His reputation stems from his pragmatic approach to providing effective solutions characterized by his inventive mindset, constantly generating fresh ideas for success.
With an extensive background in distinguished conglomerates like TATAs, Citigroup, ICICI Bank, and American Express, Arun aspired to establish a sustainable business ecosystem. He founded Cygal Systems, a social impact startup, that focuses on creating a digital platform connecting local and international businesses and individuals, offering expertise in digital transformation, legal tech, and strategic growth.
Arun is dedicated to entrepreneurship, exemplified by his role as National Director of BNI in Bahrain. He’s also a Co-founder & Director of Cygal Attorneys Ltd., a boutique law firm registered in ADGM, UAE in 2022. Beyond his professional achievements, Arun’s love for reading and travel shines. Having explored 38 countries in 14 years, his recent journey in July 2023 took him to Hawaii’s Maui, Kuai, Honolulu, and Kona.
Tell us about your experience in legal and business affairs.
It has been an incredible journey for the last two decades. I have thoroughly enjoyed each role that came my way in every world-class brand that I worked for. The learning curve was immense. The higher I moved up the organization ladder, the more responsible I became. In my last corporate role as the GC of AMEX MENA, my core responsibility was to protect the organization’s legal and commercial interests and I had been successfully doing that for over 14 years.
You’ve moved from corporate roles to entrepreneurship. What prompted you to transition, and how has your corporate experience influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
I have always been a self-motivated person. I motivated myself to start an entrepreneurial journey when I joined my Executive MBA while working. I wanted to set up a boutique law firm and a social impact startup that can touch maximum lives across the world. Life is all about taking calculated risks. And with all my corporate experience working with distinguished professionals under my belt, I took the risk to start this mission. Yes, it’s not an easy decision, and it took me six months to take the final call.
Tell us more about Cygal Systems, your social impact startup?
While founding Cygal Systems, I had two clear thoughts on creating social impact – one in legal management and the other in technology management. Both these subjects are not a common expertise of businessmen across the world. I wanted to eradicate digital inequality and offer affordable LegalTech platforms and business solutions to businesses locally, regionally, and globally. I am delighted that the plan is working out very well in two years, and I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of my entrepreneurial journey. I strongly believe, “We don’t know what lies ahead of us, but we know who holds the future.”
What motivated you to establish a venture focused on social impact, and what challenges have you faced in this unique entrepreneurial space?
Being a legal and business advisor for over two decades, I have come across umpteen problems that business looks for a solution. How can I help these businesses overcome problems through pragmatic solutions? How many times have we seen businesses perish due to a lack of reach for the correct guidance?
Since my venture was focused on social impact, the immediate flow of revenue wasn’t really there and, as such, I could not get any financial support from any funding partner. So, it has been wholly boot-strapped, and technology investments sometimes come at a high cost.
What are your thoughts on the startup ecosystem in your region?
The regional startup ecosystem is growing, and to accelerate the growth further, it needs more structured funding support at the seed and angel investment levels. In addition, the region’s banking system must evolve to participate in this startup ecosystem.
How do you balance your role as a key advisor to management with your strategic thinking to ensure the best outcomes for the organizations you work with?
This is a great question. As a key advisor, my job has always been to highlight the potential legal risk for the organization. However, as a strategic thinker, I have always come up with pragmatic solutions to mitigate potential risks and create workarounds for businesses in order to be compliant. Reading and subscribing to key journals helps me stay updated with the latest legal and business trends.
Please share a key lesson or insight you’ve gained from your involvement in startups that might resonate with others.
I want to share the journey of starting BNI in Bahrain. In May 2022, I took the Master Franchise of BNI for Bahrain. I met several entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and businessmen in Bahrain and tried to explain the concept of BNI and “Givers Gain.” I barely received any encouragement. Moreover, most of them I had met told me that BNI wouldn’t work in Bahrain as it is a small island, and most people know each other. I am sure most of us have gone through this phase. Ten months passed, and I had only ten members, and out of that a couple of them wanted a refund as they were in doubt about whether I would ever be successful in launching BNI in Bahrain. On March 4, 2023, I managed to get 15 members and formed the core group. On June 7, 2023, I launched the Hall of Fame Chapter BNI Captain in Bahrain with 37 strong members, and the 2nd Chapter BNI Spark is underway with some registered core group members. So, we all know this lesson – if we are doing everything right and in the right direction, then we are destined to achieve success – some might happen sooner, some a bit later… the golden rule of “Staying Focused.”
Are there specific projects or initiatives you’re excited to pursue?
Yes, there are two projects that I am working on. I am excited to do the global launch of my pet project ShopSpot. The app is a digital platform that integrates businesses with people across the globe. The other project is to launch AskMuhami.com, a regional LegalTech platform that can address global legal issues in 86 countries worldwide at a speed that has never been done before. In addition to this, I will continue in my endeavor to work with regional entrepreneurs and showcase their businesses to the world.