A British-Pakistani entrepreneur has created a buzz on London’s tech scene through his company that authenticates and grades various trading cards such as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, The Gathering and many more.
Based in the heart of upmarket Knightsbridge opposite Hyde Park in London, Raja Iyak Hussain had taken the company from nothing to worth around $10 million in a matter of few months. Today, nearly 100 people work for his company across India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The entrepreneur, 38, explained that the purpose of grading and authentication is to differentiate between the fake and the real cards and also assess the quality of a product.
He told this correspondent in an interview: “We have entered into a tech era where the gaming business has become a market of trillions of dollars. It’s no longer business as usual. The new generation is living the new era and they are a significant portion of the world population. The major company giants have made it so their products don’t have the collectible value unless it is graded and authenticated to make the investment worth it”.
He said: “Grading is like an investment. It uniquely protects a card or collectible as a future opportunity allowing its value to grow over time. Some trading cards are now selling for over £250K and so this is not a small thing. The American market has become so big and it is natural that it would spread to the UK and other countries”.
Hussain was born in London but studied in Jhelum at Army Public School (APS) and returned to the UK in his teens where he studied business and marketing at a university. He still remains strongly connected to Pakistan, where most of his family members live.
“I just want to show to the youth of Pakistan that you don’t have to follow the traditional careers such as medical and engineering to be successful. New age technology has changed everything. You can be successful if you follow your dreams and get more into what’s relevant in the latest technology sector,” he added.
He said he and other industry professionals are targeting the generation that’s predominantly between 18-30. “Those who are supporting our business and ideas today have grown up to have an in-depth understanding of the market. Young adults today will take the world to another level in five years, something unimaginable today. The Trading Card Game (TCG) industry is today over a trillion-dollar market”.
He runs his company through an App and everything is done in an automated fashion: scans, orders and processing. His back-end office is in India where about 30 people work; the tech team of around 30 sits in Malaysia and around 20 people work in the London facility where authentication and grading are processed.
Hussain said: “At least three professionals are in the warehouse at all times that oversee the process. They are involved in verifying research, assuring grading quality and that general production remains fluent, fair and efficient. First, the card is assessed at the eye level; then certain parts are analysed by more digitally aided methods. Obviously, I cannot share too much about the process but a lot goes into it”. He has worked in London’s luxury property market for many years but decided to enter gaming business. “This is where my passion lies. I believe that this market will grow and there’s lots of money to be made”.
He said he will introduce internships for Pakistani youths for those who have new ideas and who want to venture out. “Pakistan needs many Elon Musks. There is no other way to progress. Pakistan’s brightest need to come forward and share their creativity and experience with the new generation and take them along the journey to give back to the country that has given us so much. This is the future; we are making sure we don’t get left behind,” he said.