Ava Labs bets on India for Avalanche growth, with new hires from Polygon and OKX

Ava Labs, the main developer of the Avalanche blockchain, has poached two Polygon and OKX employees as it looks to grow in India.

Devika Mittal and Kamakshi Arjun have joined Ava Labs as head of India and business development lead for India, respectively, to help increase Avalanche’s adoption in the country, Ava Labs said Wednesday. Mittal previously worked for crypto exchange OKX as head of listings, while Arjun was Polygon Labs’ head of partnerships in India.

“India is a very big market,” Mittal told The Block in an interview. “There are many institutions and developers that we look to work with. We are already in talks with a lot of different large institutions, very prominent institutions, and we have already finalized a deal with a government agency,” Mittal said, declining to share specific details.

Mittal said Ava will target ticketing, certification, supply chain and other sectors. She said Ava will mirror its global partnerships in India, giving examples of recent collaborations, including with SK Planet’s electronics and entertainment company Dreamus, to improve the ticketing experience. Earlier this year, Indian game streaming platform Loco teamed up with Ava to create new fan experiences on Avalanche.

Avalanche subnets
Mittal highlighted the subnets feature of Avalanche that will help grow the blockchain’s adoption in her view. Avalanche recently launched AvaCloud, a no-code platform for launching “custom blockchains,” also known as subnets, on top of the Avalanche network. Subnets help developers build customizable blockchains and specialized decentralized applications quickly and at a lower cost than building their own networks from scratch. Last year, the Avalanche Foundation announced a token incentive program, worth $290 million at the time (now worth around $36 million), to encourage the growth of subnets on its blockchain.

Ava has a business development fund specifically for India, Mittal said, declining to comment on the size. Ava isn’t the only blockchain developer aiming to expand in India, the fifth-largest economy in the world. Polygon’s home base is India. Near Foundation and Algorand also recently expanded their wings to India. Mittal said Ava is not looking to steal a part of the pie but is looking to expand the pie.

Mittal and Arjun joined Ava Labs last month as the firm’s first full-time, India-based employees. The local team now has about five people and looks to stay lean in the near future.

Avalanche is currently the seventh largest blockchain network in the world, with a total value locked of nearly $500 million, according to DefiLlama data.