“Cool is a perception,” says New York-based tech entrepreneur Rameet Chawla. “There’s always a collective, worldwide hallucination of what’s cool.”
Chawla is perceived as undeniably cool. The style maverick has more than a few feathers in his hat (sometimes quite literally). There’s the fact that Chawla has given talks at LSE and Google’s Zeitgeist. There’s his role as an angel investor in startups like Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet, and Artsy, known as a sound resource for making artworks accessible. There’s The Dutchess, his invite-only hotel, tucked away on a biodynamic farm in upstate New York.
“I’m a nerd and a technologist at heart,” he says. Chawla grew up between New York and Boca Raton, Florida, but also spent two years at a British boarding school in The Himalayas. He studied Finance at New York University’s business school Stern, where he graduated second in his class with a degree in Information Systems, Finance, and International Business. Chawla combined his business acumen with a passion for technology, eventually leading him to found Fueled, a digital transformation agency in 2010. Known for both its award-winning work and coffee-house ambiance at the New York and London offices, Fueled supports startups and other clients in creating dynamic and aesthetically-pleasing technology products.
Chawla considers The Duchess, a secret hotel in Hudson Valley, his personal space
“Finance was a big-boy job. But technology is pure passion,” he says. “There was a moment in my life when I realised I could do both. Essentially, I created my dream job.” It’s safe to say that Chawla is ahead of trends, both in his role as a businessman and as a New Yorker whose personal style has grabbed headlines. His outfits are a blend of the East and the West, and he credits New York, his home-base, and India alike as sources of inspiration. But other ensembles are simply reflective of his mood, he says. He can walk out of the house in a black-and white pinstriped suit one day, or a yellow jacket and baby-blue jumpsuit the other.
Chawla at Burning Man
His outfits are nothing if not striking, the only binding quality between eclectic office attire, his picks for music festivals like Burning Man, or what he slips on during trips to London or LA. “I dress like my state of mind,” Chawla says. “I always try to represent myself slightly differently. It doesn’t seem exciting to me to be monotonous.”
Though one might expect Chawla to have cultivated a formidable social media presence, the tech-maven prefers to remove himself from that process. His posts on Instagram and Twitter are few and far between, in a world where almost everything is chronicled online. But he credits this as a way of staying ahead of the trend—namely, his own trends, the patterns he “sniffs out” and decides as the next best thing. “My creativity is misunderstood. It’s really a function of me being comfortable in my own skin.”