The first step is the hardest… that’s how the saying goes. As someone who has just made that first step, I very much hope it is true. And from where I am right now, I see a lot of very big steps ahead of me on this journey.
I have just resigned from arguably the best job I ever had. It was definitely the most rewarding in terms of the intellectual freedom I had in my research, the team camaraderie, and the exposure to the leading companies in fintech and finance. It is fair to say that I would not be making this step if it hadn’t been for my time at Greenwich Associates where I consulted with key decision makers at market leading companies and disruptive startups, performed deep dive analysis on the competitive dynamics in financial markets, and explored the applications of new technologies. [IMGCAP(1)]
It is a big step to take, but I’ve been developing an idea in my head for a while now and I decided it was time to stop thinking about it and start executing. I have also, I confess, had a bit of an entrepreneurial bug in me for most of my career.
Starting my own company wasn’t something I really thought of when I first began my career. I have always been ambitious but figured my path to success would be up the corporate ladder. My perspective changed shortly after moving to New York however. Back then I was working at a company that built quantitative investing technology. That meant that I had a lot of tools available to me, and I figured out an investment strategy that seemed to have really good backtested performance numbers. I told a colleague about it, and his response surprised me. He suggested we take the model, improve on it, and launch our own hedge fund.
It was then that I realized there was something different about America. Such an entrepreneurial attitude! We were 26, just a few years out of college, and had no right to be having such aspirations. I knew immediately I would not have had such a conversation back in the UK… and this was a big reason why I decided to continue my career in the US.
The hedge fund idea fizzled out, but a spark remained.
A few years later I was presented with an opportunity to join a startup and I jumped at it. The company, Miletus Trading was at the forefront of innovation in the trading space, building algorithms to help institutional investors improve trade performance. Today that is how nearly all trading is done, but back then it was cutting edge. We achieved great success, attracting the attention of numerous other companies and were ultimately acquired by Liquidnet a few years later, as they sought to expand their product offering. It was a tremendous journey and launched my entrepreneurial spirit in full motion.
As the trading space matured over the next several years I became restless and began looking for the next opportunity. Fortunately for me I discovered bitcoin and realized immediately it was a transformative technology and decided to pivot my career in that direction. For the last 5 years I have been working in the crypto and blockchain space as a trader, advisor and analyst, while continuing my focus on equity markets.
So here I am, making the transition from corporate life to startup founder. As you can tell, I’ve got a few years’ of experience under my belt, but in case you’re thinking I’m too old to start a company at 45, let me point you to a recent HBR study that identified the sweet spot for successful startup founders to be… 45.
I would not be taking this hard step if I did not truly believe in what we are doing. I have found a once in a lifetime opportunity to revolutionize market structure at the intersection of regulated securities markets, blockchain technology and crypto. I intend to grab it with both hands.
As I continue on this journey I look forward to sharing more details about my company, and how we intend to redefine the texture of markets. Please keep in touch.