The final post in our Meet the Team series introduces the Polymath community to our new CEO Vincent Kadar, who joined Polymath in October 2021 shortly before the launch of Polymesh.
Can you tell us about the path you took to get where you are today?
Vince: In total, I have nearly thirty years of experience in the technology space. I cut my teeth as a software developer but quickly realized my excitement was for working with customers and understanding their needs. I was fortunate enough to be part of many successful startups and surrounded by great people.
I worked for Crosskeys, a startup that developed telecommunications management software, from its early days to IPO. The next startup, Saraide, launched mobile banking for several banks in North America. I then co-founded Airwide as CTO, defining product and strategy as it rode the wave of text messaging servicing global customers. Eventually, I moved to Telepin, which carved a niche in mobile money and digital wallets. I was CEO of Telepin for the past twelve years, where I enjoyed building the business, working a chaotic schedule, and most of all developing relations and friendships with global customers. I sold the business to Constellation Software and took some much-needed time off, but I eventually wanted something more challenging, which is why I decided to join Polymath.
Why did you decide to switch from mobile payments to blockchain specifically?
What I saw with blockchain was a lot of activity and experiments, but not a lot of large-enterprise commercialization except for Bitcoin. For Polymath specifically, the team has built a platform for securities, and it now needs to find a home.
Vince: Blockchain is game-changing– it’s revolutionizing not only people’s views on various systems but also of what’s possible with technology. While there are a ton of blockchain projects out there, even if a project is built with a clear objective, it can fall short if it’s built-in a vacuum with no real thinking about who the end customer is. What I saw with blockchain was a lot of activity and experiments, but not a lot of large-enterprise commercialization except for Bitcoin.
For Polymath specifically, the team has built a platform for securities, and it now needs to find a home. I really admire the large amount of effort and the brilliant people working on building this software stack, but now that it’s ready the platform needs to be commercialized and delivered to customers. I’m good at this– this is what I did at Telepin.
I see Polymath’s platform being used in multiple customer environments, not just one place. While it has the capability to operate in a closed environment, it’s also capable of facilitating a more open system. Typically as technology that operates in closed environments evolves and people become more comfortable with it, the closed deployment opens up and starts to interconnect, accelerating future development and facilitating innovative use cases. I see this happening for the technology Polymath has created.
A good comparison is with the mobile text messaging industry. When text messaging was first introduced subscribers could only send messages to other subscribers on the same network; a very different experience from the WhatsApp applications of this world. As a result, text messaging volumes were low. However, once the mobile networks were interconnected, the messaging volumes exploded. The same use scenario was replicated in payment systems, which originally operated in a closed-loop fashion; once they became interconnected to other systems, such as international money transfer systems, the transaction volume rapidly increased.
What's been your biggest takeaway from your time at Telepin?
The nice thing about Polymath is that it has a following and a brand, but also great people. The team is inquisitive and asks questions. They’re not just following the status quo; they’re pushing the envelope of what’s considered the norm.
Vince: It takes time and years to build a brand with a following, and to create a reputable organization that is respected in the marketplace and attracts customers. The nice thing about Polymath is that it has a following and a brand, but also great people. The team is inquisitive and asks questions. They’re not just following the status quo; they’re pushing the envelope of what’s considered the norm. One of my biggest takeaways from Telepin is that those elements need to be there to create a great company– great people and a great following. We had that at Telepin; being an inquisitive organization that finds opportunities was a part of our DNA. That approach helps to build trust, and the biggest thing is trust in the marketplace that you’re here to fulfill the mission that you set out to accomplish.
Another takeaway was to be a patient, empathetic leader who remains focused on the core mission while continuing to monitor the market and make any necessary or innovative pivots to stay ahead of it. At Telepin, we saw a sector starting to open up and moved fast into that because a lot depends on the speed at which you move when the market is forming. We put ourselves clearly in that sector and positioned ourselves as the domain experts, and that helped bring in opportunities that eventually turned into paying customers. We were also unafraid to do whatever we needed to do to ensure people knew who we were, from picking up the phone to going to market to talk about what we were trying to achieve. Initially, we were trying to attract customers in North America, but we very quickly realized our customer base was more likely to be in a developing market, and we weren’t hesitant to pivot to attracting customers there instead.
What excites you about transitioning to Polymath?
Vince: I’m really excited to commercialize Polymesh, the blockchain Polymath has engineered. The team has done a fantastic job at building a community and a brand, and of course the technology as well. My vision for the near future is to build Polymath around the commercialization of Polymesh. One key objective for Polymath as an organization is to eliminate friction involved in tokenization and improve the process of providing digital securities– essentially its original goal of making it easy to create, issue, and manage security tokens.
One key objective for Polymath as an organization is to eliminate friction involved in tokenization and improve the process of providing digital securities– essentially its original goal of making it easy to create, issue, and manage security tokens.
When you look at the securities industry today, there’s a clear shift towards tokenization as a way to streamline cumbersome back-end processes, but the benefits are much more than that. The traditional system is analog and involves a lot of paperwork moving across tables in a complicated process. By implementing blockchain, not only can these back-end processes be improved, but issuers can also introduce new financial products to market that they can’t do today. It’s all about improving back-end workflows while being able to introduce new financial products that can’t currently be introduced because it’s too costly to operate, set up, and manage in the traditional system. With Polymath, my vision is to have customers see these benefits and introduce a platform that is self-service and easy for them to integrate with and use.
Having spent your first week in person with our team, what would you say is our biggest strength?
Vince: I’m especially impressed with the caliber of the people who have brought this purpose-built blockchain to life. The team is completely distributed across several time zones, with contributors from Canada, the United States, Chile, Argentina, Hungary, Sweden, Spain, India, and more. Yet the team works together like a well-oiled machine.
How do you feel about working in blockchain? Where do you think the industry is headed?
Vince: It’s a very exciting space and in its early days. In many ways, it reminds me of all the various startups that are looking to carve a niche and space out for themselves and ultimately create a new industry sector. The blockchain industry will follow a similar path to open-source industries, whereby organizations will adopt blockchain technology from companies that have commercialized the blockchain for enterprise use. It’s definitely exciting to join a company that has created a blockchain that’s ready for commercialization, and I’m excited to be working on that as Polymath’s new CEO.
Want to hear more from Vince? Watch his first-ever AMA where he tackles wide-ranging questions from community members over on the Polymesh Youtube channel.