Fintech Horizons was founded by veteran journalists. We cover fintech startups, with a focus on insurtech, payments and blockchain/distributed ledger. Our articles highlight company technology, people, competition, and fund-raising, while also looking at how a company was founded.
Soni co-founded Omnichain Solutions with CTO Ray Young in 2018. The Los Angeles-based startup has its own SaaS-based solution, that also leverages blockchain technology, providing its customers with visibility into all parts of their supply chain. The interview has been condensed and edited to fit this format.
How did Omnichain start?
We started conceptualizing our product and putting everything into place in 2016. What drove me to want to disrupt the space was two-fold. First, I already had a background in supply chain operations, having spent the past 20 years building out supply chain strategies and infrastructure at large and small enterprises alike.
Second, I saw significant issues with existing technology. Large companies dominated the market but had stopped innovating, and instead pushed their solutions down onto their customers.
We see a big opportunity now to disrupt supply chain using distributed ledger and the technology we create.
What kind of solution do you offer and what pain points does it address?
We see six major pain points for the industry ‒ outdated ERP systems or planning processes, fragmented operations and data silos, inaccurate supply and demand planning, improper channel allocation, the inability to manage products at the store level, and reverse logistics.
If you look at the store level, for instance, brands lose almost all visibility into how their products perform once they enter the store. Using blockchain and our proprietary technology, we provide a granular solution that helps organizations, plan, forecast and replenish at the store level and each step before and after.
So you offer an end-to-end solution?
We pride ourselves on providing an end-to-end supply chain solution ‒ from source to the point of consumption, and including the point of return as well.
Do you focus on specific verticals?
We primarily serve three verticals: food and beverage ‒ including produce and packaged foods, consumer electronics, and consumer goods ‒ including households and apparel.
Is the company bootstrapped?
To date, we have been self-funded and haven’t taken on any venture capital. We first wanted to have a product that was 100% ready for market. I am of the theory ‒ “if you build it, they will come,” which is different than a lot of technology companies these days. Often today a company starts raising money off a concept or whitepaper, but with that approach, it can sometimes be difficult to advance beyond the launch phase.
So your product is already on the market?
Yes, we have an enterprise-ready, SaaS-based supply chain management solution, which leverages distributed ledger, that is in the market now, and we will continue to develop and advance our technology.
The company is doing well and has a strong customer pipeline. Our strategy is to first target mid-market customers. They are usually able to adopt and adapt to new, innovative technologies the fastest. In parallel, we are initiating conversations with larger firms, such as Fortune 500 companies, which tend to have longer sales cycles.
Would you now consider a capital raise?
We are absolutely open to a fundraising round. We have started the initial process and have identified some strategic partners that could help provide growth capital.
Our strategy will likely be to bring in high-net-worth investors and/or strategic venture capital firms that are close to the supply chain space.
What about alternative funding strategies such as creating a token?
We are blockchain purists. We are not a company that is going to do an ICO or create a token. We only leverage blockchain/distributed ledger to provide a technological solution for the supply chain. We are not interested in creating a tokenized economy. Furthermore, our solution is blockchain agnostic.
Do you have a company motto?
You mean like a catch phrase or mission? For us, it is about building customer-centric, digital supply chains fit for the future ‒ that is our purpose and mission.
What is a typical day like for you?
When building a startup, no two days are ever alike. Broadly, my day combines creating strategic alignment between engineering and sales as well as participating in sales calls and demonstrations. Building relationships with potential partners is key. I also keep up to date on what is happening in the industry, both in blockchain and with supply chain as a whole.
Are there any activities your team does together?
We have luncheons and dinners and we attend industry events together. We want to foster a culture of innovation, operational excellence, as well as openness and togetherness.
Where are you based?
Our headquarters is in Koreatown in Los Angeles. There is a lot innovation happening in Los Angeles related to hardware and technology, so much so that the area is now referred to as Silicon Beach. One interesting fact about our business is that we are located close to a large port in Long Beach where there is a lot of innovation starting to happen in the supply chain space.
That is great for us because it makes it a great place to attract new talent, especially as we look to scale our team this year and beyond.
As far as growth, engineering is a number one priority for us, as well as doubling down on resources for sales and customer success.
Is there anything else we should know about Omnichain or about the industry?
Adoption of blockchain in supply chain is expected to increase, but there is still some hesitation, which is often unwarranted. Large enterprises tend to believe they will need to overhaul their whole technology stack to use blockchain.
That is not the case. Our technology provides an easy, plug-and-play solution.
We want to reduce any hurdles or friction related to adopting the technology. We seek to educate potential users on the advantages blockchain can offer in supply chain and we offer a solution that doesn’t require a company to “rip and replace” its existing technology infrastructure.
Villalonga co-founded Madrid-based Lendmarket in July 2017. The company is building a secondary market for both non-bank and bank loans in Europe. Future versions of its platform will leverage blockchain to allow loan originators and investors in any country to connect. The interview has been condensed to fit an article format.
Can you provide an overview of what Lendmarket does?
Lendmarket is a secondary market for corporate debt. We connect originators of corporate loans with investors looking to purchase these loans or a portion of their credit rights.
How did you come up with the idea for Lendmarket?
The project launched in July 2017. The idea arose because we saw that Europe was building a primary market for non-bank debt and that this non-bank debt was an increasingly important source of corporate funding, which in turn necessitated the creation of a secondary market. Just as banks sell loan portfolios and reduce risk through syndication, non-bank debt originators need to rotate assets, distribute risk, and add investors to existing loans.
How much loan volume have you been a part of?
As a secondary market, we don’t originate loans, but we have published loans worth $40m euros and we are currently in the phase of commercializing them.
Do you keep any loans on your balance sheet?
Lendmarket is a pure intermediary. We tend to the sale of loans that have been originated outside of our platform.
Are you looking to raise venture capital?
Currently, we are in the accelerator program of ABANCA. This is for the purpose of a proof of concept with the bank, which could then allow us to do a second round that will help us grow in Spain. The eventual goal would be to consolidate the market and be a leader in the space.
Have you raised any funding thus far?
In April 2017, we did a first round of financing ($300,000 euros) to cover initial start-up costs.
Do you expect at some point to consider an STO or ICO?
Regarding an STO, we are working with a Spanish agency to launch a $5m euro STO via a loan title fund. Next year we want to launch another one from Switzerland of over $100m euros.
Do you think your platform can help foster business growth in Spain?
Our value proposition, focused on debt originators, directly benefits small-to-medium sized enterprises, since we generate more support for the funds that finance SMEs, thus increasing an SME’s chances of obtaining non-bank financing.
In what other countries will people be able to use your platform?
We are developing the platform using blockchain. This is done so debt originators and investors in any country will be able to use it.
What is your interest in forming partnerships with entities outside of Spain?
We would like to form partnerships in Mexico and Brazil to attract investment capital to support the secondary market for European corporate loans.
What is it like to be part of Spain’s growing Fintech community?
In order to be a leader, you need to surround yourself with the best, and that is what we are doing. Our vision is to create a secondary market throughout Europe for bank and non-bank debt.
How do startups fit into this model?
They fit from the standpoint of venture debt. Thanks to asset rotation, investors can improve their IRR (via opening commission) and bet on other startups.
What new features are in the works?
We are developing all processes using blockchain, via ERC 721 (non-fungible tokens), in order to tokenize the loans. This will be done to reduce risk, improve traceability and transparency, and lower costs. Ultimately, this will translate into cheaper loans, which will allow both established SMEs and startups to become more competitive.
What are your most important goals for 2019?
Our goal is to help move loans with a volume of more than 100m euros in 2019 and to start also marketing loans originated by banks. Our vision is to build a secondary market for corporate loans throughout Europe, for banks and non-banks alike.
Do you already feel pride having started Lendmarket?
The entrepreneurial spirit is key to develop disruptive business models that foster greater productivity.
Our team was formed by professionals with experience in Fintech and banking, such as Rodrigo Imaz, Antonio Moreno, Alberto Ibañez and me. Our group understands that to "innovate you have to take risks and it is necessary to leave your comfort zone.”
0xcert, a company offering an open-source framework for creating, managing and swapping digital assets, is interested in discussing financing options to fund product spin-offs, Chief Strategy Officer Urban Osvald said.
The company has developed a framework but is now advancing proprietary products. 0xcert's plan includes spinning out each product into separate companies, which is likely to require external capital, Osvald said.
0xcert is currently holding conversations with some global incubators about funding its first product, which could be ready to launch by the end of Q1, the exec said.
There are also other products in the pipeline that could be spun-out, and 0xcert is interested is discussing related financing options, including equity, with potential investors or partners, Osvald said.
0xcert was founded in early 2018 and is headquartered in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The company completed its ICO on July 4th, 2018. It raised 20,000 ETH, which was equivalent to about $9,000,000, Osvald said.
The company’s presale sold out in 6 minutes and the subsequent crowd sale sold out in 90 minutes, he added.
0xcert’s ZXC tokens are listed on exchanges including BILAXY, BKEX, and IDEX.
The company's toolset allows users to build decentralized applications (DApps) on top of distributed and decentralized systems. Its framework reduces development time, risks and costs associated with developing DApps, according to the company.
Its open-source protocol translates one-of-a-kind digital or real-world assets into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), providing a “unique” proof of ownership on the blockchain, according to the company’s whitepaper.
Uses cases for NFTs could include assets such as cars, artwork, tickets, and certifications, or even in-game collectible items, Osvald said.
Links to fintech news from around the web
Insurtech and Blockchain
VentureCoinist 2019-03-22 18:54:46 -0600@CryptoCred @Tradermayne @ledgerstatus @TheCryptoDog Liquidated Mayne: Sell your dignity @ 1.46e-05 💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯🔥 ~ Quadruple Kill
C3_Nik 2019-03-22 18:27:56 -0600@Sam0711er Das ist beim Aldi noch viel lustiger.
justinsuntron 2019-03-22 18:05:50 -0600RT @justinsuntron: #Hodl USDT-TRON to earn initial 20% APR in USDT-TRON. 100 day campaign. $20M initial budget no hard cap. Just sayin'. 😎…
ArkangelScrap 2019-03-22 18:05:22 -0600RT @psb_dc: My latest: Tech Women - Mind The Gap #Genderequity #diversity #inclusion #theoism @Irish_TechNews cc @CatherineFlax @MaryM…
TuurDemeester 2019-03-22 18:01:23 -0600RT @BitwiseInvest: 1/ New Research from us @BitwiseInvest. As part of 226 slides presented to the SEC on our ETF filing, we did a first-of…
sbmeunier 2019-03-22 17:54:53 -0600@RAlexJimenez See you there!
fintechna 2019-03-22 17:40:28 -0600RT @LugeCapital: Great opportunity for #fintech #startups to get to Toronto Fintech Summit 3.0: MTL-TO FinTech Rails. Deadline to apply i…
Fintech Horizons provides actionable insight on a company's growth strategy including on topics such as capital raising, international expansion, M&A, and partnerships. The articles are written for people of all technical backgrounds, and the site has no paid content or ICO advertisements.
Fintech Horizons is reasonably priced and has a friendly, easy-to-use interface.
Access company, executive and article data archives to find information about the people and companies at the cutting edge of fintech innovation. The company data section contains tweets, videos, company milestones, funding history, investors, competitors, social media links and articles from the web, while the executive data section contains contact information, videos, biographical insight, and links to articles written by or about that executive.
Stay informed with our newsletters and sector reports. Track the latest industry news through our curated From the Web and Twitter feeds. Follow the prices of your digital assets through our ICO data feed.