When I first entered the tech world, it was 1995.
Amazon.com had just started selling books online. Hackers, the movie starring Angelina Jolie that explored an… interesting view of technology, had just been released. And Hotmail was just an idea that needed funding.
I was getting my computer science degree, and while most of my peers’ idea of a dream job involved working at a big company like AT&T or GE, I opted to work as a video game programmer for a startup. The company was far ahead of its time. We built an online role-playing game (RPG) that ran in our own data center, while players connected via our dial-up internet service. While we chuckle (or cringe) at the thought of dial-up video games now, this was quite cutting-edge back then. You could even say it was — to use a buzzword from today – “innovative.” I loved working for a company that was changing the way people thought about technology.
In 1999, while getting my Masters in Information Systems, I was enticed by the entrepreneurial path and co-founded what became known as GoFileRoom. It was the first-ever workflow and document management software that was 100% cloud-based, before the cloud was even a concept. In today’s terms, if the workflow of Salesforce and Google Docs had a baby, it would be GoFileRoom.
GoFileRoom quickly becoming the #1 workflow and document management software for the accounting industry. We created an entirely new market, changing the way accounting firms manage their operations, resulting in increased profitability. We made the process paperless and all electronic over the internet.
Then came 2005.
That year, Thomson Reuters acquired GoFileRoom. Our company’s platform became the underlying technology of Thomson Reuters’ ONESOURCE Tax platform. Today ONESOURCE is the #1 global tax platform that runs tax departments of the world’s largest multinational corporations. At the time of the acquisition, I was managing a team of 25 technologists. In the span of 11 years, in my role as Thomson Reuters’ VP & Head of Software Engineering, that number increased to 900 people across the globe. The acquisition of GoFileRoom was a defining moment in my career as both an entrepreneur and technologist.
After 16 years in TaxTech it was time to jump ship for more exciting innovations in the financial markets. I moved into the financial markets because of the opportunity and the size of the market. There is no market bigger than money and the financial markets are ripe for innovation. Joining Ipreo as Managing Director of Software Development less than 12 months ago marks my next milestone in FinTech.
The path from video games to TaxTech to FinTech may seem circuitous but there’s a common thread through all three: innovation within an established industry.
We hear the word innovation a lot these days. To some, it might not mean much. But my view of the concept is simple. At Ipreo, I’m establishing the software engineering strategy and leading a team that is tasked with building technology to innovate a centuries-old industry: raising capital in the primary capital markets.
To date, Ipreo has focused on building the network to connect capital to ideas in the primary capital markets. We’re transforming the capital raise process by connecting issuers, sell-side banks, and investors with a process that is entirely online, while using a wide range of sophisticated data points to streamline the trading process — and, thanks to the technology we’re building in-house, we’re doing it in record time. The incumbents in our industry will have a difficult time keeping up.
However, what I’m most excited about — and why I am excited to be joining Ipreo — is not the now of FinTech, but rather the future. My vision for Ipreo’s technology involves delighting our customers through an experience they never seen before in the primary capital markets. Our technology strategy involves building a platform where cutting edge technology is at the heart of everything we do. Opening up our vast content data repository with technologies like GraphQL and applying machine learning will provide insights our customers never imagined. Opening our content on our platform will enable Ipreo to build software robots to help our customer transform their legacy trading processes.
In 1995, machine learning was pretty much unheard of and robots were largely considered a thing of the future.
Today, we have the capability to apply these concepts to the age-old capital raise process and deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
I’ve set some lofty goals for myself as MD & Head of Software Engineering at Ipreo. While it’s a change leaving TaxTech and going into FinTech, I’m energized by the opportunity to innovate and build a world class company. And, as another decade goes by, I’m even more excited to look back and see what we’ve managed to accomplish.