Sept. 4, 2020

101: Digital Underground: Ambre Soubiran and Kaiko

101: Digital Underground: Ambre Soubiran and Kaiko

Ambre Soubiran, CEO of Kaiko, joins the show this week to talk about how the pioneers of crypto and blockchain laid the foundation for the transformation of capital markets, Kaiko’s role beyond crypto as a financial market data provider…and the best route for sailing across the Atlantic!

This episode is kindly sponsored by Ireland’s fintech and financial services recruitment specialists, Top Tier Recruitment.  If you would like an intro to the team at Top Tier Recruitment, please click here.

For more episodes and our entire back catalog of show notes go to MoneyNeverSleeps.ie.

For insights delivered to your inbox beyond the spoken word, subscribe to our MoneyNeverSleeps newsletter right here on Substack.

Check out our inclusion in FeedSpot’s Top 20 Entrepreneur Podcasts You Must Follow in 2020.

EPISODE OVERVIEW:

Kaiko was founded in 2014 and is now a market data provider in the blockchain-based digital assets space, providing institutional investors and market participants with enterprise-grade data infrastructure. In this episode, Ambre talks through the intersection and merging of Kaiko’s story with her personal story – see below for some of the best soundbites:

On her entry point to the crypto and blockchain space: “In 2012, for me it was a refreshing new venture, I was going to these really random bitcoin meetups in these underground venues on Brick Lane in London, it was really sketchy at the time, but in a good way. It was really smart people that were inspired and changing the world and doing so in a technological and mathematical way that were really close to my heart.”

On thinking about crypto differently: “Bitcoin is very often perceived as a “crypto-anarchist revolutionary-against-institutions” mindset, which is indeed the genesis of it, but not everyone is like that, and I think it was more about challenging the status quo and re-thinking the notions of money, and that’s what I really liked about those meetups."

On dispelling market rhetoric: "Banks definitely don't ignore blockchain anymore, but I was trying to push it at a time when they weren't ready for it yet. But the “blockchain-good-crypto-bad” mindset frustrates me a little bit, because what makes a blockchain work are the consensus and incentivization mechanism. If you don’t have a unit of value, i.e., a cryptocurrency or token, that incentivizes people to maintain the network in a decentralised way tied to a blockchain, you're missing out on the main points of what makes a blockchain work."

On raising money from VCs: "There are not enough hours in the day to be sitting in a VCs office and pitching to them and then going back to work and running the company."    

On Kaiko’s role:  "I consider Kaiko as a financial market data and services infrastructure company, not a pure crypto company.  It’s about blockchain transforming capital markets, it’s not just a pure bitcoin/ethereum play."

On educating investors:  "It’s part of the game, so it’s OK, but I spent a lot of time educating VCs on blockchain and crypto, the opportunity, why it’s exciting, etc.  There is a disconnect between VCs seeing blockchain as this cryptic thing where they’re not really sure if it’s scammy or not, and then there are smart blockchain founders that don’t really know how to talk to VCs because they don’t understand the VC world."  

On knowing your target investors:  "If you’re a founder in the blockchain or crypto space, and you have to spend the first 15 minutes of a 30-minute pitch to a VC explaining blockchain and crypto, you’re in the wrong meeting."

On the capital markets:  "The capital markets industry is definitely less creative than it used to be, and one of the things that drove me to blockchain and crypto is that there’s still so much to build."  

On the incentive to get involved:  "For people that are considering jumping from traditional capital markets to crypto, it’s tempting to do it for short term gain, which is a bit of a shame, and I think there should be some genuine curiosity and adherence to the ethos of blockchain.  And I’m not talking about being an anarchist and wanting to kill the banks, but I’m talking about wanting to rethink the way capital markets work.  People that have been frustrated by how the capital markets work today shouldn’t just jump to crypto for the quick buck, but mostly for the willingness to improve or change the way things have been working," 

To learn more about Kaiko, get in touch at hello@kaiko.com, and you can get in touch with Ambre at Kaiko directly at ambre@kaiko.com.

For more episodes and our entire back catalog of show notes go to MoneyNeverSleeps.ie.

Sign up for our weekly MoneyNeverSleeps newsletter on MoneyNeverSleeps.substack.com.

Follow MoneyNeverSleeps on Twitter @MNSShow.