Great to have you with me Sascha for our WeOwn Team interview. In this line, we are interviewing WeOwn team members to learn more about the people behind WeOwn – who you are, your roles within WeOwn and how you see the industry’s future
Let’s get started!
You started your career as a software engineer in the early 2000s. Could you share why did you chose this track and how different it is from the current software engineering environment?
I grew up with a creative element of my education (music, art) through my mother and her family, and my father on the other hand was an engineer and mathematics champion. So, my parents were always keen I get to know both the music and art and mathematics sides of life. In the early days of his career, my dad was a Cobol programmer, and I never wanted to be in his footsteps.
Turns out you can be creative and artistic when it comes to software code, so I started to get into programming when I was a teenager. I was always fascinated by how technology can shape everyone’s life. And I even managed a team of Cobol programmers in the later stages of my career. So yeah, even if you want to carve out your own path, you end up using all the tools that have been given to you. People don’t like to hear it, but the fundamental ways of programming, the methods and principles never change. Yes, you can do things quicker and more efficiently now and there are significantly different endpoints and user interfaces, but the core principles never change.
After consequent growth in your career, you turned to the business side and moved to the share registration field. In those years Bitcoin Whitepaper was already released. Did it capture your attention?
In my opinion, the most ground-breaking principle of blockchain technology is the immediate clearing and settlement without a middleman or trusted party in between. You can transfer and exchange an asset for cash immediately, and this reduces counter-party risks significantly. This is what captured my attention very early in the process, and the positive impact this has on all matters of financial transactions is significant, as it reduces risk and could eventually prevent major financial fallout and even the next Lehman type crisis.
Achieving great performance results in a successful career, how did you transfer from the corporate to the startup field with the launch of WeOwn? Have you thought about becoming a tech entrepreneur before?
It was hard. You need to get back to the basics. There is no support network, and you must do everything alone. I never had any real exposure to social media or even sales, so two areas that had to be learned rather quickly and on the fly. But the positives outweigh the negatives: you are free in your thinking and decision-making, you can surround yourself with people you really like to work with. I had a great time working in a corporate environment and I do miss the camaraderie of larger organisations, but start-up life is fun, and you can really make an impact on a tech and business level.
After launching the WeOwn you have also launched DeFinity. How did you come to this new project? Also, how do you manage to be a co-founder at two dynamic startups?
Chris Park introduced me to Manu, and we were on the same page quickly, so it was fairly fluent that we would do something together. DMALINK has an impressive track record and world-class people and customers, so it was an easy fit and we started modeling and workshopping a few ideas and getting the other team members on the same page quickly. From then on it was all “go” and we went into the dev mode and created some fantastic solutions.
What is your vision as the leader, how will the blockchain industry develop next years in Europe? How do you see WeOwn can create and deliver value to the market based on that?
The core technology is established and is slowly moving into mainstream adoption. From a regulatory perspective, Liechtenstein and Germany have become the frontrunners for technological and legal certainty of tokenised and crypto assets, so the continued dematerialisation and digitisation of assets cannot be prevented anymore and will just expand from here. Innovation cannot be stopped, and blockchain technology is becoming more mature and part of everyone’s life.
What existing challenges must the market overcome to make the EU the leading region for technology?
I am not sure if Europe will ever take the lead when it comes to tech companies and groundbreaking innovation. European area is significantly more conservative and has less funding power to be a powerhouse. Asia and the US have a much more can-do attitude and financial backing to create real tech super companies, and Europe has always been lagging. I would say European markets and policies could restructure in terms of fragmentation to achieve a higher innovation pace.
Last year WeOwn team grew twice! Will it keep growing? Do you have any upcoming projects you would love to share?
We are steadily growing and are cash positive without any major investor backing, which we are very proud of. It keeps us nimble and flexible and allows us to pave our own way. There are two things we are still very bullish on tokenised equity (digital shares/stock), as well as tokenised physical assets such as cars or art. We have projects across most asset types, but these two I’m mostly excited about. The future is bright for WeOwn, and we won’t stop innovating.