Interview: Welcome VP of Products Taku Kawane to globaliD

globaliD is thrilled to announce the arrival of Taku Kawane to the team. Taku, who serves as the new VP of Products, brings with him a wealth of experience — from his time at McKinsey and eBay to more recently, a successful five-year stint at AnchorFree, an industry leader in consumer privacy, where he helped grow their mobile platform and develop their B2C and B2B subscription-based business models.

In search of a new challenge, Taku finds himself at globaliD, and we couldn’t be happier to have him at what is a pivotal and exciting time for the company, given Taku’s stellar track record for product execution, team development, and monetization.

We sat down with Taku to discuss his past as well as his future here at globaliD with topics ranging from his hunger to “solve real world problems for real people” as well as the need for an attitude of “ownership” in the business.

Hey, Taku! Can you start by talking a little bit about your previous work experience?

Taku: Before joining globaliD, I was the head of product and later VP of product and operations at AnchorFree, an early innovator in digital privacy. They have 650 million downloads from over 200 countries. So they’re pretty big, especially within this space.

I was managing their flagship product, Hotspot Shield, then moved onto lead the product for AnchorFree’s partners, which included household names like McAfee, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender — along with a few Japanese companies.

Five years ago, when I started, the company was still focused on desktop with its business model built around advertising. When I came in, I was one of the driving forces behind growing its mobile business as well as developing business models — both B2C and B2B — around subscriptions, which, today, is foundational to Anchorfree’s approach.

Prior to this, I worked at two mobile gaming companies. The first, GREE International, was looking to build out its U.S. operations. When I joined, the U.S. operations was around 10–15 people. By the time I left, the headcount was north of 200.

The second was a smaller gaming company called Breaktime Studios, where I built out the team for their gaming operations. This included mobile user acquisitions, analytics, product management, and monetization efforts.

Taku Kawane, VP of Products

I loved my time in gaming, but I had gotten to a point where I wanted to try and solve real world problems for people. That’s what led me to AnchorFree and their mission around providing secure and private access to worldwide information — a serious problem afflicting hundreds of millions of people globally.

And so how did you end up at globaliD and what attracted you to the company?

Well, things were going quite well at AnchorFree — we had just reached a major milestone with the company closing a huge investment from WndrCo, Accel partners and others . It was around that time that [globaliD co-founder] Alka, who I knew from my time at eBay, reached out to me.

I looked into globaliD and there was an instant attraction. For one, I was bought into their vision — where users control their own identity without worrying about privacy concerns. By utilizing blockchain and ledger technology, we can now do that in a secure and private way. I loved the idea, the approach, the challenge, and ultimately the mission.

Moreover, I also liked the phase of where the company is at — which, as you can tell by my career trajectory, is a common theme. I love building companies. globaliD is still small enough where I can be a key first member and make a significant impact. The company just closed its Series A and is ready to build out the team.

And, of course, there’s plenty to do on the product side of things. So, really, it was the right fit and the right timing for me to jump in from a clean slate in order to achieve an admittedly grand mission.

Given all of that, we do we have to look forward to?

In particular for a company this size, the ultimate goal of any team member is to help achieve that mission. It’s not just about product, it’s also about marketing, partnerships, and the technical side of things. Mostly, it’s about collective problem solving. I just want to be there on the ground running, ready to tackle and solve any problem that comes our way. In a sense, it’s about having an attitude of ownership.

That’s also why building the team and developing a great culture — and all the processes that go along with that — will be instrumental going forward.

Remember, we are not just creating a product. None of us will be satisfied if we just build a nice looking app. This is about shifting the dynamic between users and organizations — how users interact with their identity, how consumers and businesses develop a new relationship with trust and verification and access. It’s about shifting the paradigm. That’s what I’m excited about. It won’t happen tomorrow or even next year. But in a few years time, significant progress should be made. That’s what drives me, and we should do whatever it takes to get there.

All of that being said, the big picture is only that. And its clarity will be defined by the tiny steps we take each and every day. First up will be the successful re-launch of our app. New features and successful partner integrations will come next along with a big marketing push, followed by monetization schemes that doesn’t compromise user trust and privacy. All of that is coming. I’m really looking forward to the next 12 months!