Clear Factor’s team: built to succeed in decentralised invoice finance
Research suggests that most start-ups succeed or fail based upon whether or not they have the right team in place. At Clear Factor, we believe that our carefully assembled team is a defining strength and differentiator.
Crucially, we all share the same passion: to improve working capital for the world’s small businesses by building the first global decentralised invoice-finance ecosystem.
While you can read brief biographies of all our team members within our light paper, white paper and website, in this article we wanted to pick out some of our team members, outline their relevant experience and explain how they contribute to our vision.
Our team falls into three main categories:
· Our founders, who are all equity holders and responsible for the commercial, operational and technical implementation of our detailed roadmap.
· Our board of non-executive directors are all investors in Clear Factor and equity holders. Between them, they have decades of experience in senior roles within the traditional invoice finance and financial services industries that Clear Factor aims to disrupt.
· Our advisors, who have been selected for their knowledge and active contribution to elements of the project’s proposition and execution. Half of our advisors are also investors and equity holders in Clear Factor.
For any complex blockchain solution, the technical team must be a principal focus and is a great place to start. Thanks to our partnership with Electi, we are lucky enough to have one of the best development teams in the business engaged in building our ecosystem. Essentially this means we have leading blockchain specialists from UCL-CBT (University College of London Centre for Blockchain Technologies) amongst our founding development team, led by three PhD holders:
· Dr. Theodosis Mourouzis. Dr Theo has a PhD in Cryptography from UCL where he currently holds a research fellowship at their Centre for Blockchain Technologies (CBT).
· Dr. Stylianos Kampakis also holds a PhD from UCL and is research fellow there.
· Dr. Kyriakos Pavlou’s PhD was in database forensics and information accountability at the University of Arizona. He is also a research fellow at UCL.
The team at Electi have executed successful partnerships with other blockchain companies including R3 and Corda so we feel we have an incredibly strong development base for our ecosystem.
Moving on to our leadership team, and we have CEO, Sanjay Padhee, whose role it is to ensure the team deliver the roadmap — on time and budget. A former systems architect, programmer and project leader, Sanjay has a track record of successful delivery — leading large team and numerous multi-million-pound technical transformation projects during his 24 years in the technology industry. He has been active in blockchain since 2016.
As Chairperson, Ricky Shankar is another tech industry veteran, who also chairs the board at Decimal Factor (our partner organisation within the established invoice finance industry). He has founded and scaled SMEs and was an end-user of invoice finance for 15 years. Ricky ensures the voice of the customer is represented right at the top of Clear Factor.
Our head of research is Kaloyan Georgiev. Kaloyan has has been a blockchain investor and evangelist since the inception of cryptocurrencies
and blockchain business models. As an investment consultant and facilitator of OTC trades to private individuals and institutions on a variety
of digital assets, Kaloyan provides Clear Factor with vital digital asset marketplace and industry insight and knowledge.
Manoj Karkhanis is the co-founder and CEO of our partner Decimal Factor — an FCA-authorised digital lending platform for small businesses. He brings 11 years of direct experience as an established credit broker within the invoice-finance industry in the UK and US. Manoj has strong partnerships with many established lenders in the space, including Funding Circle, Lloyds Banking Group, IWOCA, Fleximise and Boost Capital. Manoj also brings the benefit of data and insight, specifically into UK SMEs (our initial target market). This insight forms the basis of Decimal Factor’s proven algorithmic lending score (which will enable our own credit scoring of SMEs).
Our board of non-executive directors meet regularly and are in constant contact with the leadership team, providing guidance and advice within their own area of senior-level expertise.
Simon Featherstone has a long pedigree in commercial finance and as such can provide a perspective into the global lending markets we seek to disrupt. Simon was Global CEO of invoice-finance lender Bibby Financial Services and prior to that was Managing Director of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance. Having been on the supply side of invoice finance for many years, he is well aware of existing practices and how they can be improved.
Peter Presland has held a number of CEO and Chairperson positions at UK listed companies operating in the insurance sector. As such he provides Clear Factor with insight and contacts into that group of stakeholders, which will represent a key part of our ecosystem. He is also no stranger to advising technology businesses having held Chairperson roles at LINK Interchange Network and VocaLink.
Tim Everest is a global money risk and payments expert who has been COO and CRO at CHAPS Bank of England and is currently GM/CEO at the Cheques & Credit Clearing Company. He brings payment platforms expertise as we build a safe and secure global invoice-finance ecosystem. Tim is also an ex-banker having spent 20+ years at Lloyds Banking Group and Deutsche Bank.
Alan Bernard is an IT leader passionate about Clear Factor’s potential to transform the fortunes of SMEs, having witnessed first-hand the challenges they face as suppliers to large retail organisations, during his 20+ years working in supply chain and service delivery for the likes of M&S and Selfridges.
Last month we said goodbye to Lisa Rabbe and thanked her for her work as a non-executive director over the last 7 months. Lisa, who brought global public policy and regulatory perspective to the team as we completed our white paper and plans, has taken up a new role as Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer at Moody’s — we wish her every success in her new role. We will be announcing a new addition to the NED board shortly.
We have a small but influential advisory team, playing both discipline-specific and general advisory roles.
Christiana Aristidou, our legal counsel, is an ISO/TC307-qualified specialist in blockchain law and a founding member of the Cyprus blockchain association. Jean Lehmann, our InfoSec advisor, is the CEO and Founder of Cyber Capital HQ, a cyber security consulting firm, and a guest lecturer at INSEEC Business School.
Nand Kumar and Ralph Topping, two successful business leaders, also sit on our advisory team. Nand is a serial entrepreneur within the retail fashion industry, and founder of the online portal Galeria Di Lux. Ralph meanwhile is the former CEO of William Hill credited with quadrupling the value of the business and making it the online market leader. Given the importance of retail sector SMEs to our ecosystem, Nand and Ralph provide vital experience and context.
With this credible and experienced team we have:
· the right leadership team to deliver the plan
· an expert development team to build the ecosystem
· a detailed understanding of the SME target market and customer
· deep knowledge of the established invoice-finance competition and how to beat them
You’ll be hearing more from members of our team over the coming months, but for now, to find out more about Clear Factor please visit our website.