DrumG Immutable Reflections #1
“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind”
-Sir Winston Churchill
“We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims.”
Hello world. We are DrumG Technologies. We are a global team of experienced professionals who are committed to delivering real business value to the enterprise user in institutional financial services using distributed ledger technology*. Like many, we have been greatly inspired by Sir Winston Churchill. Of all his quotes, the one above resonates most. For us, it’s about being thoughtful about where we are going and knowing why we are going there. It’s about having a significant vision and driving towards it with purpose. It’s about thinking big and making it happen. That’s what we do at DrumG.
We are excited to make our first formal public announcement today in the form of our debut press release. This is the culmination of 15 months of work since the idea of DrumG was hatched back on 25th June 2017. Since then we have grown our team to over 20 exceptional employees and advisors around the world in our offices in New York, London, Singapore and, of course, our home in Bermuda. We have architected a technology layer that sits above enterprise blockchains and allows us to deliver value to the clients we network together. We’ve partnered with important financial institutions such as Credit Suisse as we begin building the connected business networks of the future — we’re in the process of building our first two networks as we speak. And we’ve raised money from one of the most prominent and influential players in the space, ConsenSys.
We are thrilled to have closed our Series A funding round with ConsenSys. And, in particular, to have Joe Lubin join our Board of Directors. Joe is a titan in this space and can lay claim, with the 1100+ dedicated professionals across the ConsenSys mesh, to be bringing enterprise blockchain, public blockchain, tokenomics and digital assets together in a very unique way. Joe has an incredible vision and, most importantly for us, he understands the DrumG vision. We are aligned. And we are very much enjoying working with the many extremely experienced people we are meeting in ConsenSys as well as partnering with some really interesting and promising ConsenSys companies (or spokes as they are called) like Adhara, Trustology, Fund Foundry, OpenLaw and ConsenSys Solutions to name but a few. If you don’t know much about ConsenSys then you need to remedy that. There’s truly nothing else like it.
The DrumG story goes back way longer than June 2017. It goes back to when we started our careers (for me 19 years ago as a graduate trainee at UBS Investment Bank in London). It is colored and influenced by the professional experiences in companies such as UBS Investment Bank, Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Bloomberg, IBM, PwC, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, UBS O’Connor, Millennium Management, GETCO and Pivotal. We’ve done big companies and small companies. We’ve done buy side and sell side financial services. We’ve worked at technology vendors and software companies. We’ve done startups — for some of us this is our third. Oh and we’ve failed. A bunch of times. More recently, a number of us saw blockchain and glimpsed a path to a better future for financial services.
I found blockchain when I met with Coinbase and Ripple in March 2015 when I was running technology and the quant team at UBS O’Connor, a $6bn multi-strategy hedge fund. It was obvious to me then that something very important was happening. I had to get involved. Some of us spent formative and valuable time with the incredible team at R3. For me, my experience as CEO of the R3 Lab and Research Center between 2015 and 2017 was one of the most stimulating of my entire career. Have you met my former boss and CEO of R3, David Rutter? Real deal. At R3 we grew the largest ecosystem of financial institutions, regulators, central banks and technology companies focused squarely on making DLT real. It was from the unique vantage point we had at R3 that we could see why DrumG had to exist.
All of this experience is being brought to bear as we embark on this journey with our network founders and partners. We know enterprise financial services from a business and a technology perspective. Especially institutional capital markets. We know how to deploy technology at scale and happen to believe that this will mark the difference between the winners and the also rans in this space. We know distributed ledger technology platforms at a deep level. At least the ones that we can see.
We would like to introduce and coin the term “ledger appropriate”. We don’t build blockchains. We build and operate solutions and networks ON blockchains. For the avoidance of doubt, we are a product company. We are not tribal or religious about technology. We will objectively, and with intellectual rigor, select the right enterprise distributed ledger platform for and with our network founder clients. We will build on Enterprise Ethereum, Corda Enterprise, Hyperledger Fabric and, indeed, any platform that solves the problems we need to solve. We are only religious about delivering results. We want to be known as the company that genuinely understand the true strengths and limitations of all the enterprise blockchain platforms out there.
We believe that this field is comprised of an extraordinarily talented group of leaders and professionals driving towards genuine implementation of blockchain/distributed ledger technology into global financial services. We love what the teams at ConsenSys, R3, Digital Asset, Axoni, Microsoft, Intel and IBM, among many others, are doing. And we look forward to working with them all. We believe in collaboration. A rising tide raises all ships.
Earlier, I mentioned that “we have architected a technology layer that sits above enterprise blockchains”. We filed a provisional patent on this architecture in the US last November, but we’ve decided not to go for the full patent and instead treat that intellectual property as a trade secret. It better suits our approach to innovation. To us, it’s not about filing and defending patents, which is quite de rigueur at the moment given the vast number of blockchain patents we see coming through. Instead, we will win by actually getting our innovations into production and generating value for our networks of clients. We will look forward to publishing our innovations to the public in due course and sharing what we think is a unique perspective on how to deliver value across multiple blockchain networks on different platforms. For now, it’s a secret…
So, what are we really trying to do? What is our “Why” (yes, we like Simon Sinek)?
Here goes nothing…
Financial services are becoming a more dynamic and complex system. Convergence across business processes, technologies and geographies are changing the way we do business at an increasing rate. We therefore often solve yesterday’s problems with today’s tech when in reality we need to solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s tech. In a world of convergence, the unit of analysis within the organisation changes dynamically and, from the outside, the market neither understands nor cares about your organisational structure. In a convergent world, business value can be found at the intersection of previously walled and siloed gardens. These forces are both a threat and an opportunity.
DrumG is here to introduce the post-blockchain practice of employing informatics as a strategic control to achieve our resonance: where small changes have outsized impact. Ultimately, we connect business and technology and describe, in practical terms with real world examples how thinking with a convergent frame of reference will afford leaders and decision makers the ability to stay relevant, engage power law economics and the well-established theory and practice of building multi-sided platforms to generate business value in this convergent world.
We’re here to break down silos. We are here to be enablers, facilitators and drivers of business value in a convergent world. We’re here to empower our network clients. We are not here to play the game better. Or ever change the rules. We are here to change the game.
That was a mouthful, right? Over the coming weeks and months we will be sharing our thoughts with you to back all of this up. We like to call it Thought Development because Thought Leadership sounds a little arrogant. You’ll hear a lot from me and our talented and passionate team going forward. We can’t way to get into a dialogue with you all about how to make blockchain real for financial markets.
Ultimately, however, our ability to deliver business value with the networks will be the true measure of our success or failure.
One last quote. One that means the world to us at DrumG and will give you a sense of our core “Why”.
“The opportunity is not to discover the perfect company for ourselves. The opportunity is to build the perfect company for each other.”
So, to that end, hello world. We are DrumG Technologies. We are a global team of experienced professionals who are committed to delivering business value into the enterprise in institutional financial services. And we live by the following words:
Grand Ambition. Big Impact. Small Steps.
Let’s make it happen and make it count. Let’s go on this journey together.
Oh, and why Bermuda? That’s a story for another day…
Wishing harmony for all.
Tim Grant, CEO
Following on from my former colleague at R3, Richard Gendal Brown, I’m going to just go ahead and use blockchain and distributed ledger technology interchangeably. Those of us in the know are aware of the difference. For the purposes of delivering value to our networks of customers, it simply doesn’t matter.