We have two big pieces of news to share.
First, we’re spinning-out a new app-focused company, called Pogo, targeting interoperability between mobile wallets around the world. Pogo has been in stealth development here for some time, and, as a natural extension of that process, Adam Ludwin will lead this spin-out. As you’ll see when the service goes live, Pogo is the kind of application that Stellar is uniquely positioned to enable, thanks to the network’s ability to create low-friction, high-liquidity, real-time corridors for FX settlement between financial entities.
Second, and most exciting, Mike Kennedy, founder of Zelle, is joining Interstellar as our new CEO. Mike’s success with Zelle speaks for itself — it’s a payment system used by Chase, Citi, and Bank of America, among many others. His history of innovation in mobile payments, FX and banking, coupled with his track record as a high-impact advisor to Stellar make him the perfect fit to lead Interstellar.
We expect that Mike and the team he’s bringing in will build powerful new services for Stellar, just as he scaled and built Zelle. Below are a few words from Mike about why he is joining Interstellar and the future we’ll be working toward:
“I am excited to be taking on the role of CEO at Interstellar. I have always been interested in working on making things easier for individuals and companies, and I believe we have the opportunity to help make international payments more efficient, lower cost, and faster.
This was my mindset when founding and running Zelle. We realized that no one wanted to carry or pay with paper — cash and checks — and rather wanted to pay and move money digitally and securely. We therefore created a digital network of banks in the US to allow for this. We were able to scale this to over $50 billion in transaction volumes from over 25 million users. Our success was because we were solving a real-world problem.
With Interstellar I see another opportunity to solve a real-world problem. Today, international payments are inefficient, expensive, and slow. Millions of individuals and businesses would benefit from solving these problems. The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has developed what I believe is the best blockchain based payments network, enabling fast and inexpensive international payments. However there are still parts of the ecosystem that are not optimally solved for, and ones that a non-profit like SDF is not best suited to solve. This is where Interstellar comes in. We will deliver these missing pieces of the puzzle to allow the Stellar network to achieve its potential. We will solve the remaining problems, turbocharging adoption and growth — making international payments better for millions and millions of companies and end users.
It is solving these real-world problems — making payments easier, faster and cheaper for end users — that gets me excited! I look forward to the growth ahead, leading Interstellar.”