Welcoming Mercury Protocol’s Newest Team Members Q2

Ryan Ozonian
Published in
7 min readApr 24, 2018


Greetings Fellow Mercurians! Last month, I had the pleasure of introducing four new team members: David Ou, Andrew Hunt, Talal Barakat, and Amy Askin. This month I have the honor of welcoming three more significant additions to the Mercury Protocol Team. I’m thrilled to announce the three newest additions to our team are: Hunter Gray, Sridhar Gudur, and Vladislav Ligay.

Read below to get to know more about the new faces behind the Mercury Protocol Team

Kicking off March Madness for us this year was Hunter Gray as our new Head of Product. Hunter is natively a New Jersey boy with an LA calling. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Psychology, focusing in game theory, buying theory, and social psychology. After graduation, Hunter took his first job as a Regional Team Leader for Legalshield, Inc. This is where he gained first-hand experience in recruiting and training regional sales reps which he grew into a network of more than 10,000 reps in less than two years. His company-wide mobile initiative led him to the genesis of Genie Mobile — an intelligent sales assistant enabling professionals to prioritize their daily sales tasks in order to increase revenue and the company’s bottomline.

After five years, Hunter saw that mobile was changing the business landscape and decided to build his own business. He launched Mingling Media in 2009, a mobile development shop, where he lead product development with a team of engineers and designers launching several bespoke apps for his clients. While at Mingling Media, Hunter began building a small army of patents: first Method of Managing Network Marketing (US 20120296705 A1) then later two patents around calendar scheduling: Method for Group Scheduling (US 2014/022956), and Method of Appointment Negotiation Systems (US 13/831,758). The latter patents paved the way for his next venture, Klutch.

In 2011, Hunter founded Klutch — an award-winning mobile platform for social/group scheduling. Klutch has been featured in “Best New Apps” and “Social Networking” in the Apple App Store. It was later featured in “Social” and “Lifestyle” for more than 17 weeks. What. A. Champion! I’m not the first to recognize his accomplishments, his success earned admission to LaunchpadLA which gave him access to a new pool of strategic partnerships. Hunter’s leadership along with the app’s momentum led to the acquisition of Klutch by eBay, Inc in 2015. Hunter became the General Manager of eBay’s subsidiary, StubHub Labs, where he was responsible for the ideation, roadmap, staffing, development, and marketing for all mobile initiatives. It’s clear that Hunter is a man on a mission to create the next game-changing product and Mercury Protocol is it. He shares the same vision for Mercury as I do, for these reasons and more, Hunter will be leading the Product Team all the way to the (finals) finish line.

Fun Facts about Hunter

  1. Favorite book? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
  2. How do you like to spend your free time? Snowboarding and Traveling.
  3. What flavor do you add to the Mercury team? Bold Bourbon.
  4. What excites you most about the Mercury Protocol? The Team, The Tech, The Timing.
  5. How would you explain Mercury Protocol in 3 words? Own Your Identity.
  6. What’s your secret? Fortuna Favet Audaci.

Vladislav Ligay’s journey to Mercury began in Astana, Kazakhstan where he first started working as a civil construction engineer, security coordinator, and a procurement and asset management specialist for Organizing for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Vlad has always been passionate about software engineering but he didn’t know how to get involved in the Information Technology (IT) world in Kazakhstan. With a glimmer of hope, he started with online courses at Portnov Computer School, continued to Los Altos Software Testing House (LASTH), and formalized his education by receiving a certificate in Software Quality Assurance from High Tech for Human (HTH) in Kazakhstan. With his new blackbelt in QA engineering, Vlad began manifesting his dreams of finding an IT job.

Soon after beginning the search, he landed a remote position with ValleyTek Solutions, in San Jose, CA where he got his feet wet with manual testing of web applications. Then quickly moved on to mobile testing for various high-level projects ValleyTek Solutions was developing. Vlad’s best days are when he discovers a critical bug that affects the entire system, by testing all possible negative outcomes. His secret: “test software like there is no tomorrow.” Vlad’s effective non-traditional approach elevated him to a full-time position on-site. His dream started to become a reality when he moved to Northern California to be more involved with the ValleyTek team in San Jose. This move gave him his first opportunity to work in a fully-immersive tech environment.

Shortly after, his family moved to LA, where Vlad was commuting between NorCal and SoCal to find that “work-life balance.” After few tiresome months on the road, he decided to prioritize family and seek his dream job in Los Angeles. Vlad relocated to LA and continued to work remote for ValleyTek until he caught wind of a rare bug…the Mercury Protocol bug! With other offers on the table, Vlad chose the Mercury team because he said the environment felt “awesome, just like family.” Vlad says he’s excited to finally join a team that values his work and also allows for that so called “work-life balance.” To sum it up, Vlad’s journey to find the Mercury Protocol team may have taken him 7,204 miles to reach but I am proud to welcome him to the Mercury fam!

Fun Facts about Vlad

  1. Favorite book? The Financier by Theodore Dreiser
  2. How do you like to spend your free time? Teaching my seven-and-four-year-old computer tricks, while clawing my four-year-old off walls, and embracing every moment with my beloved wife.
  3. What flavor do you add to the Mercury Protocol team? Quality.
  4. What excites you most about the Mercury Protocol? Everything: company, co-workers and challenges to find the BUGS.
  5. How would you explain Mercury Protocol in 3 words? Young, Progressive, Ambitious.
  6. What’s your secret? I am a Korean guy, who was born in Uzbekistan, lived in Kazakhstan and speaks Russian.

Last but certainly not least, I’d like to introduce to you all our first Data Analyst, Sridhar Gudur. Sridhar is a data hungry young scholar whose originally from Andhra Pradesh, India. His love for computers and data analytics goes far beyond my thirst for crunching numbers, which is why we’ve elected him as our Data Analyst.

Throughout Sri’s life computers have given him freedom to access information far beyond his backyard in India. So he decided to pursue a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science from Gitam University in Hyderabad, India. This is where he learned extensively about computers’ capabilities: what can be done through computation, how organizations can utilize data dashboards, and how essentially everything is connected or can be further studied with help of machines. Sri’s fervor for computer science inspired him further his education and relocate to Springfield, IL to earn his Masters of Science in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. A few months after graduation, he took a role with ICU Medical in Los Angeles, CA as a Splunk Engineer. This is where he solidified his knowledge of big data technologies and learned how to translate data insights into business objectives.

Now Sridhar is going to be our go-to-guy for all things DATA — consumer behavior, insights, analytics, etc. As Sri would put it, “my love for computers and the magic that they produce has fascinated me from a very young age.” After our first meeting, Sri convinced me that we need analytics for better business insights. In his world, every piece of information is useful when implementing something new. Thus, he chose this path because it allows him to impact all aspects of Information Technology (IT), from data analytics to shaping fruitful business practices, Sridhar is the master of converting numbers to insights. He ultimately wants to see the ripples of the Mercury Protocol reach across the sand and seas of India and beyond!

Fun Facts about Sridhar

  1. Favorite book? Inspiring Thoughts by Vivekananda
  2. How do you like to spend your free time? Either playing tennis, cricket, badminton or watching Power Star movies with some homemade biryani
  3. What flavor do you add to the Mercury Protocol team? Never miss ANY Data.
  4. What excites you most about the Mercury Protocol? Freedom to invent new things and set the trend.
  5. How would you explain Mercury Protocol in 3 words? Cutting-edge technology.
  6. What’s your secret? I never give up.

Unified Team

Mercury fam, I wish you could all see the team in action. With all of the new team members in addition to our existing rockstar crew, unity has become more important than ever. The new members of the leadership team (David Ou, Andrew Hunt, Hunter Gray) are really taking the company to a new level of professionalism and productivity. Each bring their own area of expertise to the table and collectively have 50+ years of C-level experience. Together, we look forward to continuing our growth in 2018!

Looking Ahead

We’ll be looking to fill even more positions in the coming months, so keep an eye out here for an up to date list of openings. If you don’t see your ideal job title listed but still think you have a skill set to offer the Mercury project, send us an email at jobs@mercuryprotocol.com.


The channels below are announcements-only as of April 13th, 2018.


Learn more about the Mercury Protocol
Read the Mercury Protocol whitepaper
Follow +mercuryprotocol on Dust



Ryan Ozonian

CEO & Co-Founder of Dust Messenger — passionate entrepreneur building a new digital world based on trust