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Entrepreneurship in Heavy-Duty Technology: Digital Asset CEO Yuval Rooz (Part 6)

Posted on Monday, Sep 28th 2020

Sramana Mitra: You’re positioned as a middleware? 

Yuval Rooz: Exactly. That plays very well in the market. 

Sramana Mitra: You did this repositioning in 2018? 

Yuval Rooz: Yes. 

Sramana Mitra: At that point, you’ve been at it from 2015 to 2018 on the exchange use case. How many exchanges did you have on the platform?

Yuval Rooz: Today, we work with six exchanges. 

Sramana Mitra: Where are you from the metrics point of view? Are there financial services use cases or any customer’s revenue levels? Whatever you feel comfortable sharing. At the point where this major repositioning is happening, where were you in the business?

Yuval Rooz: We were doing fine. We were generating revenue. In the early days, most of our revenue came from customizing solutions using our technology rather than actual significant product revenue. Since we did this repositioning, we more than tripled our clients.

One of the biggest issues that we had until 2018 was that a lot of clients weren’t comfortable moving their core infrastructure into proprietary software. They were wondering if the technology that we are running our language on would still be the best option after two years. They were afraid of locking their most critical systems to a bet.

We started saying that we’re just a middleware and now they can run on this Blockchain, but if VMware is the best Blockchain in the world in two years, then they will be able to move. That started resonating with a lot of clients.

Our pitch of ‘Don’t be locked into a technology!’ resonated well. We more than tripled our clients and our product revenue increased significantly. We are able to add VMware, Salesforce, and Samsung as investors because they were interested in the approach. That happened in 2018 after the repositioning. 

Sramana Mitra: In the course of these years, were there other rounds of financing that you brought in?

Yuval Rooz: In 2016, we did our Series A. 

Sramana Mitra: Which VC was that?

Yuval Rooz: Because we were focused on financial services using strategic investors, there were a lot of banks and a lot of exchanges – JP Morgan, Goldman, CME, Australia Securities Exchange, German Stock Exchange, and a whole slew of banks.

Sramana Mitra: How much did you raise?

Yuval Rooz: We raised too much. Our Series A was $60 million. 

Sramana Mitra: Did you get more money after that?

Yuval Rooz: Our Series B was smaller. The round was led by Tony James who is the former COO of Blackstone. Our Series C was even smaller because there wasn’t that much need for funding. It was done last year and it was done with Salesforce, Samsung, and VMware. 

Sramana Mitra: Where are you now? What are the metrics? 

Yuval Rooz: Right now, we are focused on growth, so more marketing and building a bigger support team to meet the needs of the growing number of clients that we are having. 

Sramana Mitra: What’s the split in the business? Does it require a lot of professional services to implement? I would imagine it does because you are using a lot of use cases.

Yuval Rooz: In the early days, yes. We now have over a thousand developers that don’t belong to us but know how to use our language. We are trying to push more. We have a bunch of clients.

For example, next month we have a client here in New York named Broadridge. They are a big financial services company that is going to launch a new product. They built the entire product themselves using our technology. 

Sramana Mitra: What percentage of the business is in financial services now?

Yuval Rooz: Over 80%. We are now only starting to get to health care, insurance, and other industries. 

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Entrepreneurship in Heavy-Duty Technology: Digital Asset CEO Yuval Rooz
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