From the first television set to augmented reality, from a chamber orchestra to music production software, from prosthetic limbs to 3D printing human bones, blood vessels, and organs, technology has amped the course of our development to profound limits.
Where do these ideas originate from? How are these ideas turned into reality? And how does this reality become a part of our lives, and make the world a better place?
It can be safely said that significant leaders in the technology discipline, such as Rob Leslie, the founder and CEO of Sedicii, are the key to these questions.
Rob is an electronic engineer by profession having graduated from Dublin City University in Ireland in the 1980’s. He spent the first 20 years in the business world working in Japan for a number of Japanese and foreign companies.
One of these was Dell Japan where he was part of the original management team that established and grew the business to almost 300 emplo yees and $300m turno ver in its first four years. Subsequently, he was a partner in PTS Japan which was sold having achie ved a $33m valuation at exit within five years.
Following his return to Ireland, Rob co-founded Kyckr (ASX: KYK) in 2007 which is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and in 2013 he founded Sedicii while still with Kyckr, He is now fully focused on executing the growth strategy of Sedicii.
Rob is also a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and holds a keen interest in new technology wherever in the world it is.
Excellence in Essence
Everyone has an identity but not everyone is able to use it. Sedicii is aiming to change that by developing a Digital Identity service that makes it easy for everyone to participate in a manner than ensures their right to privacy is protected. Currently, the company is focused on organic growth through strategic partnerships and direct sales relationships.
Once Sedicii has the core, federated identity network in place, more and more industry sectors will see the benefits of having privacy preserving technologies incorporated into their KYC, KYB and AML workflows.
“There is so much regulation and legislation that has to be complied with, not to mention sanctions and penalties for failing to comply, which means that if you can provide an efficient and cost effective service then business will use it.” commented Leslie.
The Sedicii team is headquartered in Waterford, Ireland and is 17 employees at present. Whilst the business development and finance functions are in Ireland, the technology de velopment team is based in Belgium and the Canary Islands.
“We are an incredibly strong team which is sustained by total conviction in the need for our services. We communicate and support one another constantly,” Rob adds.
Talking about his leadership style and how he implements it within Sedicii, Rob says, “I am a strong believer in the ‘open door’ management style and everyone on the team is aware of this. We encourage the development team to work collaboratively on tasks and belie ve this is essential to the well-being of a multilocational organisation.”
“High standards and personal ethics are very important to me and I do my best to lead by example. Everyone on the team knows that there is no work task that I will not take on and roll up my own sleeves in order to get things done. I believe working smart is what everyone needs to focus on. Communication with all the team, at every turn in our evolution, is paramount; I share the highs and the lows, set expectations, encourage feedback and give recognition.” he adds.
Persistence & Grit
Speaking about the challenges that Rob and the team at Sedicii have endured, he says, “Like every start-up business, there have been many challenges in our first seven years; however, two stand out. The first challenge would be finding like-minded professionals and organisations who are willing to partner with us in our goal to create a federated, global identity verification network which enables real-time verification while, at the same time, keeping the information that fuels the network completely private for all the individuals involved. Most people find it difficult to understand how you can prove a fact without sharing information!”
“Funding is the second challenge which all start-ups can attest to. Finding investors is hard work. However, when you add the new technology factor to the mix this is heightened. However, I am happy to say that we have seen an acceleration in partners and interest in investing in our state-of-the-art products and services.”
Sedicii has won over 20 technology and innovation awards including the BBVA Open Innovation ‘Fintech for Future’ award which is the oldest and largest fintech Innovation Program in the world and has highlighted Sedicii as “the start up with the greatest potential to transform the financial sector in the next 10 years!”
Other organisations such as BT, Citi, EIC Digital, EY, PWC and Red Herring Europe have also recognised Sedicii for its work in the digital identity, KYC, and AML sectors.
Imparting the Keys to Success
In his advice on the vital attributes that every CEO must possess, Rob expresses, “As I’ve already said, I’m a serial entrepreneur and I believe there is some truth in the fact that once you’ve founded a business that becomes successful and gains recognition the challenges never end, they just change form. So, perseverance is key – keep working on the product or service that you believe in until you succeed. Be prepared for knocks and setbacks and learn from them. Also, be prepared to listen to advice and do not be afraid to ask for help and never, ever, give up on your vision. Finally, believe in yourself and your team. Being a CEO can be a lonely place so be realistic in terms of what one person can achieve. Persevere, persist and be kind to yourself.”
For the future, Rob’s short-term and most important objective is growing the business to scale making Sedicii a successful, profitable business for its shareholders, employees, and customers. “Like any business professional, I’m focused on building the company and making it the best it can be,” Rob concludes.