NCFAs innovation and funding ecosystem

Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

NCFA Canada | Sep 11, 2018

NB website - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

Industry partners are the cornerstone of all NCFA industry building initiatives and programs.  As such, we're thrilled to announce NCFAs newest industry partner, Northern Block, a leading blockchain technology development firm based in Toronto who is building next generation blockchain ventures.  Below is the transcript of an interview that NCFA Founding CEO, Craig Asano, recently held with the CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block, Mathieu Glaude:

NCFA: Can you tell me about yourself and about Northern Block?

Mathiu Glaude pic - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

Mathieu Glaude, CEO, Co-founder, Northern Block

Mathieu:  Hi, my name is Mathieu Glaude. I’m the CEO of Northern Block, a blockchain product development firm. I’ve always had a curiosity for emerging technologies and would definitely consider myself an early adopter. While working at Capital One Bank, I had the opportunity to be involved in many large projects that involved building scalable solutions leveraging microservice architectures, which in turn allowed me to dabble with big data and AI components in order to tailor servicing experiences to the customer. I had had some coding experiences but found myself really enjoying product management.  Being able to see a product go from ideation phase to being complete and used by actual customers felt very rewarding, and I enjoyed working horizontally across the business with various teams to execute on projects. While still at Capital One, I found out about blockchain technologies. It started with reading about it, then going out to networking events almost every day to learn more; you know, the common blockchain/crypto rabbit hole story.

 

I had never been more excited about a technological innovation and felt a calling to dedicate myself to it and help move the needle. Knowing I could use my product development background to build software in the blockchain space, I quit my job and founded Northern Block.

 

NCFA: Can you provide an overview of Northern Block’s growth to date and future roadmap?

Mathieu:  When my co-founder Sasha and myself founded the company, our goal was to build a blockchain-focused service company. We both noticed a high demand for projects, but a lack of firms in the space that were capable of executing. Although we had some visions for products at the time, we decided the service model would be ideal to gain an insightful perspective on the landscape, while continuing to learn and ramp up on the technology itself. It also of course allowed us to generate sustainable cash flow to grow our business! We got into the space in the middle of a hype cycle so we saw lots of investments being made and companies growing at rapid paces. We stuck to our plan and built a solid foundation. We’ve been tremendously lucky with the team that’s joined Northern Block. Every individual brings a passion and knowledge about blockchain that helps set us apart from other development firms.

 

NCFA: What type of clients do you work with?  What industries are ripe for disruption and the leading use cases out there today?

Mathieu:  The most important thing for us when choosing a client is their openness to learn and think outside of the box. With blockchain technologies, we’re not really changing processes by creating efficiencies, we’re radically flipping business models upside down. Being able to take a step back and accepting that the way things are done today are not the only way they can be done are a great first step. We’re in the game of building decentralized products that return data ownership rights to the users.

When we first started out, we built many proof-of-concept applications for larger enterprise clients. They often have innovation budgets to toy around with new technologies and they definitely understand the impact that blockchain can have in their industries. They definitely have an appetite to build proof-of-concepts. However, coming from a large enterprise, we realize how difficult it is to aggressively move innovative projects out of a sandbox environment and test with some of their real users. There’s lots of barriers in these companies for various reasons, maybe a topic for another discussion.

We began to believe that the true innovation would happen outside of the larger companies, similar to what you saw and are seeing in the fintech space. It starts outside and eventually there is market consolidation.

"We switched our focus at small to medium sized businesses who already have a successful business model with a client base. These businesses realize that their industries are ripe for disruption and they want to be at the forefront of it."

We don’t target specific industries, although our track record shows we’ve done lots of work in the financial space. We enjoy working across diverse industries because it allows us to come up with innovations we never would have thought about if we hadn’t had those experiences. As long as we know we’re ultimately going to create value for the end user and the client sees that as well, we’re willing to dip our toes in a new space. We’ve worked with all sorts of clients. Their businesses range from payment remittances, to supply chain tracking, to digital identity, to tracking the provenance of firearms. All over the place!

Tune in:  FINTECH FRIDAY$ immerse yourself in a Storytelling journey every Friday - Join the conversation!

NCFA: What excites you when you arrive at work each day (and what’s the most challenging part of the job)?

Mathieu:  Definitely the drive and passion of the twenty or so people on our team. Everyone continuously pushes themselves to learn new things so we can gain an edge in how we architect our solutions. I learn from them every day. The teams are self-organizing and are able to create value to our clients directly. Everyone has so much potential, and all we want to do is help them achieve their career goals.

Northern Block team 1 1024x678 - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

As for the most challenging aspect of the job, it definitely has to do with learning as well. Running a business has its own challenges and ensuring that the products we’re building are built in a way that allows for scale is challenging on its own. At the same time, it’s important for us to still find time to read, explore, and learn new things. The space that we’re in is evolving so fast and to stay ahead of the curb, we need to ensure we’re continually learning.

NCFA:  Do you think the market is overhyped and if so why or why not?  Let’s talk about in production versus smoke and mirrors.

Mathieu:  We’re in an interesting phase in the market right now. Last year we saw tremendous growth in the overall crypto market as everyone and their mother was hopping into an ICO to raise money for their project that promised to ‘revolutionize’ a certain industry. We’re now seeing that most of these projects aren’t meeting their goals and falling apart. It has caused the whole market to turn bear over the past nine months, and we’re seeing less noise. We actually like this because it takes people’s minds away from thinking about making a quick buck off of crypto trading, and more about truly building products that solve real-world problems. I personally still think the market is still a bit over valued at the moment, even with the prices falling this year. The other day I had a look at CoinMarketCap, and noticed that there are still more than fifty projects valued over a hundred million US dollars. Those numbers are over inflated if you examine how much value they’re actually creating. Mind you, there are some very interesting projects that we’re excited about, but in full honesty, no one has delivered near enough value to the ecosystem to justify those valuations.

 

NCFA: What’s your crystal ball on the future of blockchain technology?

Mathieu:  We’re obviously very bullish on the whole space, which is why we’re here. We think that we’re going to see a random industry that no one is thinking about get completely disrupted by blockchain technologies, and this will tip the domino. We think that many use cases have not yet been identified because we haven’t learned enough from experiments to see what is possible.

"We think that interoperability between blockchains is going to play a big part in scaling solutions. When you look at it, you realize that not every computation in a solution needs to be run on a specific blockchain, or a blockchain at all. When you break down the problems you’re trying to solve for, you realize that maybe one blockchain is suitable for running smart contracts, but another one is better for holding value, or privacy of data, etc. We think that we’ll start seeing more hybrid blockchain implementations of solutions."

Everything is still a huge experiment.

 

NCFA: Last question, if you could choose anything else to do, what would it be?

Mathieu:  I would have loved to be a professional hockey player but that ship has sailed. Maybe I could still be a fighter? Actually, there’s almost no more fighting in hockey so maybe I’m better off here.

 

NCFA:  thanks so much for your time and support Mathieu, we look forward to working together.

Mathieu:  ditto!


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern BlockThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

Latest news - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern BlockFF Logo 400 v3 - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Blockcommunity social impact - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

Scott Galloway | Nov 26, 2021 BNPL is one of the hottest trends in finance: 1 in 5 Americans used one of these services in the past year, with U.S. spending on BNPL increasing 230% since 2020. By 2025 global BNPL spending is projected to double to $680 billion. In August, Square acquired BNPL pioneer Afterpay for $29 billion in the largest-ever acquisition of an Australian firm. (We had the Founder/CEO of Afterpay on the Prof G Pod, and he’s an impressive young man.) Swedish BNPL giant Klarna is getting ready for a $50-billion-plus IPO, with a current valuation on par with ING or Lloyds Banking Group. The target market is young people. Klarna’s frontman is rapper A$AP Rocky (who was paid in equity, not debt) — many BNPL brands rely on social media influencer campaigns. In the U.S., three-quarters of users are Gen Zers or millennials; it’s projected that nearly half of Gen Z will be using BNPL services by 2022. Their attraction to BNPL coincides with an aversion to banks and the credit they offer. This is a generation that came of age just before or in the wake of the Great Recession, a global economic crisis precipitated ...
Read More
millennials biggest fears - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
FGS | Surinderjit Kaur Bhatti | Nov 25, 2021 Challenger Banks are the players that offer digital-only alternatives to traditional financial institutions’ banking products and services. As per FGS database, there are 40 such players in Canada, and we categorize them into the following 4 categories based on the status of their banking license. Top players under each category include: Beta (using parent FI’s banking licence) - EQ Bank, Simplli, Tangerine, Brightside by ATB New (secured a new banking licence) - PC Financial, Motusbank, Canadian Tire Bank, Rogers Bank Neo (don’t have their own banking licence but have a partner who does) - Neo Financial, Koho, STACK, Mogo Non (don’t have a traditional banking license but meet the conditions to offer financial products in non-traditional ways, like getting a e-money license) - Brim Over the years, these players have seen tremendous growth in their adoption through launch of innovative value propositions for Canadian consumers. Following are some of the recent trends seen in space: SME Challenger Banks finally enter the picture While challenger bank for small and medium businesses was a white space for a very long time in Canada, this year we have seen four players enter the space ...
Read More
State of challenger banking in Canada - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Guest Post | Nov 25, 2021 Attracting new customers and generating new forms of revenue should consistently be two of your top priorities. Performing these crucial tasks will not only help you to stabilize your profit turnover, but it will also aid you in your attempt to solidify your company’s authoritative reputation.  If you’re to stand a chance at reaching and engaging fresh prospects, getting people talking about your business is highly advised. Fortunately, advice on how to achieve this critical feat can be found below.  See:  Fintech Card Space is Growing: Brim Financial, Float, Caary Capital, Jeeves, Neo Financial For advice on how to effectively spread the word about your company, read on. Enhance your credibility If you want to get people talking about your business for all the right reasons, enhancing your credibility is very much advised. This will show you to be a reliable service provider within your niche field. Subsequently, consumers will find it much easier to place their trust in you. There are a number of different routes that you can take in this day and age to enhance your company’s credibility, one of the most effective being to take part in a blogger outreach ...
Read More
Growing business by word of mouth 1 - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
The Economist | Nov 22, 2021 The market capitalisation of venture-capital-backed firms that went public last year amounted to a record $200bn; it is on course to reach $500bn in 2021.  With their pockets full, investors are now looking to bet on a new generation of firms. Global venture investment—which ranges from early “seed” funding for target firms that have not yet developed a product to funding for more established startups—is on track to hit an all-time high of $580bn this year, according to PitchBook, a data provider. That is nearly 50% more than was invested in 2020, and about 20 times that in 2002 (see chart). The type of investor piling into venture activity has changed just as dramatically. It was once the preserve of niche venture-capital firms run in Silicon Valley. These raised funds from and invested on behalf of pension funds and other end-investors, often relying on vast networks of connections with founders. So far this year, however, only three of the ten biggest venture investors by assets under management have been traditional VC firms. See:  How to Revolutionize the Private Capital Markets Instead, deals led or solely struck by private-equity shops, hedge funds and others that ...
Read More
Venture capital - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Crowdfund Insider | Tony Zerucha | Nov 24, 2021 If you think you’re getting priced out of physical real estate, you’d likely be doing even worse online. This week, Canadian company Tokens.com announced its subsidiary Metaverse Group acquired a 116-parcel, 6,090 square-foot estate in the heart of Decentraland’s Fashion Street district for $2.4 million. Decentraland deemed it the largest metaverse land acquisition so far. The estate will be developed to facilitate fashion shows and commerce within the digital fashion industry. Metaverse Group also plans to establish partnerships with several existing fashion brands that are looking to connect with new audiences and expand their e-commerce offerings within the metaverse. The company will collaborate with Decentraland to curate fashion projects and events on the estate. See:  Non-Fungible Tokens in the media and entertainment industry “Fashion is the next massive area for growth in the metaverse,” said Sam Hamilton, head of content at the Decentraland Foundation. “So it’s timely, and very exciting, that Metaverse Group has made such a decisive commitment with this land purchase in the heart of Decentraland’s fashion precinct.” The plot was purchased with 618,000 MANA, which is Decentraland’s Ethereum-based house cryptocurrency. “We are happy to make history by closing ...
Read More
metaverse real estate - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Evening Standard | Oscar Williams-Grut | Nov 23, 2021 Britain’s biggest crowdfunding platform Crowdcube is eyeing major expansion to Europe and could one day put company stock on the blockchain after raising £10 million from a US cryptocurrency business. US business Circle is backing the crowdfunding platform, which has helped the likes of BrewDog, Revolut and Mindful Chef raise money from small time investors. Existing investors Balderton and Molten also took part in the funding round. Circle owns SeedInvest, a similar startup funding platform in the US. Crowdcube boss Darren Westlake told the Standard the investment extended a partnership between his business and SeedInvest. The pair have in the past partnered up to offer dual listings for startups looking to raise cash in both the UK and US. “We’ve known SeedInvest for a longtime,” Westlake said. See:  Crowdcube partners with Seccl to shake up IPO market The investment from Circle follows the collapse of merger talks with rival UK platform Seeders earlier this year. The deal was blocked by the competition watchdog, a decision that raised questions about the future of both businesses. Westlake said Crowdcube had done “incredibly well” since then and became operationally profitable earlier this year. He ...
Read More
Crowdcube Darren Westlake - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Global News | David Henry and Matt Scuffham | Nov 22, 2021 Amazon.com Inc’s latest spat with Visa shows big retailers, armed with a growing array of payment options, are gaining the upper hand in their power struggle with card providers, but it’s not a crisis for the payment company. Amazon said last week that it would stop accepting Visa credit cards issued in the United Kingdom from Jan. 19, 2022, saying that despite technology advancements the fees on such transactions remained high or in some cases were rising. While Amazon may yet back down on the UK front, where the company accounts for less than one per cent of Visa’s credit card volume, according to an estimate by Piper Sandler analysts, the dispute is a bad sign for the card industry. Some analysts said it could presage a fight in the much bigger U.S. market. See:  The dream of a low-friction financial system is just the beginning “Amazon is treating this dispute with Visa as an experiment,” said Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Donat. “Our biggest concern is that Amazon seeks concessions from Visa in other geographies.” Visa Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu told Reuters in an interview on Friday ...
Read More
Visa clashes with Amazon over fees - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Cointelegraph | Sam Bourgi  | Nov 16, 2021 The new venture is pursuing hyperbitcoinization by combining the Lightning Network’s speed with the architecture of an open peer-to-peer platform. Synonym Software Ltd., a company founded by stablecoin issuer Tether Holdings Limited, officially launched on Tuesday, setting in motion a highly ambitious project to bring Bitcoin (BTC) transactions mainstream through an independent financial platform that utilizes the Lightning Network. Synonym’s stated goal is to enable self-ownership and control of crypto assets by creating an open financial ecosystem that utilizes Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, the company announced Tuesday. CEO John Carvalho said See:  Tether banned on Canada’s first 2 licensed digital currency exchanges “Hyperbitcoinization won’t magically happen on its own. In order to live in a world without big banks, oppressive regulations, or Big Tech presiding over our lives, we need a strategy and ecosystem to replace the legacy economy. That is where Synonym comes in.” The first protocol to be launched by Synonym is called Slashtags, an interoperability framework for private networks that doesn’t rely on blockchain technology and can be used by any platform for coordination, privacy and consensus. The Bitcoin network recently completed its highly anticipated Taproot upgrade, which ...
Read More
tether launches synonym - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
IMF | José Deodoro, Michael Gorbanyov, Majid Malaika, and Tahsin Saadi Sedik | Nov 23, 2021 Quantum computers can reach a level of optimization that would crack many of today’s encryption keys in less time than it takes to generate them using conventional digital computers. Financial institutions should future-proof their cybersecurity systems without delay. Failure to do so will imperil financial stability. Increasing the number of qubits delivers an exponential rise in calculation processing speed. Two traditional binary bits are needed to match the power of a single qubit; four bits are required to match two qubits; eight bits are needed to match three qubits; and so on. It would take about 18 quadrillion bits of traditional memory to model a quantum computer with just 54 qubits. A 100 qubit quantum computer would require more bits than there are atoms on our planet. And a 280 qubit computer would require more bits than there are atoms in the known universe. The possibilities Complex computational tasks are like finding the way out of a maze. A traditional computer would try to escape by following every path in sequence until it reached the exit. Superposition, by contrast, allows a quantum computer to ...
Read More
Quantum computing - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block
Investment Executive | James Langton | Nov 22, 2021 Canada’s system for resolving investor complaints is fundamentally flawed. Now is the regulators’ chance to fix it. Back in 2016, the most recent independent review of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) concluded that the system is inadequate and unfair to investors. But many financial industry participants knew long before the review that OBSI’s lack of binding authority rendered the ombudservice impotent and incapable of ensuring proper dispute resolution. Once firms were willing to be “named and shamed” rather than pay compensation to harmed investors, the jig was up.  The era of “low ball” settlements has cost aggrieved investors millions. Firms then had little incentive to offer fair compensation, and clients were much more likely to accept meagre offers. The era of “low ball” settlements has cost aggrieved investors millions — and that’s not counting those who were too discouraged by the tilted playing field to bother pursuing their grievances. See:  Hester Peirce on personal liberty, crypto regs and retail investor particiation As a result, Canadian investors have been abandoned to a dispute-resolution system that fails to meet international standards. This was confirmed in the 2016 review, and despite ...
Read More
dispute resolution - Q&A with New Industry Partner Mathieu Glaude, CEO and Co-founder of Northern Block

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *