An Interview with
Oliver Marco La Rosa
Co-founder & CEO
Globiance is a financial services group consisting of cryptocurrency exchanges and financial institutions situated in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, Singapore and more opening shortly.
Globiance provides financial services for corporate and retail customers. The Globiance platform covers the exchange and trading of crypto and fiat currencies (SGD, EUR, HKD, GBP, USD, etc.), stable coins in major currencies, payment solutions and worldwide transfers.
Globiance is one of the few platforms with a global approach and additionally features integrated individual bank accounts for each client while focusing on the user experience of buying and selling crypto combined with the ability to instantly withdraw fiat to the integrated accounts. Using our Crypto Processing Gateway, our clients can pay with crypto instead of their credit cards. Useful for all businesses and mainly effective for high-risk industries, our product can be utilised at lower fees, no risk, no rolling reserve, and offers definite transactions. It is available in a white-label version for the merchants and can be seamlessly integrated into their platforms.
21 June 2021
Tell us about your background, and what are you most passionate about?
Always carrying an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, I founded my first IT company by renting out game servers for Esports in 1999, which was sold to Gamigo AG in 2002. Following that, I became an independent IT service provider, managing numerous projects and worked for 8 years at Citibank as a team leader of the external Server and Production Support team. In 2012, we moved our HQ to Malta and provided 24/7 IT support to banks in seven European countries until early 2018. This is when the idea of leaving the support sector and building our own financial services company was born. With the experience of supporting banking systems for over 13 years, we founded Globiance in 2018. At the initial stage, Globiance was mainly driven by a small founding team, my wife and me.
Describe a time you had to make a tough decision (e.g. budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.). What did you do and what was the result?
As you can recall, the crypto industry took a hit in 2018. Its concept was called dead and we could not raise the capital needed. Yet we had to find the budget to develop our project. In the meantime, we held on to what we wanted to do and started working on building our brand and establishing an audience for the same. We continuously planned our platform and built it with our small team of dedicated professionals. All of this was while we were still struggling to get the anticipated business.
With a strong belief in our project, we continued to bear all the costs without any external investments until we received our first crypto exchange license in July 2019. It gave us an opportunity to generate a small turnover. Over time, in 2020, we generated the revenue needed to run the business and weren’t dependent on our personal investments anymore. Today, I am proud to say that we have developed a lot since then because we never gave up.
Globiance is now a recognised brand at the Blockchain and Gaming conferences worldwide. We continue to visit the events, exhibitions and participate in online and print media advertisements. With the financial licenses and the new GlobianceBANK that will be launched in Q3 this year, we will reach our goal to become a global financial services provider - a merger between a bank and a crypto exchange.
How would others define your communication style? Do you prefer to be close to your employees or maintain a healthy distance, and why?
Being in the business for over 15 years, I have learned and unlearned various communication techniques. Hence, when it comes to handling my internal teams, I prefer transparent communication. I believe that it keeps everyone on the same page and avoids conflict in the longer run.
As a growing business, we are adding more talented professionals to our team. We like to ensure that they are self-starters and believe in our company’s mission. When new employees join our team, regardless of whether they are working directly with me or not, they know that they can approach me without hesitation. We have created a family-like atmosphere and corporate culture that we ourselves like to work in.
Being a founding member of Globiance, and also the CEO, naturally it’s of prime importance to me that we excel in everything that we do. But I am also aware that the ultimate success can’t be achieved unless all of our employees understand why we do what we do. That message, the ‘why’ of any company, can only be communicated by a founder. Why did we decide to launch this company, why are we so motivated to bring the change, why did we keep going despite all the hurdles.
It’s not about being close or maintaining a healthy distance. I prefer to ensure that our employees feel comfortable in their roles and don’t hesitate to ask for help when they need it.
How has the industry been changing in recent years? What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?
Currently, we are witnessing a major shift in people’s priorities when it comes to taking charge of their financial freedom. Time immemorial traditional systems have failed to provide substantial returns and this has led to the digital revolution which has further given rise to elegant decentralized solutions.
The highly innovative products such as smart contracts drive the DeFi market rather than a centralized entity such as a traditional bank. A digital revolution of this kind unfolds a sense of surreal financial freedom to a wider audience and even opens up pathways to neglected 1.7 billion people who don’t even own a bank account (as per 2017 Global Findex).
In early 2020, DeFi protocols were launched on the Ethereum mainnet. Since then an exponential growth can be observed in the Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi smart contracts. As per a recent article by Coindesk, DeFi is not a $100B sector. Yet we believe that we are at a fairly early stage as there is still a market of about $640 trillion to $1 quadrillion of traditional derivatives and financial marketing waiting to be disrupted.
Aligning centralized financial services with the new born DeFi offerings is a challenge we accepted and we present the right combination of centralized and decentralized services accessible in one platform.
The biggest challenge that our industry faces is regulation. We are delighted to be already regulated in Europe and Singapore and we are seeking licensing in other important markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Korea, as well as North and South America.
What personality traits make a good leader?
Empathy, agility and accountability. Let me discuss agility first. Innovation is happening at the fastest pace, and being stiff is no longer an option anymore, especially not in the modern tech world that we operate in today. Being agile is not simply about adopting the latest technology to generate more leads or to serve your customers better, but it is also about making difficult decisions that define the future of the company. As you progress towards leadership roles and continue to gain crucial work experience, you begin to develop analytical skills to resolve complex problems better - which is central in such positions.
The next in line is empathy. Ideally, it’s the most vital trait as it defines you as a person before as a leader. Being empathetic is cardinal as it helps you bind your team together. It allows you to understand your teammate’s position when you’re setting out new targets to reach new heights. High emotional intelligence serves leaders to reach optimum levels of success in the longer run.
The third key trait is accountability. As leaders, we need to show accountability in our actions. Considering the fact that leaders are required to make multiple decisions on a daily basis, a few of them might not be as fruitful as the others. In such situations, it’s paramount to take responsibility for our actions. This also helps demonstrate trust and reliability.
A successful American author, Kenneth Blanchard said, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” I believe that it’s a veracious observation. With the right personality traits, leaders are able to influence a wide range of stakeholders.
What does the future hold for your company?
We are very excited to share that in Q3 this year, GlobianceBank will go live. As we set up our own bank, our clients will have access to banking solutions with added possibilities of storing their funds across multiple accounts and jurisdictions to ensure safety and accessibility at any given time. Besides enabling us to provide more and cost-efficient banking solutions demanded by our high-risk clients, Globiance will also allow us to trade securities as we add new features to our platform.
We do not plan to replace our banking partners but believe in working with several banks in numerous countries and integrating more each month. This will allow our clients to have one platform with all banking services available in one place. In the end, onboarding with an additional bank through Globiance and doing daily business without the need to log in to multiple banking platforms to check balances and execute transactions.
The newly-released Globiance global platforms - Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Pacific and the Commonwealth of Independent States - now feature multi-language and multi-currency wallet accounts providing several currencies including EUR, GBP, USD, SGD, HKD, THB, MYR, IDR, CNY, JPY, KRW, LAK, VND, AUD, NZD, CAD, ARS, MXN, BRL, COL, CLP, PEN, TRY, ZAR, NGN, KES, UGX, INR and GTQ.