Driven, persistent, optimistic, a multi-tasker while at the same time listening to and being unafraid to ask for help” says Rob Leslie. For Rob, these are the vital attributes of a leader. He adds being a leader can be a very lonely place. However, he opines “the benefits far outweigh everything else. There is no better feeling in the world than taking an idea and seeing it blossom into a successful, vibrant, profitable business.”
Rob is the CEO and founder of Sedicii, a federated, global identity verification network which enables real-time identity verification. In 2018, Sedicii won the BBVA Open Talent / Fintech Award and it was commented that “Sedicii has the greatest possibility of transforming the financial sector in the next 10 years”. As a visionary leader, Rob wants to see this become a reality together with having enriched the lives of all his company’s employees by leaving a healthy, profitable company before moving onto his next challenge!!
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Insights Success and Rob Leslie:
Describe your background and what did you do before you started, or came into this business?
I am an Electronic Engineer by profession having graduated from Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland in the 1980’s. I’m a serial entrepreneur – Sedicii being my seventh (7th) start-up company. Prior to Sedicii I was co-founder of Kyckr which was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2016. In my earlier professional life I worked in Japan for 20 years before returning to Ireland where I am currently based. While in Japan I was part of the initial management team in Dell Japan that established and grew the business there to almost 300 employees and $300M turnover in its first four years. It is now a billion-dollar business. I was also a partner in a Japanese computer services company called PTS which was acquired in 2000 by a Singaporean firm as part of their entry into the Japanese market.
Describe your company and its cutting-edge services which address all the needs of your customers.
Sedicii is developing a platform to manage digital identity. We develop software as a service for KYC, AML and for the identification and authentication of people, vehicles, products and other physical and virtual goods using our unique, patented ZKP (Zero Knowledge Proof) protocol. Sedicii is creating a federated, global identity verification network which enables real-time identity verification by certified, trusted identity providers (governments, banks, telco’s, utilities), ensuring that businesses can react quickly to new government, regulatory and industry demands for real-time identity verification, authentication and trust services. Included in our identity network are products including authentication software, a KYC and Customer Onboarding solution and a Collaborative AML Monitoring Platform which we believe is unique in the world as it assesses both sides of a payment for AML risk compliance.
What strategies do you undertake to make your employees resourceful?
Sedicii is currently a small team of 15. We have an allinclusive strategy holding weekly meetings with the team which are multi-locational in Belgium, United Kingdom, the Canary Island of Tenerife and our headquarters in Waterford in the south-east of Ireland. This is a high-level meeting where everyone is encouraged, and dare I say, expected to participate. Ideas are bounced and expanded upon and the team feel empowered and an integral part of Sedicii. I believe that the success of a company is dependent upon its people and I encourage everyone to share their ideas which in turn drive them to be resourceful. There’s nothing like a feeling of being valued and listened to, no matter your role in a company, to spur you on to do better and go the extra mile in my opinion.
What is your greatest life achievement?
The pinnacle of my professional life to date would certainly be the accolade of being named a World Economic Forum (WEF) Technology Pioneer and speaking at Davos; the only software company in Ireland to be afforded this accolade makes the achievement all the more rewarding. Add to this the fact that Sedicii has consistently won – year on year – varying technology awards which now number over 20.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to listen to advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Refine your thoughts and have good sounding boards from trusted advisors. Be prepared for good times and challenging times before you succeed – never give up on your vision and believe in yourself. Be realistic in terms of what one person can achieve. Persist. Persevere.
How do you sustain your entrepreneurial spirit in this changing technological era?
A person’s sustainability is a positive attribute rather than something to be tolerated. Technology is an integral part of our day-to-day lives, like it or not, it’s here to stay. I’ve been described as a glass half-full person and believe in technology and embracing it for the betterment (rather than the detriment) of everyone. I see our technology as a way and means to preserve a person’s fundamental right to privacy whilst, at the same time, the absolute need to ensure that fraud and criminality can be tackled through better compliance and always up-to-date identity records. This is for the benefit of the world economy and the protection of all of us.