In Profile
Blockchain Europe In Profile

In Profile: Wayne Lloyd, Founder and CEO of Smarter Contracts

Wayne Lloyd is the founder and CEO of fintech scale-up Smarter Contracts, builders of the blockchain protocol which powers consent and permissions management platform, Pulse.  

Understanding how Lloyd was able to find his footing in the fintech industry, we sat down with him to discuss his recent achievements, best mistakes and how Smarter Contracts came to be.

Tell us more about your company and its purpose
Wayne Lloyds, CEO and founder, Smarter Contracts
Wayne Lloyds, CEO and founder, Smarter Contracts

Smarter Contracts have built Pulse, a blockchain and machine learning-based permissions management platform. It provides organisations with the ability to capture, store and automate the management of every type of data permission, regardless of the regulation it falls under, via a single orchestration layer.

Pulse also forms the governance layer of additional products and services that we are already building and intend to launch later in 2024. Combined, they take permissions management, AI governance and data strategy to a newer, higher level. For this reason, we like to say that Pulse serves to put the trust in data and ethics into AI.

What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?

There is so much going on at Smarter Contracts right now but the achievements we’re able to highlight at this stage include:

  • We recently closed £2.65million of funding and given how difficult market conditions have been, this is something we’re very proud of.
  • Our latest version of Pulse has just gone live in a marketing and PR agency, BIG little LDN. It selected Pulse because it has an initiative called BIG Shot, its own in-house Gen Z and Gen Alpha advisory board which requires it to process the data of young people. Mindful of this, the company wanted to process data with the highest standards of compliance and security and given our delegated consent feature, ideal for delegating children’s consent to parents, it selected Pulse. We hope that BIG little LDN’s use of Pulse will set the precedent for other agencies to follow suit.
  • Contracts have just been signed with an SME lender, we’re just about to start a project with one of the world’s largest healthcare companies and are in conversations with one of the largest advertising agencies. We’re not able to say more than that at this stage however, official announcements will be released in the coming weeks ahead. What this means is we’re now scaling the company, which is very exciting as it shows the demand for the product and services we offer.
  • We’ve grown the team with some outstanding talent. We’ve recently appointed industry leaders such as Leda Glyptis PhD, Jamie K Leach, Ghela Boskovich, Atul Mehta and Harry Webber-Brown just to name a few.
How did you get into the fintech industry?

It really depends on what you define as the fintech industry. I fell in love with crypto and blockchain technology back in 2016. However, at the time crypto was very much ostracised from ‘mainstream fintech’ for one reason or another. Nonetheless, it was obvious to me that crypto and blockchain would become a major component of a new and more streamlined financial system.

I fell into that fintech world because I wanted to offer different products to my investment banking clients in emerging markets. They were struggling to effectively integrate centralised software platforms into their environments. Many of the problems they had were in the back-office, so I was keen to find ways of automating that which led me to blockchain.

What’s the best thing about working in the fintech industry?

For me personally, there are a few things that I love. Firstly; following on from the previous question, I love that the DeFi fintech world is becoming increasingly entwined with TradFi fintech. I get a buzz from seeing how far the market has grown and matured since the early days.

Secondly, I love the working alongside the founders and innovators that work so hard to make it happen. The energy of the industry makes it an exciting place to be.

What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?

The lack of liquidity and financial help that is available. It really holds organisations back from building brilliant projects and services.

How have your previous roles influenced your career?

My previous jobs have influenced my career in so many ways. In a previous role, I effectively ran a company, within a company and was responsible for standing up subsidiaries around the world. This meant not just setting up the subsidiaries, but finding potential clients, managing the P&L, doing sales, marketing, building a team, delivering projects, building relationships with partners, vendors etc.

I did all of this in a very high-pressure environment and in tough places to win business – think Russia, Turkey, Israel, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong to name a few – so it gave me a very good education in what it takes to set up a company. I was never under any illusions as to how much hard work is involved.

Following that, I worked for an organisation that delivered digital business transformation projects for corporations. During my time there I was taught about the importance of UX and customer-led design and that has really influenced the way I think about the products we build at Smarter Contracts.

Experience at MBNA

Perhaps the most important influence; however, was my first job at MBNA. They operated under a set of company precepts which I believe have become well known in academic journals. They were adorned across the walls of their buildings and were sat above the doorways of the offices we worked in, but the one that is etched in my minds at all times and has had the biggest influence one me is “Think of yourself as a customer”.

It probably sounds a bit cliché, but the way they made you think about the customer was like nothing else I’ve seen in any other company. It almost made you feel a deeper level of empathy for the customer and it’s always with me to the extent that I have introduced precepts to underpin the culture of Smarter Contracts.

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?

I turned up for a meeting in a pair of shorts. At the time, I thought it was going to be an informal meeting with someone who just wanted to learn about blockchain over coffee, but when I turned up at the hotel, I was directed to a meeting room where the CEO of the company was sat flanked by their lawyer and COO and an actual use case they wanted to solve.

I won’t disclose the content of the meeting, but I did walk out with a contract. My understanding is that one of the contributory factors to walking away with a deal done that day was because I had the confidence to walk into a meeting in a pair of shorts, they couldn’t doubt any of the advice I had given them. That mistake really set Smarter Contracts on its way.

What has the future got in store for your company?

We have a lot to be excited about.

We’re launching new products features that will further enhance the value proposition of Pulse®.

  • We’re also launching our own digital asset in 2024.
  • We have new partnerships to announce, which will enable us to scale the company at a greater velocity.
  • We’ll begin working with global corporations, something we’ll be talking more about in the coming weeks ahead.

What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?

We need regulatory certainty in a number of key areas, such as data protection and digital assets.

I also believe we really need to address the lack of liquidity in the financial services sector as it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for Fintech’s, given the current economic climate.

Author

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