Omise Holdings: Key leadership changes and the way forward

Early March, I provided an update on strategy in the first Omise Holdings blog post and addressed questions raised by our community members.

I’d like to provide another update. This time, it follows our recent announcement regarding leadership changes which you may have read about already.

When Donnie and I founded Omise, the payment gateway in 2013, we knew it would be a long road ahead in an exciting industry. We knew that we’d work endless hours, make every single mistake entrepreneurs could make, scramble to find creative ways to fix our mistakes, get back up on our feet and move forward. Anyone who has ever started a company will understand the hardships, the adrenaline, the highs and lows one goes through. Things changed everyday. Everything could fall apart in a day and if you’re lucky, everything would be just okay the next.

On this journey, we’ve met amazing people who have changed how we view the world and how we run our business, and of course, we’ve had to make extremely tough decisions; the hard decisions we’d only heard and read about, but had never faced before. I’d like to emphasize how lucky we are to have core team members who have kept us grounded and focused. Through the years, we have leaned on them for their expertise in finance, financial technology, banking, blockchain technology, human resource and the law.

With our rapid growth, we had to make some changes, hence the appointment of new CEOs and also a renewed focus on our group strategy.

In this blog post, I’d like to share my thoughts on the following:

  1. Omise Holdings

1. Omise Holdings

As mentioned above, some of you may have read about Omise Holdings for the first time in my latest blog post Omise Holdings: Strategy update. But in fact, this entity was established in 2015 with the purpose to subsidize businesses under its umbrella, namely Omise (Payment Gateway) our traditional payment business, OmiseGO and GO.Exchange, our new blockchain-based businesses.

The payment business is operating out of Southeast Asia and Japan. It is doing very well, with a steady increase in market shares, especially in Thailand where our position is quite strong; we are one of the biggest (non-bank) payment company. This however, does not stop us from continually growing and improving ourselves through well thought-out strategies and world-changing technologies like blockchain, among others.

The blockchain-based business has two main focuses:

  • To develop an open-source, scalable blockchain (OMG Network)

Both of these businesses were under my sole responsibility and structured in a way that was very centralized and thus, operations were not as efficient as they could be. I had been working closely with Donnie and Vansa on the payment and blockchain businesses respectively and witnessed their capabilities and leadership skills. Thus, the decision to promote Donnie, my Co-Founder, to CEO of Omise (Payment Gateway) and Vansa to CEO of OmiseGO was an easy and natural one. As for myself, I’ve assumed the role of Group CEO of Omise Holdings. This new structure gives me more flexibility and allows me to focus on strategy across the organization. The restructuring of Omise’s leadership will make things clearer, more efficient and increase accountability. However, one thing that will never change is our mission, Payment for Everyone, where the ultimate goal is to transform how the world conducts payment.

2. Market

I am sure many of you are thinking that the blockchain industry is on its way down, given the bear market situation. But let me tell you something — blockchain investment is actually growing fast. Compared to 2017, we see a 280% increase from last year in blockchain technology investment. What does this mean? In my view, this is indicative of a shift from the ICO hype to real industry growth stage.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/venture-capital-investment-in-blockchain-and-crypto-up-280-in-2018-report-shows

Based on the graph above, which shows capital invested (black bars) and deal count (gray bars), I believe that we will begin to see standardized blockchain technologies, tools, infrastructure and actual business cases taking place. Having said that, I‘d imagine the growth to be somewhat of a hybrid between decentralized and centralized due to token economics, security obligation and reliability that are not yet fully developed.

Another reason is, we’re starting to see natural growth and adoption of blockchain technology from SaaS providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Azure and IBM. These companies are building nodes and tools that utilize this fascinating technology. If this trend continues, there is no doubt that the industry will reach a full decentralized crypto economics stage sooner than you think.

The same thing happened with the Internet and look at how it has transformed our lives. It’s one of the drivers behind globalization, connecting people and democratizing knowledge and social processes.The technology that underpins the Internet connects people all over the world, breaking down the barriers to information flow.

In the case for blockchain and un(b)locking financial opportunities across the internet, this cannot happen without educating the public and enabling users to participate in token economics. This needs to come hand-in-hand with providing the public and early adopters with an easy-to-use, UI/UX-centric platform. I hope to see more of these tools developed in 2019.

3. Why we are doing what we’re doing

When I made the decision to start Omise (Payment Gateway) six years ago, it was because I saw flaws with the existing payment gateway providers and experienced it firsthand. My objective then was to build something I myself would be happy to use.

However, the longer I work in the fintech industry, dealing with obstacles and issues (mostly with banks and their backends), the more I realize that the scale of the problem is much bigger. It lies within the infrastructure. Think about it.

  • Why is connectivity between different financial institutions so messy and chaotic?

I now have a pretty clear idea what kind of infrastructure is needed to remove barriers to financial sovereignty; what is needed to address the points made above to make it work.

And once again, the decision is to do something about it, as with the case of building the payment gateway.

4. How we will achieve our goal

At Omise, we want to build an industry standard infrastructure for people and to provide them with the tools to easily access this new and open infrastructure. In fact, we’ve started to use this new infrastructure, testing out the synergy between our existing businesses and new businesses, focusing on the following areas:

  • Ways to utilize our existing customer base, channel partners and strategic partners

OmiseGO will lead the core infrastructure project while GO.Exchange will provide new financial user experience to both retail and institutional exchanges.

5. What we are doing now and the rest of 2019

  • [ ] Full launch of GO.Exchange

Omise (Payment Gateway)
On the business front, the goal this year is to become the largest, non-financial payment company in Thailand. At the same time, we’ve set a clear goal for regional expansion with strategic merchants.

On the technical side, the plan is to enhance our already robust infrastructure. This will allow businesses to easily integrate with our backend. We will improve our authorization rate for transactions and provide full benefits to all businesses.

OmiseGO
The OmiseGO team has been working really hard on research and building the OMG Network. However, as we always mention both internally and externally, real world adoption is everything for us. A great network has no value if there is no one using it. We strongly feel the time has come for real industry adoption.

Please also note that the team is working on a new OmiseGO website that will live on a different URL and should be ready for launch in Q2. More information on this will be shared closer to the time.

To stay updated on all things OmiseGO, subscribe to their newsletter.

GO.Exchange
GO.Exchange is a centralized exchange that will put us in a very strong position within the market when it fully launches. We have plans to support institutional functions and different financial products in the near future.

What we have at Omise is our strong determination and true motivation to accomplish our mission. Fortunately, our new structure and executive formation provide us with even more ability to push our strategy forward with breakneck speed. We will continue to execute our work according to our strategy. Our mission is not an easy one. But of course, problems and challenges are inevitable. What matters and what differentiates us from the rest is our persistence and our solutions to overcome the hurdles.

For the past six years, we have lived and breathed Omise and we still do. We won’t stop until we achieve our mission.

Jun Hasegawa
Group CEO

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JUN

Entrepreneur. CEO of SYNQA and Founder of Omise Payment / OmiseGO / GO.Exchange / Ligo / LIFEmee — South East Asia > US > EU Read my blog posts at www.synqa.co