FintechFor the uninitiated, for the start-up community “unicorn” status is the holy grail of growth, the sacred £1bn valuation. They are a source of much mystique, and many a bad half-idea is a creaking rocking horse masquerading as the mythical being.

Even worse, the Shoreditch scene has become, for some businesses, a parody of itself.  Too much skateboarding to work with a good idea in theory, not enough actual action or sustainable profitability.  Alas, a lot of horse manure often contained therein.

Dacxi is the 6th disruptive business I have worked with from an early stage, and my 3rd in the blockchain space.  Two tech start-ups I have recently assisted, have recently achieved pre-money valuations of £15m and £5m respectively.  My blog posts will attempt to cut some of the sound business advice from the zeitgeist wannabees’ soundbite sophism.  Certainly, you have to think differently to create a unicorn.

Fintech, and specifically the crypto industry, is a microcosm for a number of broader social phenomena of our times. It is a perfect venn diagram of a number of themes: big data, a sense that the current financial infrastructure is not fit for purpose, the decentralisation and democratisation of wealth, the need for a vastly improved (cheaper, faster & more efficient way) to move value.

It has been seemingly unstoppable in its rise.  Numerous entities have come out in favour of blockchain technologies: from Central Banks working on digital currencies, such as our very own Bank of England, leviathan payment firms (Mastercard, Visa, Paypal) to titans of banking including BlackRock, DTCC and the New York Stock Exchange. Some of the world’s largest retail firms, also, have pinned their colours to the flag of crypto, including eBay, Starbucks and Uber.   More interestingly, recent trends have suggested that bitcoin is “decoupling” from traditional financial markets, and a number of substantial hedge funds are taking it seriously as an asset class.  Indeed, industry stalwart Paul Tudor Jones has postulated that it can be used to hedge against inflation.

There are some industry commentators suggesting we are in the “iPhone moment”, in terms of adoption, as it becomes the dominant technology, past the point of no return. Certainly, much like dog years, a week in crypto is the same as a year in any other industry.

I’m not generally a massive fan of platitudes, but I’ve always liked the phrase: “if your dreams and aspirations don’t scare you, then they are not big enough”.  Interestingly google suggests a number of folk who claim all credit for this wholesome advice!

I joined Dacxi in late February 2020, a business with aggressive aspirations: to build a leading retail crypto exchange, which seeks to provide liquidity on its community coin, list on the London Stock Exchange in the next 12 months and create the world’s largest female crypto community.  No small remit, and whilst we regularly make press comment, it felt right to capture some of the joys and frustrations on a detailed basis.

Hopefully this blog will provide a lively account of the roller coaster ride that is an early stage fintech!

In next week’s blog: Starting a new job during COVID and the newly acceptable business behaviour!

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech start-up in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space. 

Katharine WoollerAbout the author

Katharine Wooller is managing director, UK and Eire, Dacxi – a digital crypto fintech platform specialising in bringing cryptocurrency to the ‘crowd’.

Katharine Wooller has had a long UK fintech career, as Investment Director at industry leading peer-to-peer lender, and in senior roles at a specialist investment banking SAAS supporting tier one banks, asset managers and hedge funds.  More recently she has held advisory roles for blockchain businesses and is currently MD for a retail crypto exchange. She leads the Women Who Crypto initiative.


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