Be authentic, go with the flow and utilize setbacks as an opportunity

Lykke is building a global marketplace on the blockchain that is a level playing field to which everyone has access

Richard is a pioneer in high-frequency finance. He has extensive entrepreneurial experience, and he is well known for his academic work. He was co-founder and CEO of OANDA, a currency information company and market maker in foreign exchange. Under Richard’s stewardship, OANDA was a shooting star, launching the first fully automated FX trading platform to offer second-by-second interest rate payments and nettingprofits of $37 million in 2007. He is chief executive at Olsen Ltd, an investment manager, and visiting professor at the Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents at the University of Essex. His ambition is to transform financial markets into a seamless system without the inefficiencies that we today take for granted.

Please introduce yourself and your Lykke to our readers!
Lykke builds a global marketplace for all asset classes and instruments with blockchain – a fair marketplace that is a level playing field and accessible by everyone. In future, you will be able to pay with your own currency and not restricted to fiat currencies as is the case today.

How did you get the idea to Lykke?
The idea of Lykke goes back more than thirty years. It is typical for many people that they have a dream in their childhood; this is true for me – my dream was to make society more robust, less dependent on the whims of individuals.
The goal of my first company called Olsen &Associates that I started in 1985 was to build a global information system with real time forecasts for the economy as a whole and financial markets using new types of models. I wanted to provide a decision support service for decision makers, be they retail or professionals in corporations, banks and governments. A BigData project was coined. We started to collect tick by tick data to develop our new models inspired by the methodology of natural sciences. In the process I discovered step by step that the financial system is broken and needed urgent repair.
In 2001, we launched the first trading platform with second-by-second interest payments in the spin-off company OANDA. The second-by-second interest payment was mission statement to rewire the financial system and overhaul the practice of daily interest payment at daily increments.
It was only in 2011 that I finally discovered the potential of blockchain and understood that blockchain could become the backbone of the global financial system. And only in 2015 I finally found the right team to kickstart the project. It was worth waiting – we can now move much more swiftly than if I had started earlier.

How fast grow Lykke?
The Lykke project is huge in scale. For this reason, we are embracing an emergent business organization that is crowd based at all levels. Similar to Wikipedia, which is a publishing platform for key words, where the content is crowd sourced, we are building an ecosystem, where people from all walks of life can contribute.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The most difficult thing was timing – I had the plan for Lykke mapped out years before I got actually started; the timing was too early. People did not understand, what I was trying to explain them. Then suddenly things changed; it was at in the beginning of 2014, when people started to listen, and then step by step I got Lykke off the ground.

Who is the target audience?
The target audience is literally everyone from retail to institutional. Initially we focus on two target groups. The first is retail traders who are looking for a trading venue with low costs, immediate settlement, direct ownership. The second target group are issuers of colored coins or digital assets; the target group includes banks, retailers or corporations that plan to launch their own currency.
What is the USP of your startup
A marketplace for foreign exchange and select new assets, such as CO2 credits with immediate settlement on blockchain.

A typical workday?
Every day is so different. My work encompasses the mundane administrative work of managing the email flow that is essential for every startup to discussions about veryabstract research questions, to strategy, sales and just talking to other people to communicate the vision and learn from their insights. I try go with the flow of things and love the unexpected, the moments to just meditate and absorb the information around me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
(A smile) Mission accomplished, and I am free to embrace the next adventure.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Be authentic, go with the flow and utilize setbacks as an opportunity.

Thank you Richard Olsen for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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