From having graduated as an electronic engineer from Dublin City University, Ireland (DCU) in the early 1980’s to being an avid entrepreneur, Rob Leslie is leading by example. Rob is the Founder & CEO of Sedicii, a leading identity platform which has developed technology that verifies data between two organisations without exposing the underlying data.
A Serial Entrepreneur
Rob’s journey of becoming an entrepreneur has really been exciting. After completing his graduation, Rob moved to Japan and worked initially for a number of Japanese companies and then for Dell Japan. He was part of the management team that grew the business to almost 300 employees with a turnover of $300m in its first four years. He then left, continuing his journey as an entrepreneur. PTS Japan was his first start up which was sold after five years having achieved a valuation at exit of $33m.
Shortly after that he returned to Ireland where his entrepreneurial spirit continued. In 2007, he cofounded Kyckr (ASX:KYK) which is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. In 2013, while still at Kyckr, he founded Sedicii after realizing the growing challenges of cybercrime-related misrepresentation. With Sedicii being named a World Economic Forum (WEF) Technology Pioneer, it gave him the opportunity to speak at Davos to the world’s leaders on digital identity, cybersecurity and other technology issues affecting the world’s economies.
Preserving Privacy at its Core
Sedicii has a mission to create a global federated identity network which has a very strong focus on privacy, enabling real-time identity verification while also complying fully with GDPR and other privacy laws. The network is made up of trusted providers – including governments, financial institutions, utilities, telco’s and many other organisations that need to verify who their customers are.
Everyone has an identity that needs to be actively managed and looked after. Sedicii is currently working with governments, tier-one financial institutions and public services organisations in its quest to build a global federated identity network that preserves privacy at its core.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion” – Jack Welch former CEO of General Electric
Rob believes that once the company has the foundations fully embedded, more and more industry sectors will see the benefits of having privacy preserving technologies incorporated into their workflows that manage customer identity.
A quote from the Spanish Bank BBVA when Sedicii was awarded the Fintech for the Future award “Sedicii is the start up with the greatest potential to transform the financial sector in the next 10 years”. Other organisations such as BT, Citi, EIC Digital, EY, PWC and Red Herring Europe have also recognised Sedicii for its innovative work in the digital identity, KYC, KYB and AML sectors.
Source of Inspiration
Talking about people and books that inspire him, Rob says that he greatly admires former US President Barack Obama. One of his “bucket list” items would be to sit down to dinner with him. According to Rob, he is a charismatic leader, and it would be a great pleasure to understand his ideas on how to lead, how to build trust and to understand his decision-making process.
During his years in Japan, Rob was hugely impressed by Sony Corporation and how it was run. The book, Made in Japan, by its founder Akio Morita, gave him many of the things he draws on now as he charts a course for his own business.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
In order to stay ahead of the curve, it is very essential for today’s leaders to sustain their creative leadership spirit in this changing technological era. For Rob, creativity is about learning, challenging the norm and surrounding one’s self with a team of people who share a common vision. Sedicii currently employs 16 people who are multi-locational in Ireland, Canary Islands, the UK and Belgium, all passionately believing in its vision. Rob and his team regularly attend webinars and other (pre-Covid 19) Fintech events. He has been lucky enough to speak at seminars and conferences such as EU Parliament (ESPAS) Conference, the International Economic Forum of the Americas Conference, Montreal, Canada, the Horasis Global Summits and many more besides which helps him learn from the experiences of others and keeps him up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends and allows him to meet with other like-minded creative professionals.
Focused on Making it the Best
Rob’s short-term and most important objective is to grow the business to scale and making Sedicii a successful, profitable business for its shareholders, employees, and customers. Like any business professional, he is focused on building the company and making it the best it can be for all its stakeholders.
Some Valuable Insights for Aspirers
High standards and personal ethics are very essential for Rob and he believes leaders should lead by example. According to him, being honest and truthful, even when it is hard to do, build trust. Everyone on the Sedicii team knows that there is no work task that he won’t take on and roll up his own sleeves in order to get things done. He believes working smart is important. Great communication at every turn in our evolution is paramount. Thus, he shares the highs and the lows, sets expectations, encourages feedback, and gives recognition. Rob also passionately believes in perseverance and persistence in getting one’s product or service to market.
In his advice to upcoming business leaders, Rob says, “Have belief, maintain a passion in what you are trying to achieve whether it be a service or product. Persevere, expect and accept setbacks – see them as challenges which will improve what you do. All too often being a leader – especially in a start-up – can be an extremely lonely place, so be kind to yourself. And when success finally arrives take the time to enjoy it!”