Say no. If you think that an idea doesn’t represent you, or it might affect you in the long term, you should be able to say no. Choose fights that are worth fighting.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs I had the pleasure of interviewing Mihai Ivascu, CEO & Co-Founder of Modex.
Mihai is a serial social impact and technology entrepreneur, CEO, and Founder of London-based tech group M3 Holdings which comprises 3 fast-growing companies: Moneymailme, a Neo-Banking technology infrastructure provider; M3 Payments — FX management and global payments platform; Modex — Blockchain Database — SaaS technology provider. Mihai holds an MBA in Innovation Management and is currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Business Administration at INSEEC Group with a Thesis on Disruptive FinTech Technologies. Awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 and finalist of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Mihai is an experienced speaker and entrepreneurship mentor.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I come from a family of teachers, my parents being teachers of mathematics and computer science. To some extent, this has helped me develop my competitiveness, but also my entrepreneurial spirit. I am passionate about chess and martial arts, hobbies that I strongly believe had a great impact on who I am today. I created my first company at the age of 18, and so far I have been involved in over 100 projects internationally.
Today I am CEO and Co-founder of Modex, a tech company that innovates with software solutions based on blockchain technology
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
That is a good question. As I said, I founded my first company when I was 18 years old, so there have definitely been many interesting stories since then, with the Ingenium Group companies. But a very special one is the moment when I managed to convince a team of investors to finance one of my first ideas. I started out simple, I didn’t aim to make a better world, I convinced them to support me in developing a new technology, not necessarily a better one. Of course, after the first investment round, you as an entrepreneur need to perform at 110%, not only to develop a new technology, but to develop the best one. That’s the reality, and that’s the first lesson every young entrepreneur should learn. You need to provide them with the same respect and expectations. This moment happened when I was studying for my MBA at the University of Monaco. My graduation project was chosen by a team of angel investors to be implemented in the real world. That’s how all of this started, with the inception of the Moneymailme app, a social money transfer platform. The second turning point was when the founders of Moneymailme launched in 2017 Modex, a blockchain-based project and since then the business has skyrocketed. It was a long and bumpy journey, but I enjoyed every moment, from convincing my first investor to the first line of code written for our Modex technology suite of products.
Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We believe that blockchain is one of the technologies that has the potential to create a stable framework, an exciting emerging technology, and an efficient infrastructure which can support the rapidly changing world we are living in.
Modex has developed a middleware solution based on a new technology that prevents cybersecurity problems. Last year we launched the Modex Blockchain Database (Modex BCDB), an innovative product that can be used to supplement established data breach and data loss prevention mechanisms. By connecting an existing software application to a blockchain backend, BCDB can ensure confidentiality, integrity, immutability, and availability of databases. Through Modex, BCDB companies can move from a centralized model to a decentralized, distributed model, secured by complex encryption and hashing algorithms.
We use an innovative technology and we utilize a unique hybrid product that does not change what the beneficiary has. Our solution is designed to connect seamlessly to a client’s existing database as an API through a set of custom connectors… As a result, any developer who knows to work with a database system can operate with our solution, without needing to change their programming style or learn blockchain.
In the context of a digital world, we thought of creating an infrastructure dedicated to enterprises, but the real beneficiaries are the ordinary people, who regain through our product control over their data.
How do you think this might change the world?
There are numerous use cases that can show how our technology can improve our lives. We concentrate our efforts in order to help organizations and enterprises to build trust by protecting their data.
For example, in e-governance, blockchain has made an important step towards the democratization of the decision-making process by creating secure platforms that enhance the level of trust and transparency. And we have launched the first blockchain-based platform for e-governance in Romania.
Another important field is health. From managing patient data to tracking drugs through the supply chain, blockchain can solve some of the healthcare industry’s biggest problems, including compliance, interoperability, speed, privacy data, and security issues. Blockchain could also enable new patient-centric business models, bringing patients to the center of the healthcare ecosystem by giving them power and control over one of their most valuable assets: their data.
And the examples continue in the travel industry, the oil & gas industry, supply chains, retail, education, transportation, and so on. We are proud to say that we have created a versatile and innovative product — Modex BCDB — which can be used in all the business sectors mentioned above to protect the interests of end-consumers.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Although we are a tech company and we promote new technologies, I believe that before the adoption of any new technology we should take a moment to analyze the pros and cons and to consider if we really need this new type of technology.
The technology behind our services — blockchain, is relatively new in the business environment, so it isn’t fully understood by end consumers, but it is not a technology that addresses the end population directly. The drawbacks that people should consider is what happens if the companies they work with don’t apply the latest technologies to their business, to their data management and their digital protection mechanisms.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
I am an entrepreneur, passionate about start-ups and innovation, so I am always keen to learn new things. Back while I was doing my MBA at the International University of Monaco, I was exposed to the fintech disruptive culture in the financial system and I realized there are great business opportunities there, which could also give me the chance to create something good for the world. That was the moment I started the Moneymailme project, which in time directed us to found Modex, and the meeting with the future tech co-founders — Dragos Rautu and Alin Iftemi — was the moment of truth. I am not a tech guy, I am a business person, and to innovate and to understand the technical approach, you need to roll out the best possible players. Thank God, Romania is an IT heaven with some of the best programmers in the world and a major IT hub in Europe.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
In general, it takes a long time for a new technology to become widespread in the market. It has to undergo a maturing process and the market must prepare itself for adopting new technologies. But this last year, given the Covid-19 situation, has shown that it is extremely important for companies to be capable of adapting to new situations, and adopting new technologies. We believe that we will continue to see a rise in technology adoption.
As for our needs, I would mention government support for adoption and digitalization.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
In terms of marketing strategies, a lot of our efforts go to educational content that helps us build value for our customers. Especially when we are talking about new technologies, educational content can help in making a purchase decision. We have the company’s blog — https://modex.tech/blog/ where valuable content is added constantly.
Other marketing strategies include hosting and attending events, social media, newsletters, webinars, or any other tool that can help us promote our ideas.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Throughout my career, I had the chance to meet many great people who, one way or the other, shaped me to be the person I am today. I want to extend my gratitude to David Applefield, a former journalist at the Financial Times. He was a great partner and adviser to me, and I will always remember him as a life teacher because, unfortunately, he is no longer with us. I respect his heritage at Modex because of his dedication, enthusiasm, and optimistic character. I also want to thank my beautiful wife, who supports me every step of the way.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I think it is important to give back as much as you can. I am constantly involved in philanthropic work that I want to remain private. With Modex, we are constantly involved in educational programs with various schools and universities, with the aim to help future developers. Another project that brings me joy is my investment and support for .lumen — a research startup that uses the most advanced technologies in AI, Robotics, and Neuroscience to empower blind people.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Always ask questions. I am not a tech guy. I am an entrepreneur, so for me, it is very important to ask all the questions I may have. There are no wrong questions, and more importantly, you can learn something from the answers you receive.
2. Surround yourself with smart people. For example, at Modex, I am surrounded by a great team of tech developers that are able to imagine the technologies of tomorrow. It is important to allocate time for scouting and hiring the best people.
3. Take time to prepare yourself before any meeting. You never know when a new opportunity arises. So you always have to be prepared and ready to answer any question.
4. Take chances. As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to risk it all in order to succeed.
5. Say no. If you think that an idea doesn’t represent you, or it might affect you in the long term, you should be able to say no. Choose fights that are worth fighting.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It’s not my job or my role to inspire movements, but if you want to play this game… I will say this: fewer politicians, more technicians, that is my kind of movement.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Race cars are neither beautiful nor ugly. They become beautiful when they win.”Enzo Ferrari. I replaced cars with my dreams.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Do you want to protect every single digital data owned with a push of a button?
Modex Blockchain Database (BCDB) is a middleware solution that enables blockchain adoption in enterprise software development and deployment without eliminating the database component. Our solution combines standard database engines with blockchain features while allowing programmers to work within the systems they are already using. This service helps build a secure and stable blockchain environment, saves on operations and maintenance costs, and facilitates business development.
Win your customers’ trust through blockchain technology!
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Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Thanks for having me!