We talked to Nick Jones on how Zumo is a wallet and payment platform that makes money and cryptocurrency work seamlessly and safely together and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nick Jones: My family lives in rural Scotland, and we’ve been humbled by how many of life’s essentials have kept on rolling. The kids have continued to go to school; my wife and I can work remotely, and we’ve found a renewed sense of place in our local town. Of course, it’s been tough, but an upside of COVID is that it has shown us what’s important, what should stay the same, and what should change.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Zumo?
Nick Jones: I’ve always been fascinated by helping companies transition to the next big thing. Following graduation, the millennium dot com boom and pay-per-click advertising saw me work with Yahoo in California alongside some of the industry’s sharpest minds at – what was at the time – the world’s largest internet company. I was hooked and eventually left to start up my digital marketing agency specializing in deploying the latest technology to help companies confront Web 2.0 via mobile platforms and social media.
Fast forward to 2012, through a lot of learning in Machine Learning, AI, and Big Data, we decided to sell that company and spent the next five years mentoring and investing in a wide range of startups. By 2017, the entrepreneurial instinct had kicked back in, and, looking for the next problem to solve, I co-founded what is now Zumo with my business partner Paul Roach with a vision to liberate the benefits of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for people everywhere.
How does Zumo innovate?
Nick Jones: The global financial system is in a mess, and with Zumo, we set out to do our bit to make it fairer for everyone. We started with a cryptocurrency wallet because we couldn’t find a product on the market that didn’t suffer from security flaws, a lack of functionality, or mean that users that had trudged through multi-page PDFs to what should have been the simplest of things to do on the blockchain – send and hold money. We decided to overcome these problems by creating our mobile-first non-custodial wallet that businesses could use to quickly onboard new users to cryptocurrency. As our digital ecosystem developed, we decided to build our consumer app, creating a safer and simpler way for anyone to benefit from cryptocurrency.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nick Jones: We’ve been amazed by the team’s performance working remotely and are excited by the potential we have to continue running an international operation between rural Scotland, the capital in Edinburgh, London, and Slovenia, in 2021. We’ve also expanded during the pandemic, welcoming some exceptional thinkers across all departments – from marketing to product development.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nick Jones: We knew early on that the fallout of COVID would make a product like ours that was secure and accessible by all, more important than ever. And although it seems counterintuitive amid the worst economic crisis in a generation, we stayed focused on growth, retaining and recruiting talent, and ensuring team well-being was put front and center. We’ve learned that it doesn’t matter whether we live in a time of crisis or not; we will always need good ideas.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Zumo in the future?
Nick Jones: At Zumo, we value the turn of history and a need to stay laser-focused on the bigger picture. Coronavirus will come and go, just as financial systems have come and gone, yet we are always improving. We beat stress and anxiety by keeping our mission and values front-and-center. Our daily grind is about developing a technology that will change the world, which keeps us going.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nick Jones: We are glad to be part of such an active, growing market in the crypto scene. It shows that there is a clear appetite for a new way of thinking about and holding money. The market’s vibrancy is also why we set out to create Zumo as a wallet and exchange. It’s not about us deciding how consumers should use their money – it’s up to them. Through our app, consumers can send, spend or save cryptocurrencies alongside traditional money, and being that “middle guy” between more traditional financial services, crypto technologies, and the consumer is precisely where we think we need to be. The future of fintech is about liberation and giving people control and choice over their money. Zumo does just that.
Your final thoughts?
Nick Jones: 2021 is going to be a year of optimism. We’ve just seen the value of Bitcoin soar past $22k, and there are real opportunities to recreate a better financial system using the blockchain that will benefit us all.
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