STARTUP GRIND GIBRALTAR – Chapter 2 – Development & Scaling

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A start-up is an idea, but it is actually the execution of the idea that will define the success. Delivering a successful events series for start-ups is no different. You need a plan, budget, marketing, and belief. Without a sense of conviction that what you are communicating adds value, your audience will disintegrate. November saw our ninth event take place and our audience is growing, reaching other meet-up groups in Spain who may not always be reviewing us positively but still want to know what is happening.

Many factors are actively contributing to the development of the Startup Grind Gibraltar Chapter. The main one has been Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) being regulated locally. This may not mean anything to most, but for Financial Technology (FinTech) start-ups around the globe this has made Gibraltar a focal point. Under the framework, DLT service providers will be granted a working license, providing they conform to nine regulatory principles. Some of these principles are honesty, integrity, the protection of customer assets, and maintaining a high degree of cybersecurity. Once the rulings are accepted by Gibraltar’s legislature, we will be among the few jurisdictions worldwide to offer firms working with Blockchain a fully regulated framework.

In effect from January 2018, the new rules found on Government of Gibraltar website (gibraltarlaws.gov.gi) will cover any commercial use of DLT as a means to store and transmit value. The word ‘value’ is also defined as including “assets, holdings, or other forms of ownership, rights or interests.” This would include cryptocurrency exchanges, investment services (and other controlled financial offerings) connected to tech which will also be covered. The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission has worked on delivering this regulation for over two years and it is not that they have outsmarted other jurisdictions, it is simply that experience in becoming one of the main gaming providers combined with the agility of being small and accessible in our Governance has given us a head start which will enable us to become the domicile of choice for this type of business.

From a blog by PWC USA the advantages are clear: “Blockchain’s distributed ledger provides every party in a transaction with access to the same data at the same time, embedding complete transparency and accountability in every transaction. Changes can be confirmed in real time. It enables effective monitoring and auditing by participants, supervisors, and regulators. It creates a single point of truth, and it provides shared audit trails that streamline dispute resolution at the enterprise level. In short, the application of blockchain technology to trade finance offers greater coordination and a host of process benefits. It drives down costs and enhances efficiencies.”

The World Economic Forum also made the statement that Blockchain will become the ‘beating heart’ of finance, 80% of banks with ninety Central Banks were predicted to start blockchain projects by 2017 and $1.4 billion has been invested into the technology over the past three years.

Carlos Kuchkovsky is the CTO New Digital Business at BBVA. He participated at the Startup Grind Barcelona Conference on the 9th and 10th of October. This summit has given participants, attendees and all the Chapter Directors in different cities access to top investors, entrepreneurs, developers, and journalists from both Europe and Silicon Valley. The exposure for Gibraltar in this community is invaluable. Carlos has said he would be honoured to participate in one of our local “Fireside Chats”. He is also a Board Member of Hyperledger (hyperledger.org) a part of The Linux Foundation Projects of which the Gibraltar Stock Exchange has recently become a member. Coincidentally, when mentioning our last guest, Felix Moreno de la Cova CFO of Xapo (a Spanish economist and Bitcoin expert), it turned out that Carlos and Felix’s cousin are currently founders of a start-up together.

 

Aside from being part of a network that is now present in 300 cities, Startup Grind – powered by Google for Entrepreneurs – represents values that set them apart; to give first, make friends, help others. It is an extended family. The sense of conviction is what feeds the efforts of every individual Chapter Director and it keeps it growing. Additionally, as part of our Global Roadmap there are yearly conferences in Silicon Valley (February) and Europe (June). With sponsorship from WaveCrest and Gibraltar Finance alone, locally the Chapter has established itself but ambitions will not end there. The platform is of tremendous value to communicate. It is an essential part of the ecosystem to attract or inspire technology-based start-ups to emerge.

As a series the survival is based on continuity which in turn brings credibility. It is not a simple one stop shop that may or may not bring value. Our local tech industry growth will be beneficial by directly feeding the economy. It is paramount that businesses, other organisations, and the government continue to support through partnership and sponsorship of these events. As a start-up founder myself the events have enabled my own business One Media and Events – OME to have a presence. Being responsible for the organisation, marketing and execution of Startup Grind Gibraltar I have been able to build a brand. It was through personal financing and investment that the first event was launched because of the symbiosis between my own start-up and becoming a part of this organisation that has powered the milestones achieved.

For our next event we will be joined by Nick Cowan Managing Director of Gibraltar Stock Exchange. They have recently revealed a plan to integrate blockchain into its trading and settlement systems. For more information visit startupgrind.com/gibraltar

words | Denise Matthews