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On July 23rd, Modex’s CEO spoke at Forbes Forward – a series of online events hosted by Forbes Romania – about the challenges entrepreneurs face during the pandemic, about the best solutions to overcome this crisis and what can be done to grow your business and expand internationally. Here’s what Modex’s Co-founder had to say.

Seizing the advantages brought by technology 

“We are living interesting times. Memorable, even, I would say, from every point of view – positive and negative. A period in which technology has a certain advantage, an advantage that must be seized well. We, at Modex, had to reevaluate many of the activities and to focus more on what needs to be done. Our Group comprises 3 companies in Romania and 3 companies abroad: Modex – blockchain database company headquartered in London, Moneymailme – money transfer and chat app, and M3 Payments – which represents an alternative to global multi-payouts systems, very competitive for SWIFT payments and payments in exotic currencies. For M3 Payments, for the past 4 years we’ve had a successful partnership with Currency Cloud. We are also currently expanding in the United States, where we have an office in Silicon Valley and we’ll soon open another one in Washington DC.”

Ivascu added: “Moneymailme has a well-developed technological component which we’ll migrate towards the blockchain area. We can offer banks or other players on the market the entire Neo-banking technology with a blockchain infrastructure. At the moment, the competition in the enterprise blockchain segment is not very well developed and we think that we can really make a difference here.”

Focusing on the management of resources

“The best lesson for us, entrepreneurs, during these trying times has been the management of resources. We have to use our energy better in order to do things and also to take advantage of the opportunities which arise along the way. The pandemic can be seen as a major reality check, which made us rethink what can be achieved, what can’t be done and what can we do with the resources at hand. Moreover, I think that by carefully choosing the right battle – in which you invest your resources (time, money, etc) – can lead to success and to the growth of your business.” 

Advantages of blockchain technology for companies

“Over the last few months, we’ve focused on promoting the advantages of blockchain technology. In the enterprise blockchain segment, the main advantage is data immutability and we see ourselves as a data immutability provider. What does it mean? The data you own is – for an increasing number of companies – the most prized asset. We only realize this when we lose that data, when it’s blocked by a ransomware attack, when it’s being manipulated by a team member or when that data is lost. With our solutions, we’re trying to make things easier for any company which uses a database to obtain this data immutability on their existing database.” 

“A clear use-case of this is in the auditing area. There have been many instances where employees of a certain company have manipulated data to obtain personal advantages. At the top management level, sometimes you can’t control these things. Our innovative solution keeps an immutable log of all these modifications made within a database. In the beginning, blockchain has been used for transactional purposes (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc), but now the applicability of this groundbreaking technology at the enterprise level is obvious. In the United States they’re speaking about “data sanity” – the protection of data from inside or outside attackers and the ability to see all the changes, if these have been made.”

“Another use-case worth mentioning is against ransomware attacks. As you may already know, the data of lots of hospitals from Romania and abroad has been attacked by hackers, mainly to obtain huge sums of money. With our solution, it is possible to reconstruct data from the network created at the client. The attacked node can be taken out of the equation and then reconstruct the network. Our solution also guarantees business continuity. We see that even big companies are using this solution for data traceability and to make sure data is not tampered with or taken out of the network.”

Time and cost savings thanks to Modex’s solutions

“Until now, blockchain has been hard to implement at the enterprise level. It was very expensive, it took between 9-12 months, it required extensive modifications of the network’s structure, and the average cost was at least 1 million dollars for such an implementation. Thanks to our solution, we now have companies which are implementing this in a matter of hours, without external support. They read our documentation, they take the necessary part of the infrastructure and install it on their network. Basically, they are paying for a license. We have companies which have chosen the Free subscription, companies which have opted for under 4,000 USD / year and companies which have chosen the more expensive package.”

“At Modex, we are now finalizing a big investment round. I believe that this is a test of maturity for every company wanting to reach the next level from this point of view. Personally, I would like to see more companies from Romania which exit the bootstrapping zone and go international to raise financing, which would ensure a faster development of the product and the company itself. With every new phase in the development of a company – especially when we speak about institutional investors and financing – those investors want to see that you have more than just a product and a team. They want to see that you have a company which brings added value to the industry and is ready to take-off following their infusion of capital.” 

Being part of a network of entrepreneurs

“I think that one of the differences between us, Romanian entrepreneurs, and those from abroad is that we don’t spend enough time for the documentation process. Some of us tend to think that they know a lot, having created a certain product or a service, and there’s no need for a thorough documentation. Abroad, people pay more attention to resource management and they seek resources more carefully, they are looking for innovations grants, hubs, etc. Instead of building their own sales network, they choose to be part of an entrepreneurs’ network and to benefit from its full support.”

Advice for entrepreneurs, SMEs, startups

“The most important thing – especially during this pandemic – is to pay attention to their resources, to preserving energy. In many cases, we divide our attention to many things which don’t bring anything good, they only bring a hope of better days. So we have to make a clear distinction between the essential, urgent activities and the ones which are essential, but non-urgent. For every type of business, it’s very important to efficiently manage the resources, whether it’s about employees or other assets. I believe rough times are ahead of us, over the coming months, and these trying times don’t seem to end too soon. Therefore, it’s best to preserve and use your potential in the best way possible.”