February 14, 2018 Interviews

Interview with Monetha’s Co-Founder | Laurynas

Tell us a bit more about your professional background? How did you get into product building?

I was always into building stuff. Always thinking about how to leverage technology to build a great company with a great product!

Even though I did not study engineering (or product development) as a major, I was spending a lot of time learning and reading about product engineering and development on the side. I love reading and diving deep into technical details of things. I would say that I am an engineer at heart: engineer of life, products and companies. 🙂

During my undergraduate studies I was a founding CEO of a digital outdoor advertising company which raised over EUR 300.000 in Venture Capital with the team of almost 20 people. At the previous company, even though I was a CEO, I was very involved with a product: fast experimentation, connecting business needs with the user feedback, working on the roadmap while defining functional and non-functional requirements for the product. Building a company and at the same time building a product: I enjoyed it very much!

What do you love about making impressive products?

Making an impact in the world while building a wonderful company with astonishing product(s) that people love! What else can be more challenging, adventurous and rewarding all at the same time?!

What is your philosophy behind building companies with exceptional products?

I have this philosophy that I mentioned earlier: I think that technology, in a broader perspective, is super powerful tool to make a significant impact in the world. Building companies and new products around new and upcoming technological verticals such as blockchain is..

When speaking more in terms of a day-to-day philosophy, it’s simple: experimentation oriented, independent, cross-functional teams consisting of engineers, data scientists, marketing, design, etc., that are enabled to independently run as many experiments as possible and decide on the changes that we need to make to the product. While running those experiments, cross-functional teams bring tremendous amounts of insights of how people are actually using the product, what is important for them and what is now, where they see the biggest value and where they don’t see any value.

Simply speaking:

1) Raise some hypotheses
2) Run experiments
3) Measure results and see how statistically significant are those
4) Make changes
5) Repeat.

That’s how you are able to move fast and understand what people really values in your product and focus on that. Once you find what people values the most.. You can start a growth engine and start scaling. But that’s another topic..

Moreover, everything needs to be measured so as to avoid subjectivities and biases of different stakeholders.

How did you come up with the idea of Monetha? What do you like about the product?

Even while I was leading a previous company, I was always thinking about what kind of problems new upcoming and evolving technology “paradigms” such as AI, Blockchain, VR, Autonomous could solve. I started reading about blockchain and that gave me a very clear understanding of how blockchain could be beneficial solving bunch of existing problems and disrupting different industries: information asymmetry in commerce that causes trust and reputation problems, legacy financial systems, automated and autonomous industry (acting as a backbone of AI systems) and many more. As fate would have it, a friend of mine started a blockchain startup that I participated with a small angel investment.

At that point, with Justas, a long-time friend of mine, we started discussing different ideas which the blockchain could solve. Legacy financial system with a focus on payments was an obvious problem that we started on. Once Andrej joined the team, we had sessions that lasted hours and hours during which we came up with this idea that blockchain based reputation for commerce (which is linked with a payment fact) is a very powerful idea which could solve many issues. To be precise, reputation universally has not been solved before. We thought that the only company that successfully solved an online identity problem was Facebook. But online identity is not the best tool to solve a trust problem in global commerce. That’s where we had an “aha!” moment!

The best part of Monetha is that the reputation is yours. It’s kind of your identity for the commerce that represents the real truth and does not belong to any platform. You can share it through different platforms wherever you sell.

The vision that we have sounds like this:

To drive, you need a driving licence
To travel, you need a passport
To participate in a global commerce you need Monetha’s reputation

Any funny/interesting stories that you can share from your time in Monetha?

One of the biggest law companies in Baltic States, TGS Baltic are Monetha’s partners. One day, it was their company’s party, every guest attendee were dressed in business suits, while me and Justas were going to this party straight from the Monetha’s Software Development Office wearing Monetha t-shirts. When we arrived near the entrance there was a bodyguard who didn’t want to let us in because of the obvious dress code there, but once he did let us in, pretty much every participant of the event came to us asking what is Monetha, taking pictures with us, etc. So, in a way, Monetha became the highlight of the whole show 🙂