How consulting let one engineer chart his own path to the C-suite

Bailey Seybolt

We sat down with Gabriel Bianconi, Tribe member and Chief Product Officer at Ondo Finance, to talk about crypto, DeFi investing, and how consulting accelerated his journey to leadership.

Congratulations on your new role. Tell me a little about Ondo. 

At a high level, Ondo is really rethinking the role of the investment bank in DeFi in a crypto-native way. Traditional investment banking is so manual and high touch. For crypto companies and DAOs, that’s just not compatible with the way they’re operating. 

So the vision for Ondo is a decentralized investment bank?

Exactly. Right now, what that means is bringing together a diverse set of investors – anyone from an individual to a more traditional large institution or crypto-native hedge fund – and pooling those assets into investment classes to offer crypto investors more control over balancing their risks and returns. And we do everything in a transparent, trustless way. 

And what’s your role at Ondo?

I joined as Chief Product Officer – a mix of engineering, product, and strategy. Right now I’m really focused on building the engineering team and longer-term product vision. 

You were consulting before you took the role at Ondo, right? Was it always the plan to go back to a full time job? 

Not at all. I actually thought I’d start my own company eventually. As a recent graduate, I was making more money in consulting and had way more flexibility in terms of time and commitment. So there was no real pressure to take a full time job. 

Do you think consulting accelerated your learning?

In the last couple years, I’ve worked on projects across many different industries and covered a pretty broad range of ML disciplines. I got a broad view of different sectors and types of companies and how they think about technology at different stages. So there was a huge advantage in consulting to give myself the flexibility to explore different areas.

And did the freedom afforded by consulting play out in other ways?

From consulting, I was able to get a cash-heavy compensation early on. Much higher than any jobs I could have gotten out of school. With that, I could go for periods where I was focused on earning a lot and then exploration periods where I wasn’t consulting as much. 

In the last year, I decided to dial down my consulting hours so I could dive into crypto – read more, learn more, invest – really figure out what’s most valuable and where I wanted to be placed. That definitely led me to become a good fit for something like my role at Ondo. 

How do you think this will translate into your new role?

I’ve seen how dozens of companies operate internally now. How they run sprints. How they recruit. How they deliver software. So all that is useful in my current role. 

You consulted on your own as well as with Tribe. What were the benefits to being part of Tribe?

Consulting dealflow, for one. From my own network, I had access to early stage companies, but it would have been much more challenging to work for a large hedge fund on my own – which was the type of customer I got through Tribe. And beyond resources, community as well. I joined the poker games, got to know people and understand what they’re working on. And the more work I did with Tribe, the more I got out of it. Jackie and Noah helped me think about fundraising and introduced me to great investors. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about consulting as a career path?

For me, the advantages were huge to give myself the flexibility to explore different areas. I got to build my own career path and end up in a place that feels really exciting.

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Head of Content
Bailey Seybolt
Bailey got her start in storytelling as a journalist, before pivoting to tech content development for unicorn startups from Montreal to San Francisco – helping build brands and shape stories to drive business results.