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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.