After 14 years in FinTech, I begin a new chapter of my career joining Tech-For-Good startup Digital Boost as CTO.
Four years ago, I swam the English Channel to raise money for the charity Aspire who helps people with spinal chord injuries become more independent. It was one of the hardest and most gratifying things I have done in my life. On the trip back to Dover aboard “The Optimist”, team captain and Aspire Director Paul Parrish told me how he left a career in publishing to join the non-profit sector, in search of a more meaningful cause, something that had been on my mind already.
I enrolled at Said Business School as an Executive MBA student, with intent on changing careers. Many of my classmates, the inspiring people of the EMBAJ19 class had the same thought, many already ahead with their ideas of positive change. My journey was about to get a lot more interesting, as I became a father on the first day of my EMBA course. I sat next to Hema Vallabh, Co-founder of WomHob a, boutique incubator for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa. I was in the right place.
Few months into the course and many sleepless nights as a new dad, I began speaking to the extremely patient Susana Hoffman at the Said business school careers office, who transformed my resume from “Derivatives technology expert” to “Multicultural technologist with wide-ranging experience and world-class education”. I had just taken Marc Ventresca’ Strategy and Innovation course and had an idea that was going to change the life of homeowners forever.
And then the Pandemic happened.
Harsh reality quickly hit, and for the next few months, I was back in my home office, worrying about derivatives and compliance. Losing hope, I checked my Oxford email and noticed a circular of a presentation by BCG Digital Ventures on a Covid-19 related project to help small businesses. At this point, management consulting seemed like a low-risk change, and the cause interested me. My wife, Maya Moufarek, an executive and CMO herself, emphasized the importance of networking and that if I want to get into the tech startup world, I need to activate every and all of my network. It didn’t take a lot of convincing — she had founded her own consulting business, MarketingCube, during the pandemic, and her network has nothing but jumped at the opportunity of working with her.
I had an initial chat with BCGDV and the founder of Founders4Schools, an award-winning charity that connects educators with business leaders, to improve the employment chances of young people. The new project was called DigitalBoost, and it aims to help businesses hard hit by the lockdown in digitally transforming their operations and stand a chance in a lightning-fast acceleration of the digital economy. Most of the interns on the project were 10 years my junior (I’m old) and knew little about technology, so I threw my hat in.
With rather a bleak outlook where I invested money and energy into a career-changing degree was stopped in its tracks by an evil disease. This seemed like a good cause. 5 hours became 10 and 10 became 15 and I was gravitating to this project as my daughter does to the iPad. It didn’t matter that it was volunteer work, it was exciting. To a pleasant surprise that the founder was no other than Sherry Coutu, tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, who didn’t seem to mind my detailed technical explanations or “passion”….
Picasso said that great artists take inspiration from things we least expect and apply them to places we least think of, to create things we never imagined.
Digital Boost is a platform that helps upskill people with Digital know-how and help transform their business with the digital information they so badly need today, taking them on an educational journey that can transform their business and their life.
And the best thing about DigitalBoost, is it’s FREE! This sounded like a great cause.
Networking does work. Today I officially join Digital Boost as full time CTO. :)