John Ennis, founder and CEO of Neoswap, discussed how he and his team help unlock value in illiquid assets via BlockChain and AI


Show Notes

[01:14] John gave the audience a high level summary of his background.  Originally, John is a mathematician.  After post doc in computational neuroscience, he went into market research consulting. Five years ago, he started his first company, Agora, followed by Neoswap.

[02:02] John discussed the market opportunity of Neoswap which is pioneering a new form of commerce where it is much easier to spend things that you already own.  Neoswap is orchestrating trades where a network of people simultaneously buy and sell.  The company’s technology is particularly useful in cases where the assets are highly illiquid.

[04:01] John took a deeper dive into why Neoswap is particularly relevant in cases where market liquidity is very limited. By using blockchain, Neoswap is able to help coordinate economic activity that is open and transparent. John believes that eventually all the valuable assets in the world will be tokenized. Multi way trading can be applied to any of these tokenized assets in the future.

[08:18] John discussed the main current use cases of Neoswap, which are primarily digital assets (e.g. web3 game). For example, Neoswap can pull together starter packs for many buyers in a single transaction. Neoswap has also facilitated whiskey smart options. There’s a big untapped space of assets that have value but are currently not moving. They’re just stuck in the economy and he wants to help them move. He believes the decentralized commerce is the way to get them to move.

[11:07] John shared with the audience where he found the inspiration for Neoswap.  John’s father is a mathematical psychologist.  Family discussion around modeling individual preferences were common which led him to think about more efficient ways to unlock value in illiquid assets.

[14:59] John gaves examples of multi-way trade facilitated by Neoswap.  To remove the friction between the trades, the information on people’s price preferences needs to be collected.

[17:56] John discussed how AI is being used at Neoswap.  AI is used to help predict individual pricing preferences (pricing model).  Neoswap is using large language model to help users automate trading.

[22:10] John shared with the audience his experience in fundraising. He raised funds during the last Crypto bear market which was a difficult environment.  John highlighted two key learning: (1) A founder should ask if he or she needs to raise funding?  Is there a way to bootstrap the company and avoid raising funds altogether?   (His first company, Agora started as a consulting company and is fully bootstrapped.)  (2) Networking is key.  (For example, he said if you ask for advice, then you can often end up getting money. It is better not to pitch people directly.)

[29:19] John discussed his management process (e.g. scrum) and tools used to manage the day-to-day operations at Neoswap.

[29:56] John touched on his view of remote vs. in-person work.  In the near future, he plans to recruit talents around 3 geographical clusters (Richmond, VA, Poland and Dubai)

[31:48] Discussion on current cycle of AI.   John believes AI can dramatically change the workflow of companies. Everybody in the world should be using as many AI tools as they can.

[36:19] John discussed the challenges he currently faces and how he is handling them. He believes that founders should look at their finances at least once a week so that you can adjust course if needed.  He also encourages founders to take a longer viewpoint as entrepreneurs can learn along the way.



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