STEVE EHRLICH, CEO OF VOYAGER DIGITAL - INTERVIEW WITH WBM TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO
STEVE EHRLICH, CEO OF VOYAGER DIGITAL HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.
Steve Ehrlich is currently Chief Executive Officer of Voyager Digital and its U.S. Subsidiaries. Mr. Ehrlich was CEO of E*TRADE Professional Trading LLC, the professional trading arm of E*TRADE FINANCIAL and led the Management Buyout of the Lightspeed division in July 2006. As founder and the CEO of Lightspeed Financial, LLC – a US based retail broker-dealer – Mr. Ehrlich was responsible for eight major acquisitions for Lightspeed over a seven-year period. Prior to his executive position, Mr. Ehrlich was a Vice President at E*TRADE responsible for brokerage strategy. Mr. Ehrlich was also responsible for the planning and execution of three major business acquisitions for E*TRADE FINANCIAL.
Mr. Ehrlich graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BS in Accounting. He holds a CPA and is a member of the AICPA. Mr. Ehrlich also holds licenses with FINRA. He is the founder of the Hockey in Norwalk Foundation, a non-profit serving over 300 youth hockey players that has received a grant from the New York Rangers for minority communities.
Voyager Digital has experienced massive growth over the last year, please share more details about this.
Some of our key successes in the last year include:
We grew our user base from 80,000 to over 1.6 million in one year.
We expanded the Voyager coin offering from about 30 coins last year to over 60 coins today.
We scaled our team from 35 in February 2021 to over 120 in June 2021.
We have now exceeded $3.3 billion in AUM.
We acquired LGO, an entity regulated by the AMF, France's stock market regulatory authority. The merger gives Voyager direct control of the regulated entity which will allow the Company to expedite its European strategy.
We also achieved 50% operating margins in fiscal third quarter of 2021, a number we anticipate growing as we've engineered our business so there is significant opportunity for margin expansion as we continue to scale.
In addition we developed strategic partnerships with industry leaders to expedite our growth, including Blockdaemon, Market Rebellion, and Lottery.com.
"Voyagerwill continue to evolve and innovate, with plans to expand to Canada and Europe. We are also continuing to build out our vision of creating a one-stop-shop and community for people to build wealth through debit and credit card offerings and a host of other traditional banking products, including margin, advisory products, crypto-backed loans, and equity trading."
Share with us some of the ways that Voyager is scaling its technology and securing partnerships to drive innovation.
Innovation lies at the heart of Voyager. We are continually developing and scaling our technology to provide competitive prices, fast execution, security, and a vast asset selection for our customers. Our tech team continues to grow significantly as we onboard top-tier developers and security experts to improve our platform’s capabilities and provide even greater security for our customers. To support our innovation initiatives, Voyager has recently established the following partnerships:
A strategic partnership with Blockdaemon to expand our interest offerings, utilizing their staking capabilities which reduces our dependency on lending and reduces related counterparty risk.
We also recently announced the formation of a joint venture with Market Rebellion to build a full service broker/dealer, providing Voyager customers the ability to pair trade cryptos and equities.
We showcased our payment processing capabilities through our pending agreement with Lottery.com to integrate our payment processing capabilities onto their service, which will enable Lottery.com users to generate payment transactions with crypto assets using the Voyager Platform.
Voyager will continue to evolve and innovate, with plans to expand internationally to Canada and Europe. We are also continuing to build out our vision of creating a one-stop-shop and community for people to build wealth through debit and credit card offerings and a host of other traditional banking products, including margin, advisory products, crypto-backed loans, and equity trading.
"Voyager is an easy-to-use crypto trading app that makes it seamless for investors to trade and invest in over 60 digital assets. Not only do we offer a wide selection of coins, we also give investors the opportunity to earn up to 10% interest on over 20 coins."
What are some of the reasons that has enabled Voyager to attract such high volumes of new users?
Voyager is an easy-to-use crypto trading app that makes it seamless for investors to trade and invest in over 60 digital assets. Not only do we offer a wide selection of coins, we also give investors the opportunity to earn up to 10% interest on over 20 coins. Voyager also has a Refer-a-Friend program that allows our customers to earn Bitcoin through referrals. Through our Smart Order Router, Voyager offers faster and more reliable price execution through a network of exchanges, OTC desks, and market makers to ensure our users are getting the best prices on their trades. Voyager is built with the customer in mind, ensuring that all the investors on our platform have various opportunities to build real wealth with crypto.
Voyager has also been active on the CSR front. Please share more details on the 'Voyager for Good' program.
In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, Voyager recently announced the launch of 'Voyager for Good' a breakthrough referral program in the cryptocurrency space that awards the charity of an athlete’s choice with digital assets each time a new account is opened and traded with a special referral code. To kick this off, we formed a partnership with two-time NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo, who has a charity focused on empowering the next generation of youth, especially young women, to thrive without limits. We expect to continue to partner with prominent affiliates to help position Voyager as the consumer's choice for investing in cryptocurrencies.
"Because of the relatively nascent nature of the crypto industry, I believe there is room for a number of improvements, but some of the most important ones I hope to see are accessibility and thoughtful regulation."
The crypto industry is a young one, what improvements do you hope to see as it matures and how is Voyager helping.
Because of the relatively nascent nature of the crypto industry, I believe there is room for a number of improvements, but some of the most important ones I hope to see are accessibility and thoughtful regulation. It's crucial that as we build a decentralized world that revolves around crypto that all are included. We want everyone to have the opportunity to participate in the market and build wealth, especially those who previously have not actively participated in the markets or were not inspired to do so. This is why we make it so simple for people to sign up for our platform and start trading. We're taking away the barriers to entry of wealth-building that we often find in traditional financial systems. We will continue making the Voyager platform a seamless solution for people to build their wealth by expanding our coin and interest offerings, and introducing more services in the future including a credit card, debit card, a loyalty program and more.
Secondly, I think the industry could benefit from thoughtful regulation so that individuals' assets are protected and prevent crypto from being used for illicit activity. This would be a huge step in the right direction as it would also bolster consumer confidence about crypto. Voyager is taking necessary steps to help implement regulation as a member of the Blockchain Association, which allows us to play a proactive role in initiatives that help shape public policy for the crypto and blockchain industry, to ensure that the highest of standards are adopted. As a member of the Blockchain Association, Voyager has the opportunity to participate in working groups that address a vast array of issues including securities, litigation, regulation, DeFi, custody, staking, diversity, privacy, and more. Voyager will also be able to actively participate in policy processes by contributing to comment letters, legislation, and other documents.
What makes a good leader?
A good leader is someone who can inspire others to dream big, someone who has a vision to make the world a better place and empowers others to work as a collective to make that vision a reality. He/She makes people feel seen and heard by encouraging people to bring their ideas to the table and by fostering a sense of community. A good leader lifts others up and operates with honesty, integrity, and empathy.
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