Luciana Reznik spent more than 10 years building a company. She managed to sell it successfully, and when everything indicated that she could unwind, she decided to take the risk again by creating another one. Her explanation? Nothing fills her with purpose like entrepreneurship.
Reznik was co-founder and CEO of Wolox, a digital solutions company, with which she positioned herself as one of the leaders in the tech world in Argentina. In 2021 Accenture bought it, and Reznik went on to work in a corporation for the first time in her life.
She did so with the position of business leader for the US west coast, serving clients such as Salesforce, Google, and Amazon. Quite a challenge for a young Latina woman like her.
But after a few months, and although the security of working at the company was tempting, she realized that the time had come to start a new project.
That’s when Cedalio, her new company, was born, a platform for developers to work more easily on the blockchain. His partners in this mission are Nicolás Magni and Guido Marucci, with whom he had also started Wolox.
Together they started the project thanks to an initial investment of almost US$1 million that came from angels such as the CEOs of Vercel, Decentraland, and OpenZeppelin and former Wolox partners. She from She, based in San Francisco, and her partners, in Argentina, face the challenge of running a remote-first company in one of the most innovative industries.
How were the last few years for you? Going from Wolox to Accenture and now back to entrepreneurship.
With a lot of personal changes. They were years of a lot of patience, growth, and transformation. At Accenture, I learned a lot about corporate America in the US, and I was very grateful for the opportunity, which is not easy for a Latin American woman of my age. Suddenly, spaces opened up for me, especially mentally, because when you are an entrepreneur, your energy is much more focused on a personal project than when you work for a third party. So it was also a moment of great connection with myself. The day after selling a company that marks one’s identity and life is not easy. After a good process, I understood that I had to return to entrepreneurship, which is what I like to do.
I imagine that now you start from another place, but there must be things that do not change. What was it that motivated you to start?
Yes, you start from a different place, but at the same time, there are many things that are the same. The world is different, the type of industry in which we are starting is different, and I think that insecurity and those butterflies in the belly of starting something new are the same. Maybe you know how to handle them better, or you know what to do with them to be stronger. But out of that, the process for me started by choosing who I wanted to start with.
Even before you had the idea?
Yes. I had spent almost four months doing research on all the topics I was interested in. I made it my goal to delve into different industries to get an overview of what was happening in the world and where the biggest opportunities were. After that came the search for partners, and for me, the final idea came from combining the two. We all put our interests on the table and reached a consensus.
What were the options?
One was climate change, and another was biotech. Technology is advancing a lot, and that allows a lot of novel solutions to very human problems. And the third space, which is where we are finally undertaking, is everything that is crypto or blockchain, an industry still in its infancy but with enormous potential. Since it is so new, there is everything to be done, especially in what we are undertaking, which is developer tools, giving programmers the tools so that they can easily build the products that will generate innovation in the space.
Who are your customers?
We have to separate our users and our customers. In this type of company, your user is the developer. You have to make the developer love you, want to use you, and do marketing for you because you solve their life in such a way that they can’t imagine working in any company if they don’t have this tool. But then the final customer, who pays and to whom you are solving a real business problem, is the company the developers are working for. The good thing is that developers have a lot of power in informing and deciding the tools they use to work with. So if the developers are already using you, the company buys your product.
From what industry or of what type are these companies?
We target any type of company that is using blockchain as a technology. That means that they can be crypto-native companies, that is, decentralized at the root. Or they can be web 2.5 companies, which may come from a more traditional world, and we will incorporate a blockchain element within an existing business model. And then, there are companies that have already been born in the web3 world, which can range from metaverses to decentralized platforms for information security. All of them have a need to store information on the blockchain or in a decentralized way, and today they can use Cedalio as a platform that abstracts all the complexity of the infrastructure.
Is blockchain still a niche thing, or will it eventually impact us all?
I don’t think everyone needs to know what blockchain is. In fact, we are working on providing a layer of abstraction so that even developers don’t have to understand how it works. Today it would be absurd to expect anyone to understand how the Internet works. You use Google Chrome or your email, which doesn’t mean you know what an Internet communication protocol is. In that sense, blockchain is the same: it is a super powerful technology that will not be mainstream until real use cases have enough value for an end user, and I think we are starting to see those use cases. Maybe it became mainstream very quickly because of the speculations generated by cryptocurrencies, which I think did more harm than good to the ecosystem, but if that had not happened probably all the rest would exist the same, and most would not know what we are talking about, and that’s fine.
Is it more difficult in this context to raise capital?
No doubt it is. What we experienced in the last two years was an illusion that hopefully now is capitalized in adding real value, especially in our region. Now it is more difficult than in the last two years. Investors are more demanding, and the good teams that are demonstrating that they are adding real value will receive capital because the money is there. Maybe it is not for any type of project at any stage. Today the investment decision of investors is more rational, but I am confident that it should not be a problem.
Is it better to grow slowly but surely in this context?
We are making a highly innovative product. The word “safe” does not exist in what we are doing. We know that there is a significant investment to be made in research and development. We are creating technologies that do not exist. In any case, the best way to grow is with customers who put their wallets in and thus demonstrate that there is real value in what is being built. We are going to do it from day zero. We have always been like that, we did the same at Wolox, and now more than ever, the context accompanies what is obvious to us: that the healthiest growth and the one that does the company the best is the one that goes hand in hand with its customers, solving real problems and adding real value.
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