The following Q&A is a new feature presented by Chris Abbott of Rhodes College, one of The Venture Center's 2017 summer interns.
Omnetrium is an innovative platform for financial institutions to drive new account growth, stable core deposits and robust client relationships.
Q: Where did the idea for Omnetrium come from? Who created this idea with you?
A: About a year or so ago, my business partner was reading the Wall Street Journal and read about the changes in banking laws, which lead him to think about how he could start a business around that. Basically, banking laws changed in December of 2014 to allow for a price-linked savings account, and so my partner started the process of investigating how it would work with banks and then asked me to come work for him in the fall.
Q: You have a strong background with leadership in IT. How has that helped you lead and develop Omnetrium?
A: I was the CTO of Omnetrium up until 3 months ago. Since then, I’ve become CEO. From a technology perspective, it’s been very helpful. We have outsourced all our development, so we went through a selection process. I understand the technologies, I understand the different companies that we look at, and that experience has helped me get comfortable and make good decisions. It’s unlikely that I could do the coding myself [laughs], but I know what should be done.
Q: You were a leader of Midway Amusement Games for nearly 5 years. How did this time help you with expanding your creativity?
A: I was the CIO there, and as someone who has never really been involved with pop culture and gaming, it was fascinating to me and it broadened my view of things that go on. Watching the game development and talking about what’s popular in the culture that day, who were the stars that we were trying to get in the games, it opened my eyes more than just the usual, boring side of the job because there are way more things to consider.
Q: When thinking about the development of Omnetrium, what are the factors that “keeps you up at night?”
A: There are probably 3 major aspects of stress that I constantly think about. The first point of stress is getting past the first customer, which we haven’t done yet. Once we get past the first customer, it’ll be straight forward. The other key point is I outsource everything, so I don’t have another employee yet. Those are the primary issues; getting the first customer and doing it solo.
Q: It can be said that you know the keys to success in business as well as anyone. What are some of the best and new ideas that you’ve picked up from your time with the FinTech Accelerator program?
A: Some of the things that have stood out are the different people and their products. So often we recognize a problem but don’t seek a solution, whereas these people are creating those solutions. That has been very interesting, since you sometimes lack that exposure when working in the corporate world.
Q: Last question, and this deals heavily with your Chicago roots. Would you rather see your company win 3 consecutive FinTech Awards, or the Cubs win three consecutive World Series?
A: Three World Series? That’s not worth it. I would rather win the FinTech Awards. Of course, I like the Cubs, but I would be content with seeing only one more. Three consecutive championships are a lot!