Today, as we step into our 4th year of foundation, I feel proud and honored to be leading Tookitaki that has been successful in creating added value to all its stakeholders. I was never a CEO and Tookitaki is my first company. I had the passion and desire to build and own a business, but no formal business education. Prior to Tookitaki, I was leading a product, which was responsible to hedge risk for JP Morgan’s interest rate swap desk, and I knew little about P&L, business plans, people management, client relationship and the list goes on. Over the years, I learned to be a CEO and two things that have kept me going and maintain a certain energy/momentum around the business are ‘not giving up’ and ‘showing the courage to evolve’. Our journey so far has been incredible and the achievements we have had are a testimony of our vision, commitment and perseverance. From a humble beginning to a leading Regtech player, Tookitaki has come a long way. Today, we have offices in Singapore, India and the United States and have been recognized by eminent industry players and clients.
We had a great 2017-18 with 5x revenue growth. As a CEO, I have my own list of goals and ambitions. While revenue was a goal, one of my key ambitions was to see our product being deployed and used in a production environment. We work with banks and although the finance industry is progressive towards adopting new-edge technologies related to AI/ML, it is difficult to get their buy-in, adapt and complement their existing infrastructure. There are very few AI/ML Regtech companies who have done multi-geography deployments and Tookitaki is one of them.
When we talk about our focus, we have identified two daunting areas in regulatory compliance to assimilate all our machine learning research and build two cutting-edge solutions – Anti-Money Laundering Suite and Reconciliation Suite. Almost US$280 billion is being laundered every year since 2008, and the same is being used to fund terrorism and other crimes. From the perspective of financial institutions, they need efficient and effective AML solutions, as the cost of current programs rose 12x over the last couple of years. Following the 2008 financial crisis, regulators across the globe are bringing about financial checks and balances to maintain financial stability at all financial institutions. Such changes are requiring transformation initiatives in the CFO’s Organization. Our reconciliation product is right in the middle of those transformations and helping institutions build efficient and effective control processes. In line with this, our passion to build a truly innovative company can be identified in the company mission — to revolutionize regulatory compliance and ensure sustainable programs for every financial institution in the world.
I believe in a simple design philosophy: build products that create value and deliver results. As part of that, we are now focusing on developing ‘explainability’ techniques in machine learning and making those techniques available on our platform. Incidentally, I have an open mic session on Explainable AI at SFF on 14th where I would share some approaches on how we plan to bring about those techniques in our software.
I consider reading to be a powerful tool in nurturing a CEO and his perspectives. As we grow as individuals, we translate the energy into our business and people. “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A Moore and “GRIT” by Angela Duckworth are the two books that inspired me the most. I would like all of you to read those books.
What I continue to learn as CEO is, of course, building blocks of making money. But one thing I have learnt over the years is to spend time working on the business and personal self (basically do not work in the business by getting hands dirty but work on strategies that can help you make the right moves).
I am optimistic about our future and as the regulatory compliance industry starts growing at a faster pace, we must remain prepared to proactively seize the opportunities. We are in a rapid growth phase with some ambitious targets. As a CEO, I would like to spend most of my time in integrating various parts of an organization (product, operations, sales, marketing) and building the blocks of a well-synchronised machine that can produce tremendous scale in years to come. We will continue to collaborate, innovate and leverage our strengths to be amongst the market leaders in all industry. As active components of this institution, which prides in its diversity, let’s move ahead with utmost zeal and excitement and pledge our commitment to not only our customers but all stakeholders, who would be a part of our journey in the future years.
It’s time to celebrate the 4th Foundation Day; my best wishes to each and every Tookitaki team member on this momentous occasion!