Kaidi Ruusalepp worked in the trading, clearing, and settlement industry for 11 years. After all those years serving the exchange, she worked up the courage to become an entrepreneur.

What’s your story?
I was 20 years old when the Estonian Government Office hired me as the country’s first IT lawyer. I was responsible for all IT related legal acts, including co-creating the Estonian Digital Signatures Act. When Estonia started to reform their pension system and introduce private pensions, the Tallinn Stock Exchange hired me to run the project. I soon became the CEO of the Estonian Central Securities Depository, a subsidiary of the stock exchange; and then three years later I was appointed the CEO of the NASDAQ Tallinn Stock Exchange. After serving the exchange group for 11 years, I founded Funderbeam – a company focusing on the funding and trading of global private companies. It is a marketplace to provide liquidity for startups and SME investments, using the blockchain technology as the trust producer. Funderbeam was recognised and awarded as the Best European FinTech Company in 2017 at the European FinTech Awards.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s not so much about the industry itself – the financial sector is rather conservative and very regulated – but it’s about the challenge. How can you introduce new business models built on the newest technology into such classical industry? And how can you provide the service across borders, globally.

What’s your connection to Asia?
As European regulation is too standardised based on the existing business models, we have applied for a trading license in Singapore. This will enable us to invest and trade with private companies globally, to disintermediate the service and use the newest blockchain technology. Asia is also a booming market in relation to startup investments and this is the second reason and relation to Asia. In August, I moved to Singapore with my family and to be honest, my kids refuse to go back to Europe! 🙂

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Global, trusted, regulated and thus – open to innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you want to innovate, then ask forgiveness, not permission.

Who inspires you?
All female global entrepreneurs and The President of Estonia, Mrs Kersti Kaljulaid.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
As a female founder with kids – never underestimate your children. They are the source of life, confidence and comfort. And you can actually rely on them when going through some hard times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have moved closer to new markets earlier, and I would have relocated to Singapore right after we made a decision that we would apply for a license in Singapore.

How do you unwind?
I read a lot – losing myself in someone else’s story 🙂
Orienteering – I coach top female orienteer in Estonia and the process is very challenging. And my kids – they just drag you out of work stress.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I haven’t had much time to travel around Asia, but I absolutely love non-touristy places. I go where others don’t go – then you see the places in their pure beauty.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Rachel Botsman “Who can you trust?”
https://rachelbotsman.com/books/

Shameless plug for your business:
Funderbeam is a platform for financing and trading privately-held companies. It is based on blockchain technology to make transactions traceable in a secure and transparent way. Companies raising and trading on our platform include startups, but also later-stage companies that are launching a new product. Those companies get access to capital and funding while investors can diversify their portfolio but also have liquidity for their investments as the shares they buy are tradable on Funderbeam’s secondary market. It is global private “exchange”.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaidiruusalepp/
I also publish stories about our journey, learnings and challenges on our Funderbeam Wire.

Twitter handle?
@KaidiRuu

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here: twitter.com/laingcallum linkedin.com/in/callumlaing Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Recently Published

In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency, vast sums of money can be made or lost in the blink of an eye. In early November 2022, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, was valued at more than US$30 billion. By Nov. 14, FTX was in bankruptcy proceedings along with more than 100 companies connected to it. D. Brian Blank and Brandy Hadley are […]
Key Takeaways: The phenomenon of some fireflies’ flash synchrony has puzzled scientists for over a century. The phenomenon piqued the curiosity of many, including mathematicians Daniel Abrams and Steven Strogatz, who named it “chimera” In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a hybrid monster made of parts of incongruous animals – so a fitting name for […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaways: Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets. However, gaps in our understanding start to appear when we try to apply it to extremely small distances, where the laws of quantum mechanics operate. A new study, published in Nature Astronomy, has now tested […]
Key Takeaways: Digital money is a form of currency that uses computer networks to make payments. It is not the digital nature of cryptocurrencies that differentiate them from digital money, but how they ensure the ownership of digital property that mark them as transformational. The Counter Currency Laboratory, a new initiative based in the Department […]
Key Takeaways: For many people, Buddhism appears to be uniquely compatible with modern lifestyles and world views. Buddhist mindfulness has influenced many schools of contemporary psychology. Buddhist philosophy embraces constant change and the inherent impermanence of all things. The 19th century Burmese monk Ledi Sayadawtravelled the nation teaching meditation and founding study groups. The forms […]

Trending

I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics