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Founders analysis
Summary:
Taking a closer look at Monaco’s nine core members, their background, and skills. The report also covers the BeeCrazy scandal.
Table of contents:

Monaco - Founders Analysis


Introduction

There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding Monaco, mainly because a few people from inside the company’s management layer, including CEO Kris Marszalek, were involved in the Ensogo/BeeCrazy scandal a few years ago.

However, when taking a closer look, the firm seems to have a specialized team with significant experience in fintech and the debit cards industry. There are nine core members, the first four in the list being the firm’s co-founders as well. 

  • Kris Marszalek – CEO 
  • Rafael Melo – CFO 
  • Gary Or – CTO 
  • Bobby Bao – Managing Director 
  • Brent Diehl – Senior Vice President, International Expansion 
  • Erald Ghoos – COO 
  • Sean Rach – CMO 
  • Ken Baylor, Ph.D. – CCO 
  • Weiyi Zhang, Ph.D. – Platform Architect 

Details about all nine key actors can be found below. 

1. Kris Marszalek - CEO

The CEO of the company, Kris Marszalek is a serial entrepreneur and a well-known figure in Southeast Asia. Prior to Monaco, he founded three companies in the tech space (e-commerce, mobile LBS app, consumer electronics), he raised two companies from zero to ~$100 million and had two exits.

His specialties are:

strategy, company building, startups, talent management, product development, financing, general management.

His work experience is listed below:

1. Co-founder and Senior VP @ Starline Group | Oct 2004 to Oct 2009

2. Co-founder & CEO @ YIYI Hong Kong Ltd. | Nov 2009 - Jul 2010

3. Co-founder & CEO | BEECRAZY | Jul 2010 - Mar 2014

4. COO @ iBuy Group Ltd. | Apr 2014 - Aug 2014

5. CEO @ Ensogo | Aug 2014 - Jun 2016

6. Co-founder & CEO @ Foris Limited | Jun 2016 to Present

7. Co-founder & CEO @ Monaco | Jun 2016 to Present


Details regarding the companies Kris Marszalek worked for, as well as his work experience:

a. Starline Group

Is a consumer electronics design & manufacturing business with offices in Hong Kong, China and

Poland. Marszalek grew the company from 3 staff to 400 and from $0 to $81M in revenue is 3

years.

b. YIYI Hong Kong Ltd.

It is an LBS mobile application and platform, developed together with Munich-based Aloqa,

which was acquired by Motorola in 2010.

c. BeeCrazy

In 2010, Marszalek founded the daily deals website Bee Crazy, which was similar to Groupon. He

sold it to iBuy Group Ltd. in December 2013 for $21 million. After the deal, he became chief

operating officer of iBuy, which later purchased Ensogo Ltd., a unit of LivingSocial Inc., for $18.5

million. iBuy ultimately changed its name to Ensogo and named Marszalek CEO in August 2014.

d. iBuy Group Ltd. & Ensogo

There is significant controversy surrounding Ensogo and Kris Marszalek.

On the 21st of June 2016, Ensogo announced that it would shut down all South East Asia operations

(HK included). Its CEO, Kris Marszalek resigned as well at the time. That is when Bee Crazy was

sold to preserve cash for new investment opportunities. Bee Crazy came under fire from the Hong

Kong Consumer Council for the sudden closing, which left clients who bought and sold coupons

on the website with no way of contacting the company.

There was negative press coverage at the time. The unexpected shutdown affected operations in

several areas where Ensogo was present, including Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The shutdowns can be attributed to Ensogo’s poor performance, although several new business

models had been changed in over the years, to make it a profitable venture, under Marszalek’s

management. Competition may have affected Ensogo, since it had a good head start - Alibaba

bought a controlling stake in their main competitor, Lazada, for $1B. Lazada was also facing

financial problems before Alibaba rescued it.

Because of the whole scandal, there are some cryptocurrency enthusiasts who bash Monaco and

don’t trust the company’s management, including the CEO, as well as two other members, who

were part of Ensogo as well.

e. Foris Ltd. & Monaco:

Both were founded a few weeks later after Kris left Ensogo. Both were accepted into the Cyberport

incubation Programme in March of 2017 and selected as one of the 8 startups to join FinTech

SuperCharger 2017 (Asia's leading fintech accelerator, backed by Standard Chartered Bank,

Fidelity and others).

Foris seems to be the parent company of the current Monaco-Foris relationship. The Monaco brand

was developed because it sounds better, according to the company’s CEO.

Moreover, in May 2017, Monaco tweeted that it would offer a Visa Inc. branded payment card.

Later that month, Monaco put out a press release describing the benefits of its Visa-branded card.

In an Aug. 31 press release, Monaco announced a new mobile application along with plans to debut

five different payment cards. But there was no mention of Visa. The value of Monaco’s currency

dropped 29 per cent that day. Additionally, cryptocurrency enthusiasts started discussing on the

Internet whether Monaco and the team behind it are part of a scam or not.

However, accounting for all its ups and downs, Monaco’s money has tripled in value since May 17. 


2. Gary Or – Chief Technical Officer

Monaco’s CTO, Gary Or has 9 years of full stack engineering experience. According to his LinkedIn profile he enjoys designing user flow of products. He is also interested in Machine Learning and AI.

His work experience is the following:

1. Co-founder CTO @ Monaco | Jun 2016 - Present

2. Co-founder & CTO @ Foris Ltd. | Jun 2016 - Present

3. Platform Architect @ BEECRAZY | Oct 2014 - Jun 2016

4. CTO @ EventXtra | Nov 2012 - Oct 2014

5. App Developer @ BEECRAZY | Feb 2012 - Nov 2012

6. Web & Mobile Dev @ Stepcase | Jun 2011 - Feb 2012

7. Web Developer @ Inspire Synergy Ltd. | Oct 2009 - May 2011


Details regarding the companies Gary Or worked for, as well as his work experience:

a. Inspire Energy Ltd.

Gary handled client projects and company products.

b. Stepcase

His work here includes LabelBox for Android, Steply for Android, Chaopin, Mobile Feedback.

c. Beecrazy

His experience with BeeCrazy includes: Web Development, Mobile API, Mobile Site, BCMarket.

Gary’s experience with BeeCrazy includes the development of:

- Falcon: A platform which streamlines the workflow of China product sourcing, from product suggestion/approval, to production, to orders fulfillment and merchant payment.

- Jabba: Dashboards which aggregates data from all countries Ensogo has business in and presents important metrics for daily management tasks.

- Phoenix: Self-serve marketplace which opens up Ensogo to SMEs in all countries.

- Vader: API server which makes the BeeCrazy site much faster

d. EventXtra:

Here he designed and developed the company’s product.

 

3. Bobby Bao – Monaco’s Managing Director

The company’s Managing Director, Bobby Bao, has extensive experience in investment banking, corporate development and investor relations. He worked as Head of Corp. Development at Ensogo, investment banker at China Renaissance, Deloitte, Merill Lynch. Moreover, while at China Renaissance he worked on deals including merger of Didi and Kuaidi (now Didi Chuxing) as well as Strategic Corporate Development Projects for JD.com

His specializations include: TMT, Fintech, Robo-Advisor, Blockchain, eCommerce, Marketplace, B2C, C2C, Cross-border, Mergers & Acquisitions, Fundraising, Corporate Development, Investor Relations.

His work experience:

1. Web Developer @ Inspire Synergy Ltd. | Oct 2009 - May 2011

2. Co-founder & Managing Director at Monaco | Jun 2016 - Present

3. MD of Corporate Dev./Investor Relations and Co-founder - Crossborder @ Ensogo | 2015 - 2016

4. Investment Banking, M&A Group @ China Renaissance | 2014 - 2015

5. Investment Banking, Crossborder M&A @ Deloitte Corporate Finance | 2013 - 2014

6. Investment Banking, Financial Analyst @ Allegiance Capital | 2012 - 2013

7. Analyst Intern @ Bank Of America Merrill Lynch | 2012 - 2012 (less than a year)

Details regarding the companies Bobby Bao worked for, as well as his work experience:

a. Allegiance Capital

It is a premier middle-market investment bank, with an entrepreneurial development and attitude.

b. Deloitte Corporate Finance

Cross-border M&A / Corporate Finance Advisory (CFA)

c. China Renaissance

- The No.1 Technology Investment Bank in China.

- TMT sector.

- Mergers and Acquisitions, Privatization, PIPE Investment, and Strategic Investment.

d. Ensogo

- He led the fundraising process leading to an AUD 55m+ financing.

- He built cross-border Mobile marketplace and integrated its mobile app with China ERP systems, 3rd party shipping and payment companies.

Important to note that Bobby Bao ’s reputation was affected after the Ensogo/BeeCrazy scandal.

4. Rafael Melo - CFO

Another former Ensogo executive, Monaco’s CFO has 15 years of experience in finance, with a special focus on risk, compliance, and Mobile Payments ecosystem in Asia. He worked in high-tech organizations and entrepreneurial and start-up enterprises, mainly as a financial manager/advisor.

He led the fundraising efforts as CFO at ASX-listed Ensogo, securing strategic investment from VIPSHOP (NYSE:VIPS) and raising over A$50m from blue chip institutions like Fidelity, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock.

His work experience:

1. Co-founder & CFO @ Monaco | Jul 2016 - Present

2. CFO @ Ensogo | Jul 2014 - Jun 2016

3. Business Finance officer (CFO-equivalent) @ Mobile Payment Solutions | Jan 2011 - Jun 2014

4. Regional Finance Director @ Embraer (Asia Pacific) | Jan 2007 - Dec 2010

5. Finance Manager @ Embraer (North America) | Jul 2006 - Dec 2006

6. Division Controller @ Embraer (North America) | Jul 2002 - Jun 2004

7. FP&A Specialist, SAP Implementation Team Leader, Graduate Trainee @

Embraer (in Brazil) | Mar 1999 - Jun 2002

Details regarding the companies Bobby Bao worked for, as well as his work experience:


a. Embraer

Rafael worked at Embraer from Mar 1999 to Dec 2010, starting in Brazil and moving to Florida in July 2002 to take up the position of Division Controller in the North American region for 2 years. After finishing his MBA he returned to Embraer in July 2006 as Finance Manager for the North American region. His final position there was Regional Finance Director of the Asia Pacific region.

b. Mobile Payments Solutions (MasterCard-incubated Technology Company)

Initially it was founded as a joint-venture start-up and then became a wholly-owned subsidiary of MasterCard. Mobile Payment Solutions is charged with building a new and independent business around a disruptive technology.

c. Ensogo

His reputation was also affected after the Ensogo scandal.

5. Brent Diehl – Senior Vice President, International Expansion

- Diehl has over 20 years of experience in payments and international business development. He founded and served as Managing Director for the Singapore-based Alliance Payment Solutions, a digital payments consultancy firm with clients throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, United States, and the Middle East.

- His previous positions have included senior roles at Visa, where he managed Prepaid Partner Solutions, Visa’s prepaid consultancy division, for the AP-CEMEA regions; Western Union, where he led international expansion efforts for their prepaid cards; and Home Depot, where he was responsible for card portfolios outside of the United States. Diehl also served on Monaco’s advisory board since 2016.

His work experience:

1. SVP International @ Monaco | Oct 2017 - Present

2. Managing Director @ Alliance Payment Solutions Pte. Ltd. | May 2014 - Present

3. Prepaid Partner Solutions @ Visa | Sep 2012 - May 2014

4. Sr. Director, International Cards @ Western Union | May 2010 - Sep 2012

5. Director, Financial Services @ Western Union | Jul 2008 - May 2010

6. Director, International Markets @ Home Depot | Dec 2006 - Jul 2008

7. Sr. Manager, Financial Services @ Home Depot | Apr 2006 - Dec 2006

8. Manager, Financial Services @ Home Depot | Jul 2003 - Apr 2006

9. Associate Vice President - Commercial Lending @ City National Bank | 1996 - 2001

6. Erald Ghoos – Chief Operating Officer

- Erald Ghoos joined Monaco as Chief Operating Officer, after working for Payreto, a startup offering payment solutions to financial institutions.

- At Payreto he led the company as Chief Operating Officer in its growth from a single product business to a full-service, global solutions provider.

- Ghoos also had leadership roles in operations at companies including Funding Circle, AXA Bank, Equa Bank, and Paysafe.

- As Vice President of Risk and Financial Ops at Paysafe, Ghoos led a team of over 100 people responsible for risk, compliance, fraud, payments, banking network, bank relationships, underwriting, chargeback and collection handling, treasury, and reconciliation functions.

His work experience:

1. COO @ Monaco | Dec 2017 - Present

2. COO @ Foris Limited| Dec 2017 - Present

3. COO @ Payreto GmbH | Aug 2016 - Nov 2017

4. Head of Operations @ Funding Circle CE | Apr 2016 - Aug 2016

5. VP Operations @ PaySafe Group | Feb 2015 - Mar 2016

6. Senior Operations Program Manager @ Skrill | Jul 2013 - Feb 2015

7. Senior Operations Program Manager @ BNP Paribas | Jan 2013 - Jul 2013

8. Head of Process and Efficiency @ Equa bank a.s. | Dec 2011 - Dec 2012

8. Operations Program Manager @ Equa bank a.s. | Apr 2010 - Nov 2011

9. Program Manager @ AXA Bank Europe | Jul 2007 - Apr 2010

10. Process and Technology Engineer @ AXA Bank Europe | Jan 2002 - Jul 2007

7. Sean Rach – Chief Marketing Officer

- Sean Rach joined Monaco as Chief Marketing Officer.

- In his role, Rach is responsible for promoting Monaco's global brand and building the company's credibility with key stakeholders.

- Before Monaco, he worked for Prudential Corporation Asia, where he was Chief Marketing Officer and promoted integrated marketing solutions for Prudential's businesses in Asia.

- Before Prudential, Rach led the regional American Express account at Ogilvy & Mather, where his team launched the Cathay Pacific American Express card, one of the most successful co-brand cards to date.

- He also served as Managing Director of OgilvyOne Hong Kong, a 100+ person agency with clients including American Express, Western Union, BlackRock, SmarTone, and IBM.

His work experience:

1. CMO @ Monaco | Nov 2017 - Present 

2. CMO @ Prudential Corporation Asia| Jan 2015 - Dec 2017

3. Regional Director, Brand & Corporate Affairs @ Prudential Corporation Asia | Apr 2012 - Dec 2014

4. Director, Digital Media & Corporate Events @ Prudential Corporation Asia | Oct 2009 - Mar 2012

5. Regional General Manager @ American Express | Aug 2008 - Sep 2009

6. Managing Director @ OgilvyOne, [email protected] HK | Jun 2000 - Sep 2009

7. Group Marketing Manager @ Sprint Communications | Jan 1999 - Jun 2000

8. Marketing Associate @ Hallmark Cards | Jul 1998 - Jun 1999

9. Naval [email protected] US Navy| Jun 1991 - Aug 1996

8. Ken Baylor, Ph.D. – Chief Cybersecurity Office

- Dr. Baylor is a well known security expert.

- He joined the Monaco team as Chief Cybersecurity Officer.

- Has over 20 years' experience in data protection, information security, and regulatory compliance.

- He founded the Vendor Security Alliance, an industry standard for evaluating third party vendor security, which is relied on by thousands of global companies. He previously held senior security and compliance positions at Uber, Pivotal, Wells Fargo, Symantec, and McAfee. Baylor holds CISSP, CISM and CIPP/E certifications and was awarded Ph.D., law and MBA degrees.

His work experience:

1. Chief Cybersecurity Officer @ Monaco | 2017 - Present

2. President @ Vendor Security Alliance | 2016 - Present

3. Founding Team Member @ Valhalla Coin | Aug 2017 - Jan 2018

4. Regional Vice President @ Attivo Networks, Inc | 2017 - Jan 2018

5. Chief Information Security Officer @ Wontok | 2017 - 2017

6. Head of Compliance @ Uber | 2016 - 2017

7. Chief Security Officer @ Pivotal Software, Inc| 2013 - 2015

8. VP Information Security @ NSS Labs | 2012 - 2014

9. VP of Security and Antifraud @ Wells Fargo| 2009 - Sep 2012

10. Chief Security Officer @ Nuance Communications | 2007 - 2009

11. Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer @ Symantec | 2006 - 2007

12. Director @ McAffee | 2002 - 2006

13. Director of IT @ Promptu | 2000 - 2002

14. Director of IT @ 2wire | 1998 - 2000

9. Weiyi Zhang – Platform Architect

- Dr. Zhang joined the Monaco team as Platform Architect.

- Before, he was Vice President, Quantitative Trading at AP Capital Management in Hong Kong, where he led the development of an algorithmic trading platform and managed the Asian market arbitrage portfolio.

- Zhang was previously Vice President of Electronic Market Making at JP Morgan, where he led volatility trading strategy and arbitrage strategy development in the automated market making business.

- Prior to that, he was Quantitative Trading Strategist of Equity Derivative Trading at Deutsche Bank.

- He had also spent four years as Research Scientist at European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, where he worked on the LHC-ATLAS experiment to search for the “God Particle”.

- Zhang holds a PhD in Computational Physics from the University of Pittsburgh.

His work experience:

1. Platform Architect and Head of Training @ Monaco | Dec 2017 - Present

2. Quant Trader, Vice President @ AP Capital Investment Limited | Sep 2015 - Nov 2017

3. Vice President @ J.P Morgan | Jun 2014 - Sep 2015

4. Quant Strategist @ Deutsche Bank | Jan 2011 - May 2014

5. Research Scientist @ European Organization for Nuclear Research | May 2004 - Aug 2008

Monaco seems to be open to strengthen its management team. In December 2017 it announced new appointments to its senior management team, with Erald Ghoos as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Rach as Chief Marketing Officer, Ken Baylor as Chief Cybersecurity Officer, and Weiyi Zhang as Platform Architect.

References:

  • https://blockonomi.com/monaco-guide/
  • https://coinclarity.com/wallets/?fwp_currencies=9287
  • https://getcrypto.info/monaco/
  • https://medium.com/@monaco_card/monaco-mco-token-to-be-listed-on-four-cryptocurrency-exchanges-on-december-5-c3c1360ef1cb
  • https://medium.com/@monaco_card/monaco-sponsors-2018-money-20-20-asia-in-singapore-4addcaca38ab
  • https://mona.co
  • https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@beggars/a-serious-look-into-monaco-card
  • https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@luup/monaco-coin-it-s-about-the-usefulness-but-will-they-launch-visa-card-august-31-2017
  • https://steemit.com/monaco/@trek/monaco-and-visa-the-fud-explained
  • https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/visa-approves-monaco-cryptocurrency-card-for-singapore-residents
  • https://www.ccn.com/monaco-token-price-drops-in-value-by-18-in-seven-days/
  • https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/01/04/this-company-allows-users-to-load-cryptocurrencies-into-a-visa-card.html
  • https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/exchange/cryptocurrencyexchangemonaco-listing-mco-token-three-exchanges/
  • https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/3-cryptocurrency-exchanges-to-list-monaco-mco-token-on-december-15th-664096103.html
  • https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/monaco-mco-token-to-be-listed-on-four-cryptocurrency-exchanges-on-december-5-661785493.html
  • https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/monaco-sponsors-2018-money2020-asia-in-singapore-669701943.html
  • https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/monaco-strengthens-management-team-with-four-key-hires-665126003.html
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/krismarszalek/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/rafaelmelombacpa/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/pinglamb/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobby-bao-0455b341/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/lbrentdiehl/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/erald-ghoos-55024a9/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanrach/

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