For the child of two mathematicians, one a professor and the other a teacher, I was hardly following in their footsteps during high school. I was at the top of my class, but that ranking was really a license to pursue my true fixation — cycling.
I was consumed by cycling in my teens. All my energy went into shaving a few seconds off of my race time as a member of the South African Junior Cycling team. It was only until I got to college that I found something that enveloped my attention the same way racing did. Diving into computer science led me into the world of engineering, into fintech, and eventually to Bond.
Now, I'm incredibly excited to have joined Bond as a Principal Software Engineer, helping to build and scale our platform even further.
As an engineer, I love tackling hard problems; as a leader, I think there's nothing more rewarding than assembling and growing a team that can tackle hard problems at scale and build something bigger than themselves. That's the exact type of work I'm looking forward to at Bond.
Diving into CS
There are plenty of engineers who started tinkering with code before they were out of middle school — I was a freshman in college when I first dove into computer science.
Heading into C++ 101, my friends who had studied CS in high school were far more technically adept than me. Maybe it was my strong math skills or my excitement at seeing math applied in a practical, powerful context, but I quickly closed the skills gap.
At the time, I was enrolled in a double-major, Math and Computer Science but I quickly found my passion for Computer Science so I switched to solely focus on CS and graduated in the top 1% of my class.
My first job out of college was at the intersection of embedded engineering and perishable goods transportation. I helped engineer a wireless transponder that measured ambient temperature and humidity, stored the time series data locally and then uploaded it to be analyzed by the food wholesalers later.
At the time, long haul drivers were monetarily incentivized to conserve as much fuel as possible when distributing perishable food across South Africa. Cutting or lowering the amount of fuel used to keep the truck's cargo cool was a great way to conserve fuel but a less than ideal experience for the retailers when spoiled food arrives at their stores. Our product helped drivers find the right balance using data.
This little taste of making data more accessible and building a scalable distributed system, felt like I was finding my niche.
Leaping into fintech
My next job was my first step into fintech. I worked for Mosaic Software, which was acquired by S1, which in turn was later acquired by ACI Worldwide, developing software that processes financial messages and routes them between merchants, banks, processors and networks. There, I saw a glimpse of a bigger fintech industry waiting to be improved and built upon so I chased that opportunity.
When I moved to the United States in 2007, it was to learn from the best. I moved to Atlanta, GA to be closer to S1's team of engineers that could help me sharpen my skills and dive further into building financial systems that can scale and improve the tech underpinning the financial industry.
I felt an urge to work on something big, to build something that has a long lifetime and a sizable reach. I had an innate knack, similarly like I did for math, at sussing out what felt like a viable product and what might just be a flash in the pan. When I saw the opportunity to join a startup company and build it up from scratch, I trusted that innate knack and jumped at the chance.
At nCino, I was employee number three, and the first engineering hire. We built the product, the team, and the culture from the ground up. I grew as an individual, not just contributing to code and to applications, but learning the skill of scaling myself — mentoring lead engineers to scale capabilities and bringing a vision to life. nCino IPO’d in 2020 and I could not be prouder of the team and the product.
At Bond, I can't wait to bring our vision of building the future of finance to life. After working in fintech for years, I know how hard it can be to build embedded financial products. It's a massive challenge no one has solved yet. However, I think Bond is poised to be a solution that unites the various partners across the fintech ecosystem.
Together, we're ready to build a platform that vastly improves and streamlines the way banks work with brands as well as how customers access the financial industry. By combining best-in-class, cloud-based technologies with the collective experiences of everyone at Bond we can realize our vision to bring embedded finance to every brand.
If you're interested in joining the team and working with Jaco check out our careers page and let’s chat!