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Ted Mao: Why I Joined Bond

Ted Mao: Why I Joined Bond

Prior to joining Bond as VP of Engineering, I was Engineering Lead for Square Capital and Square's Payments team. Over the course of my eight years at Square, the company grew from 150 employees to over 4,000 employees, and just received a charter of approval from the FDIC to open a bank. Needless to say, a lot changed over those eight years.

So what drives a company that started with the mission of making payments easier for merchants to want to open a bank? The desire to streamline the brand and bank relationship, a necessary but incredibly cumbersome piece of building any financial product. 

One of the primary barriers to innovation in building financial products is the compliance overhead of getting your bank partner to sign off on every change to your product. When you actually are the bank, you can dramatically reduce costs and accelerate product development. I was drawn to ways of building a platform that could help any brand or bank hurdle over this critical barrier.

Following that impulse is what led to Bond. After spending years building everything from payment processing systems, settlement workflows, commercial and consumer loan programs, and the infrastructure to support a brand new bank, I realized I could create a better fintech foundation for not just one company, but for an entire industry. That's what I joined Bond to do – to craft a platform that enables companies to create financial products tailored to their customers’ needs, without all of the roadblocks.

As an engineering leader, my passion is for building products that are beautiful both in how well they serve customers as well as in how they are built. On the surface, products should look great, be easy to use, and enable customers to quickly and efficiently achieve their goals. But none of that is possible without building upon a solid engineering foundation and paying attention to the details of the customer experience.

In fintech, these details come with a lot of sharp edges. Financial products like credit cards and loans are notoriously difficult to understand, and the massive amount of rules and regulations with acronyms like PCI DSS, BSA, OFAC, UDAAP, GDPR and so on make the opportunity of embedded finance a minefield for companies that don’t know what they’re getting into. It can take years to build the expertise needed to confidently build a compliant product, and in the meantime you either move extremely cautiously or risk the wrath of federal and state regulators.

I’ve also seen firsthand how legacy technology providers built UX and APIs without the “details” in mind, leading to poor experiences for customers and expensive compliance violations for brands and banks. There's no excuse these days for poorly designed UX or APIs. We have the tools we need, and the decades of expertise, to craft a platform that marries usability, reliability, security, performance, and scale. With elegant UX and APIs, we can make building compliant products more accessible for brands, and less risky for banks. That's what Bond aims to do. 

When I first started talking with Roy and Yan, I found that they recognized the importance of solving this legacy problem, and I saw their passion to connect brands looking to build new financial products with the banks who can make that a reality. And the more I spoke with the team, the more confident I was in jumping into an early stage company.

At Bond, we're working to create something with the potential to impact every financial relationship in the world.  We're building for a future where every brand can offer personalized financial products to its customers. We're crafting a developer experience that is as intuitive as it is powerful, enabling any brand to easily and compliantly launch financial products. We're building from a blank slate a platform that lets other companies innovate at the speed of their ideas. I'm so excited to be a part of Bond’s mission while building an industry defining team and technology platform.  

If you’re interested in joining me and the talented team here at Bond, please drop me a line: ted@bond.tech.

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