CEO of blockchain-based investment firm Tend Technologies AG, Marco Abele tells BQ about his life in finance and choosing to go it alone.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As CEO of a start-up, a key aspect of my role is providing operational steer and coordinating daily activities. However, more importantly, I lead on creating a clear vision for the team to work towards.
After all, if you are attempting to introduce a completely innovative concept, and your team isn’t crystal clear on who you are as a business, you can’t expect investors and consumers to understand the value of your disruptive model.
When investing time in guiding my employees I am always conscious of exhibiting the stamina and confidence to encourage the team to believe and achieve the impossible.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
My professional track record includes two decades of working at some of the most successful global financial institutions in the world. I started my career in Germany in 1998, at Deutsche Bank, where over the years I worked as a legal advisor, product manager and global program leader. In 2006 I moved to Credit Suisse where I held roles as strategy project manager, chief operating officer, and chief digital officer.
over the course of my corporate career, I gained a detailed insight into the wealth management & private banking world, the knowledge from which was instrumental in helping me set up TEND in 2017.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A great leader in one industry and one situation wouldn’t necessarily be a great leader in another, as the traits required to lead effectively are largely dependent on the type of enterprise and specific circumstance you’re in.
As such, it’s the hallmark of an accomplished leader that they can adjust their behaviour to the exact situation they’re facing. This being said, the ability to listen and inspire others are in my view vital skills for leaders in every industry.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Helping people to understand the unique opportunity that TEND presents. We are attempting to completely innovate the investment industry and change the way people experience luxury assets. Encouraging people to be brave and try something they are unfamiliar with, over the comfortable established option, is hard and takes time.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I love running, tennis and skiing. However, because my job is positively affecting the lives of so many people, I find it more thrilling than stressful, so exercise is a way for me to achieve a work-life balance rather than relieve tension.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A sports star – I’ve always been passionate about sports and being paid to do the thing I love seemed like the perfect option. However, TEND enables me to do that every day, so I think my younger self would be more than pleased with where I’ve ended up.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
A lack of team spirit – nothing can be achieved alone in my opinion. If anyone believes they, as an individual, are more important than the rest of the team and refuse to change their ways, I will exchange them for someone who puts the group collective first.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
In five years, I’m confident that we will have an established presence in 10 countries where we will be achieving significant customer traction. TEND will have become synonymous with the art of experiencing luxury and a new way of investing your money.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Be courageous and dare to take the leap. But do it prepared, but don’t over prepare; work on your concept, identify shortcomings, and make first improvements, then go – you will learn on the go.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
To try out my own venture much earlier. Whether the venture is successful or not from a business perspective, the personal improvement someone achieves will be instrumental in opening up the next level of opportunities.
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