The last time The CEO Magazine spoke with Lakeba Group Founder and CEO Giuseppe Porcelli in October 2018, the risk-averse leader had set his sights on continuing the company’s leadership in the software sector using technologies like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and blockchain. Giuseppe revealed a desire to develop a digital banking solution, believing that technology has the power to transform the financial industry more so than any other sector.
And guess what? Even with the pandemic, Lakeba smashed these goals with its unique incubator/venture studio/venture capital fund business model and the strength of that combination, which allows it to achieve more than others, mostly because of its innate synergies. “We are global leaders in truly diversified investment technology,” Giuseppe reveals. “Lakeba engineers future technologies that accelerate businesses towards a better tomorrow.”
Lakeba’s portfolio consists of 15 businesses and their specialist technologies – 12 are being built and three have already exited. The Sydney-based company, which also has a presence in India, Italy, the UK and the US, conceives these businesses’ opportunities, creates their operational models, and then commercialises them into mature revenue and profit-generating businesses.
Now that Giuseppe has found a sweet spot with Lakeba, he intends to continue nurturing its unique business model. “This means focusing on the strength of our balance sheet, increasing revenue and our ambitions towards international expansion into the US and South-East Asia,” he says.
“We operate under an agile international business model that focuses on technology solutions that solve real problems.”
“Innovation is our main strength. We live and thrive upon the challenge of not only working upon the problems that face the industry today but also the ones that face it tomorrow. We are constantly working upon the future challenges of software developers and their world.”
Achieving hyper growth
Lakeba was founded in 2013 and quickly earned the respect of Microsoft. Its Bricklet and Verimoto businesses have been dubbed Australia’s most promising proptech and most innovative fintech, respectively. And its fintech business portfolio – which includes EziTech, Verimoto, ezidox, Bricklet and Quixxi – has earned it recognition as the fastest-growing fintech in Australia for the second year in a row by The Financial Times.
Not only that, but this fintech portfolio is largely responsible for driving its hyper growth. The company’s EziTech banking-as-a-service technology has been adopted by a growing number of organisations in the financial services sector, including some of Australia’s most forwardthinking neobanks. And Verimoto, which posted 170 per cent year on year growth this past March, provides remote asset and identification verification for vehicle and asset financing.
Lakeba’s electronic document curation platform ezidox has also witnessed significant growth, illustrating a bright side of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a secure information and document exchange platform, ezidox has helped industries – ranging from mortgage lending to human resources and accounting to law – to get business done remotely in the face of lockdowns and restrictions.
“Working with and developing technology products has taught me that there’s no such thing as failure.”
“We operate under an agile international business model that focuses on technology solutions that solve real problems,” Giuseppe explains. “That and our diversification of risk across different verticals means exposure to fluctuations caused by COVID-19 have thankfully been minimal. In addition, some of our products like ezidox are focused on providing solutions for those working remotely, which has helped us over index in some areas of our organisation.”
Leadership that empowers
Making it through the pandemic rather unscathed can also be credited to Giuseppe’s sound leadership. His focus is perpetual, and he empowers everyone at Lakeba to achieve the extraordinary. He knows no borders and is fuelled by his entrepreneurial legacy of engineering businesses internationally by conceiving, creating and commercialising tomorrow’s digital disruptors.
“It’s about making the right decisions at the right time, and this does not mean always sticking to a single plan,” Giuseppe shares. “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the ability to change direction when it’s necessary. And this only comes with perspective and the opportunity to view any situation from different angles.
“During challenging times like we’ve had with the coronavirus pandemic, I believe leaders have a responsibility to make sure that the business remains stable and healthy while safeguarding its people’s stability. It’s important to remember that no two individuals share the same perspective at any given time, especially in times that are more challenging. We have teams across several continents, including a strong presence in India where the situation has been very different than here in Australia.”
That’s why in times both good and bad, having a strong culture is absolutely key to a business’s ongoing success. And for Lakeba – with a team of 160 spanning the world in places like Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Germany, India, China, the UK, Canada, the US and Nepal, with titles ranging from data scientists to marketers, developers and engineers – it’s more important than ever to be aligned. However, more than words, Giuseppe believes a culture needs to be lived.
“Culture is vitally important, but at the same time, you must ensure it does not become abstract,” he points out. “Actions are louder than words and when defined, but not delivered upon, can become your worst enemy.
“We are a team that is able to speak the most popular languages and write the most advanced code. We are working across time zones, cultural differences and market dynamics. But the one thing we all share is the fact that we are resolute in seizing the opportunities of this rapidly changing world.”
With a commitment to innovation to drive the solutions of tomorrow, it’s no surprise that Lakeba is a strong proponent for diversity in the workplace. Study after study has shown the positive effects diversity has on a company, ranging from improved decision-making to increased wellbeing and elevated creativity and innovation.
“Diversity is absolutely key for us at Lakeba,” Giuseppe stresses. “Why? Well, who uses software? Basically everybody in every culture across the planet. We pride ourselves upon the diversity of nationality, ethnicity, orientation and gender that’s on display in our global workforce. The chair of our board is female, and our teams hail from every continent in the world. We are a truly globally curious business.”
At Lakeba, the culture is collaborative and inclusive, resulting in a highly effective place to work where everyone operates as entrepreneurs to make an impact. They’re encouraged to push the limits and think laterally, never worrying about potentially failing.
“Working with and developing technology products has taught me that there’s no such thing as failure,” Giuseppe smiles. “And leading from this perspective helps me help my team remain healthy, happy and wealthy.”