Founder's Story: Rob Zwink | CTO
A conversation with SafeChain Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Robert Zwink
What’s important about the work you’re doing at SafeChain?
We've worked with dozens of title offices, we've sat with title office employees, we've interviewed title office employees, we've allowed title offices to shape the direction and the strategy of SafeChain.
One of the things we’ve noticed is that they truly care about their customer. They’re excited about that moment when a person gets the key to their house for the first time. We've watched those celebrations in the lobby as folks walk out the door.
What Safechain is bringing to a title office is an additional level of security so those customers never have to worry about a criminal ruining their purchase. And in every way we can, we're improving the experience those customers have when they buy a home.
What’s your background?
I started in technology at a very young age, and graduated high school with an aptitude in computer programming. That was in the time of the dot com excitement, so from the beginning I’ve had a real enthusiasm and passion for technology in all its forms. Because of that, I've been fortunate to have a job from very early on. I'm happy that I get paid for doing what I do. I enjoy programming, I enjoy the challenge of it and staying on top of new technologies.
Why did you help start SafeChain?
When blockchain hit my radar, I was working at a giant bank in the US. I started thinking about how to apply blockchain to the problems that I faced in my day-to-day job. In that analysis, it became clear to me that a logical use for this technology was property and property transactions.
I met [fellow founders] Chris and Tony through Rev1 Ventures, a local accelerator. I found that we have very complementary skill sets. We met many Wednesday evenings and Saturdays to talk about how this could be a business. As we sat down and looked at the current industry as a whole, we were able to identify ways we could solve many of its problems, immediately and in the future.
Why is SafeChain such a good fit for you?
I've worked in large scale enterprise situations for close to 20 years. I've seen some of the largest deposit systems and some of the largest transactional applications in the United States. These systems process an extremely high volume of data messages, and support operations that require near real-time access to rapidly changing data.
I helped to tune and develop them. I've also identified and helped solve some of the most pressing problems in those systems related to security and information management.
The real estate industry is itself a huge transactional system. We’ve examined the number of potential roles between a buyer and seller. At last count it was forty. When you think about creating a computer program that could represent that complete system, you're looking at putting together different technologies from different places. It's not one technology, it's many. It’s like assembling a puzzle with many pieces.
I’m bringing my experience in assembling, optimizing, and troubleshooting complex systems to the real estate industry. My job is to identify the type of gaps that SafeChain can fill by applying blockchain and best practices to make the overall transaction as smooth as possible.
What excites you about coming to work each day?
First, we have some of the best talent on the team that I've ever worked with in my career. Second, I have the rare opportunity to apply a technology that's been academic and theoretical for a number of years. With this amazing team, I believe we have everything in place to take the technology to the next level.