7 Questions with Robert Alcorn, Clearpool’s Co-Founder and CEO
Robert Alcorn is the Co-Founder and CEO of Clearpool, a DeFi project he started earlier this year, solving one of the most significant problems facing DeFi borrowers — overcollateralization.
A CFA Charterholder and holder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Fintech Certificate in Future Commerce, Robert’s career spans over 20+ years, ten years as an entrepreneur, and 12 years in global financial markets.
Today, we ask him questions to better understand his background and why he decided to launch Clearpool.
1. Can you give us a brief history of Clearpool?
The idea for Clearpool came up during a conversation with a friend and ex-colleague, Alessio Quaglini, the CEO of Hex Trust and also a Clearpool Co-Founder. We go back many years, having worked together at the same bank, and realized we shared an interest in blockchain and crypto back in 2016.
Earlier this year, we were talking about DeFi, and we conceived an early idea on how to solve the problem of overcollateralization.
A few days later, I left my job as a trader and immersed myself in building Clearpool.
I’ve worked in many areas of the traditional credit markets and quickly realized that DeFi has the potential to radically improve the landscape through which debt can be issued and traded.
The idea evolved, and we are now building a decentralized capital markets ecosystem. We still solve the problem of overcollateralization, one of the major pain points for borrowers. And, we also provide a lot more optionality for lenders through a tokenized credit and risk management system.
We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift that has the potential to make waves not just in DeFi but also attract significant flows from TradFi institutions.
2. What are your roles and responsibilities as CEO for Clearpool?
Like most startups — a bit of everything!
In the beginning, I was lucky enough to have some great advisors helping me, Alessio, who I mentioned earlier, and Sam Ameen, also from Hex Trust. Their help allowed me to focus on designing the blueprint for Clearpool and writing the whitepaper.
I also recruited Jakob Kronbichler, our CCO, quite early on, along with Pavel Ivanov, our CTO, and a great team of developers.
My time most recently has been spent pitching to investors, as we recently closed our private sale. My focus now has turned towards our public sale and exchange listings, and we will be making some exciting announcements soon on this.
I like to get my hands dirty and am happy to do whatever it takes, no matter how menial the task. There is always something to be done!
3. How big is your team, and how or where do you operate?
Currently, I’m based in Singapore. We have two team members in Hong Kong and our development team of five, including Pavel, is in Moscow.
We are growing fast and expect to make additional hires in the coming weeks and months.
4. What were you doing before setting up Clearpool?
I was a repo trader at a bank. For the last four years, I had been doing that, where I built the APAC sales and trading desk from the ground up into a multi-billion dollar franchise.
Before that, I held positions in Asset and Liability Management and Fixed Income/Money Market sales. Prior to banking, I was a Senior Broker, also in Fixed Income Markets.
I have worked in the UK, the US, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
5. Why did you decide to switch from traditional to decentralized finance (DeFi)?
I have been interested in how technology can help remove centralized intermediaries from financial markets and services, making them more inclusive, open, transparent, and efficient. So DeFi was naturally very interesting to me.
I have had a strong interest in crypto since 2015 and have been trading it since then. I’d been looking for an opportunity to make a move into the space for a while, and, in the end, I created an opportunity myself with Clearpool.
6. What have been your biggest challenges since dedicating your time to this project?
Crypto and DeFi move at a breakneck pace, and it doesn’t sleep! It is refreshing to see and be a part of, especially after spending a long time in traditional financial institutions where the pace can be much slower.
Finding the time to fit everything in and meet deadlines is challenging, but at the same time, enjoyable. The sense of achievement is hard to beat.
7. Why is Clearpool the best?
Our team. We have the perfect mix of expertise from TradFi, crypto, FinTech, and some fantastic advisors we work with closely.
Clearpool solves multiple problems in DeFi; we introduce new concepts to solve these problems, allowing for further innovation.
We have great ideas and a clear vision, but we have the team to execute it most importantly. I am very proud of the team we have built at Clearpool, and I know I have got the right people around me to deliver this vision and scale our business.
Stay in touch with Robert Alcorn, follow him on Twitter at @Rob8830
Clearpool is a decentralized capital markets ecosystem where institutions can borrow uncollateralized liquidity, and LPs get attractive rewards and risk management solutions. Clearpool introduces several new concepts to DeFi, with the idea of single borrower liquidity pools and tokenized credit giving rise to sophisticated risk management and hedging solutions. Clearpool is revolutionizing debt capital markets; a paradigm shift in how institutions borrow uncollateralized liquidity is upon us.