Similar to most successful entrepreneurs, Adam Jiwan aspired to build his own businesses from a very young age. Attracted to the sophisticated challenge of building a company from the ground up, he incorporated his very first business, Ground Rule Double, at only 12 years old. However, he was acutely aware of the fact that successful enterprises were rarely built by one man or woman alone, so he placed an early focus on the expansion and management of his professional network. And rightfully so, as his business partners and mentors throughout the years have been essential factors in nearly all of his professional successes.
This holds especially true when it comes to his current role as the CEO and Chairman of Spring Labs, one of the fastest growing fintech blockchain projects of 2018. Adam Jiwan met his first Spring Labs co-founder, and current General Counsel, Anna Fridman, through his investment with the Chicago-based real estate investment and management company Pangea Properties, founded by Anna’s husband, Al Goldstein.
Pangea, named by Forbes as one of America’s Most Promising Companies in 2015, brought about a tremendous amount of success for those involved, and together, the three quickly developed a close relationship that led to Adam’s eventual hand in becoming a seed investor and founding board member of Al’s next startup, Avant, a company he co-founded just four years after Pangea Properties.
Avant’s success — now the fourth largest online lending platform — would subsequently place Adam in the path of his other Co-Founder at Spring Labs, John Sun, who also acts as the President and Chief Product Officer of the blockchain technology-driven startup. John, a member of Inc. Magazine’s 2015 30 Under 30 list, first met Al as one of his interns at Enova, an online financial services company.
The Birth of Spring Labs
It began at Avant, the lending platform and financial technology company that, since 2012, has served over 600,000 customers and originated nearly $5 billion in loans. Through Adam’s work with Avant, and his history as a co-founder of Future Finance, a leading European millennial finance company, he, John, Anna and Al began to have increasingly frequent discussions surrounding the security issues and misaligned incentives involving the companies that sustain today’s credit and identity ecosystem.
Personal sagas of credit bureau breakdowns and tales of the inefficient systems underpinning it all were far too common among fellow industry executives. Reason being, Consumers have little to no control over the use or security of their data due to the traditional use of centralized parties, but most importantly, consumers are left entirely at the whim of their respective financial institution’s actions and are rarely given any knowledge as to where and how their data is shared or managed.
Because of this, Adam, Al, Anna & John saw a shining opportunity to update, secure, clarify, and streamline a credit and identity ecosystem that was frankly not built for our modern economy, and determined that blockchain technology was the perfect tool to disassemble the cornucopia of issues surrounding it all.
All of those harrowing and gruesome credit bureau dogfights, coupled with a strong need to advance real change had intersected. Here, Spring Labs was born.
Building Spring Labs
The network is being designed to allow financial institutions to securely and privately exchange credit and identity data with one another. The Spring Protocol will improve the cost-effectiveness and accuracy in verifying consumer identities, fighting fraud, and underwriting financial products. Existing barriers to data sharing will be eliminated through the reduction of competitive sensitivities and the construction of better incentive models. These fundamental changes will encourage the inclusion of data sources that don’t participate in the credit ecosystem today, including telecom providers, asset managers, insurance companies, and GSEs, further enhancing and fortifying the profiles of those involved. The net effect is a credit and identity network designed for the modern world of consumer finance, with greater security, transparency, and cost efficiency than solutions that have existed in the past.
From initial architects to early investors, to the founding advisory board, nearly everyone initially assembled for the budding Spring Labs project had backed, built, or advised on successful projects from each of the three founder’s pasts.
“When you’re fortunate enough to find success alongside people you like, trust and work beautifully with, you don’t turn your back on follow-up opportunities that present themselves.” — Adam Jiwan, CEO, Spring Labs
This rinse-and-repeat method of team and product building lies at the core of Spring Labs’ Headquarters in Chicago and Los Angeles and serves as the foundation for what’s shaping up to be one of Adam’s best ventures, to-date.