NEM Foundation Q1 ROI Executive Summary
Alexandra Tinsman, President of the NEM Foundation has recorded an explainer video, a link to which can be found here.
Foundation Mission and Focus
The Foundation’s mission is to support adoption and development of the NEM blockchain technology through partner support, contributing code and tools to the platform, and providing education and training to grow the ecosystem.
The focus of the Foundation in 2019 is to support the commercialization and launch of Catapult, the next iteration of the core NEM engine (due in Q3/Q4).
Foundation Return On Investment – ROI
This deck is a high-level recap of the NEM Foundation’s return on investment for operations for Q1 2019. Through a community vote, funds were awarded to the NEM Foundation to meet its broad goals and to implement a new management structure for 2019-2020.
● How did the Foundation spend its funds in Q1?
● What results were achieved from this spending in Q1 and after?
Q1 Funds Spent
Q1 Spend Considerations
Considering the significant challenges we faced in the beginning of 2019, we’re happy to report that the new product-focused organizational structure is thriving and yielding positive results and meaningful contributions to the NEM ecosystem.
Placing Investments right
While Q1 expenses were higher than anticipated due to unforeseen 2018 debt obligations and financial stability concerns during a bear market, the global restructure of Foundation staff and resources helped mitigate potential ruin of the Foundation. It helped us shift gears to put strategic investments in the right areas — specifically Catapult, Sustainability, and Governance.
Proactive measures bringing in seasoned legal, compliance, and human resource teams to navigate the worldwide restructure of 150 staff was also a key part of the transition. Now every Foundation staff and consultant was accounted for, has a service agreement and has gone through KYC compliance.
Over 30 internal policies were drafted and put into place to stabilize operations. Policies including Conflict of Interests, Confidentiality Agreements, Performance Management, Compliance Training and more.
This gave us support to hire strong development teams for our new frontend development studio that would soon work alongside NEM Studios, the backend development house for NEM. Together the NEM Foundation and NEM Studios will co-exist under one matrix Chief Technology Officer.
Pivoting to business development
With development under control, we focused from tech to pivoting to business development. For every single BDperson on staff, we need 1-2 trainers for implementation. But how could we do this with reduced staff?
The solution was to create a centralized scalable training on-ramp with built-in revenue mechanics (with free and premium content) that would provide consistent localized development support 24/7 worldwide. It is set to launch in the Q3/Q4. This meant we needed service providers to help us with projects and BD.
That led to researching and launching the RFP (Request For Proposal) portal. This portal has brought in a strong lineup of new providers, service integrators, and talent to succeed.
RFP portal launched
With the RFP portal launched, we were able to focus on sustainability and revenue. The first big project was auditing the NEM Blockchain Centre in Malaysia. It had significant potential but lacked strategic direction. It was a financial drain on the Foundation.
Jasmine Ng was appointed as a new Director of the NBC. She successfully found a new partner to take over the building lease while also securing key partnerships that turned “free” consulting projects into paying consulting projects.
Here’s the before and after comparison:
|2018 NEM Blockchain Centre||2019 NEM Blockchain Centre|
|Monthly lease rental = 31K MYR per month (~$7,500 USD)||Cancellation of 3-year lease (no obligation to pay remaining
$160,000.00 USD contract)
|No revenue brought into NF during 2018,
No sustainability plan
|$400,000.00 USD in anticipated revenue achieved through consulting projects with $20,000.00 USD received to date|
|Underutilized space due to poor planning for co-working Centre, audit showed ~$100,000 in overcharges during development||Another local co-working space took over our original contract, agreed to keep NEM branding on the building/space and now NF team remains in the space|
|Malaysia carried stigma as an underperforming region||Team restructured for success and embedded into new Foundation roles,
Ivy Fung promoted as lead for training portal alongside David Garcia (former NEM Europe),
Jason Lee and Laura Takenaka are brought
New go-to market strategy
During this time, we also were hyperfocused on the pre-launch, launch and post launch of Catapult. Our website hasn’t been updated since 2017 and a lot has changed in the industry in the past few years.
We knew we needed a brand refresh to be competitive in the marketplace. This led us to contract with David Shaw (NEM Studios as a service provider under our new platform and help refine messaging, positioning, and get a deep understanding of market analysis so we can move forward with a strong go-to-market strategy plan for Catapult.
A steering committee comprised of David Shaw (NEM Studios), Alexandra Tinsman (NEM Foundation), and Nate D’Amico (Tech Bureau) was set up and meets regularly for progress and collaboration on the go-to-market.
Catapult needs more than a backend and frontend tech team to make it come alive. Business development, marketing efforts, and events can sometimes struggle to gain mainstream attention if the messaging around the powerful features of Catapult are isolated to just the ears in the current NEM ecosystem.
Increasing in Public Relations
That’s why Wachsman PR was brought in to make some noise. Wachsman is the PR firm behind some of the biggest brands in tech, including Ripple and Dash. They’ve been essential to helping Foundation and Ventures level up and shape the right narrative around the powerhouse that is known as Catapult. You are starting to see the effects of their efforts now.
Sourcing fresh talents
Another investment of the Foundation is in talent. We need to invest in talent to attract, retain and foster good people to push our platform forward. The NEM project was born from the community and has evolved into a robust full-featured blockchain engine that has the ability to disrupt many industries.
As the NEM tech has matured, so has our culture and demands on our staff. The blockchain and cryptocurrency field can be a challenge to work in. It demands being comfortable with uncertainty, volatility, speculation, unknowns in regulations, and a constant demand for change. It can lead to burnout and also make it hard to find work/life balance. During Q1, we didn’t just do a financial audit but we also had to do a talent audit.
Did we have the talent mix to succeed?
For the leadership team, we launched performance reviews and had a good understanding of what mix of skills and personalities would be needed to succeed in the new structure. We had a few Council members depart but we also added new leadership that has had a positive change on our culture and performance.
The Foundation focuses on the sum of the many moving parts in NEM and we pivot based on the needs and opportunities within the ecosystem. This first step in Q1 was a big one.
Thank you for your continued support, NEM community and Core Team.
High-level Major Results
|No.||High-level Major Results||Details|
Development Studio Established
|02||Catapult Roadmap and Support|
|03||Global Operations Established
(HR, Legal, IT and Compliance)
|05||Business Development Restructure|
|06||Japan Strategy Support||
|07||Blockchain Industry Lobbying|
|08||Marketing and Brand Management||
|10||NEM Blockchain Centre||
|11||New Project Management||
|12||Learning Portal (Codename: NEM X)||
|13||Leadership Changes + New By-Laws||
For details on monthly progress, check out the 2019 Foundation monthly updates HERE in the NEM Forums.
NEM Foundation is proud to deliver to the community on our promise of transparency and sustainable fiscal management. We look forward to providing more updates in the future.
NEM Foundation is changing, and for the better. We are grateful to have the community as partners.