Building a Future on Blockchain
A Q&A With Nuco Co-Founder Kesem Frank

Nuco co-founder and COO Kesem Frank and his team are passionate about blockchain’s potential: “We asked ourselves, do we believe this has the potential to change the world — spoiler alert, we do — and what do we want to do about it?”

Founded in mid-2016, Nuco is a Toronto-based startup that provides blockchain infrastructure for enterprise markets. The brainchild of three former Deloitte employees, Nuco is preparing to take on the international fintech scene.

We talked to Kesem Frank about Nuco’s roots and the company’s place in the future of digital infrastructure.

TechPORTFOLIO: Could you tell us a bit about how Nuco got started?

Kesem Frank: Nuco is actually the continuation of work we started over 24 months ago, with our other founders Matthew Spoke and Jin Tu. Pursuing the blockchain is a real opportunity domain for enterprise. But two years ago, it was much more focused around the community and public chains, stuff you would read about if you followed things like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

But there was not a lot of consensus work — or even thought, to be honest — around distributed ledgers such as blockchain, and how they could play a more significant role in powering services and functionality in the enterprise sense.

That was the beginning of putting together the framework of why enterprise should care about this emerging domain.  

TechPORTFOLIO: If a layperson from outside of the fintech world asked you, “What is Nuco’s product?” how would you answer?

Kesem Frank: What Nuco does is significant — we believe even fundamental — but pretty simple. Our product is blockchain networks that are customized and dedicated per use case.

Nuco sets up a blockchain made for enterprise clients to be able to do truly peer-to-peer, transactions that don’t rely on intermediaries. Not just in the financial sense, but any interaction or communication between two stakeholders, and in real time.

As far as we’ve had a civilization, we’ve had a challenge as a species to be able to say who owns what. The approach for millennia has always been: write it down and put it somewhere secure.

The problem with databases in knowing who owns what — and you can put firewalls around them and try to segregate them from the outside world — is that it assumes we trust our counterparts. We’re forced to trust another party implicitly when we rely on their data.

Bitcoin is built on the blockchain. It answers how to move value from point A to point B without having to know my counterpart, without having to trust my counterpart, and without having to go through an intermediary. There’s no such thing as a Bitcoin bank, right? You can just move value directly.

TechPORTFOLIO: What’s your relationship to the London, Ontario startup scene?

Kesem Frank: We’re based in Toronto, but we have very good relations with Western University and the London region. We had a team of five MBAs from Western’s Ivey Business School who were part of a project with us for almost four months. We absolutely see London as a top-tier source of talent.