10 Nov Meet Simon, our CEO
The entire team is thrilled to have Simon on board and leading modum.io. We have gotten to know him since he was appointed as CEO as of October 1st and we are delighted for our community and token holders to get to know him as well. Starting November 30th, he will provide a periodic update on our progress to keep the community up to date.
Simon was born in Aargau, Switzerland. He studied mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics and distributed system control at ETH Zurich in the Autonomous Systems Lab and the Institute of Dynamic Systems & Control.
During his studies he worked on a number of projects: a ballbot capable of balancing and driving on a single sphere, a cube that uses a distributed control system to stabilize itself on one of its edges or corners, and a distributed flight array consisting of multiple autonomous ground vehicles that randomly dock with their peers and then are able to drive and even fly in coordination.
During his studies, Simon completed an internship at ABB in Mannheim, Germany, and went on to lead the ETH spin-off Skybotix as CEO. Skybotix designed camera-based sensing and collision avoidance solutions for drones to enable industrial inspection and surveying of infrastructure. After just 2.5 years in operation GoPro acquired the start-up. At GoPro, Simon held the position of product and technology manager for aerial platforms. As a part of the management team in Switzerland he focused on integrating and scaling the team while providing product management for parts of GoPro’s aerial products.
We asked Simon a few questions to help explain to our community about his motivation to join modum.io, what his interests in IoT devices and blockchain technology are, and to comment on modum’s milestones over the next year.
After several years in a corporate environment, how excited are you to be involved in the early days of a company again? What made modum.io stand out as an opportunity for you?
I am very excited to be in a young start-up again. I love the energy of bringing innovative thinkers with different backgrounds together to make a project happen successfully. Since I am coming from a robotics background, which often deals with designing low-cost sensor systems, modum.io is right up my alley. What really excites me though, is modum’s current position: the company is well positioned to execute a system that leverages an incredible breadth of technology, it’s a big moment for modum.io and I am proud to be a part of it.
You have a lot of experience with developing sensing hardware. The projects you have taken on, from ETH to GoPro, suggest you are really interested in developing mass-produced sensory systems. How do you plan to leverage this experience and interest at modum.io?
I really enjoy the challenge of designing sensory solutions and processes that deliver high-quality and beneficial data for a specific application. As with many embedded systems, one needs to find smart solutions that deliver the desired performance at a reasonable price given the significant constraints in terms of cost, space, and energy.
In addition, creating & marketing reliable localization solutions using low-cost sensors is a challenge I became very familiar with during my time at Skybotix and GoPro. Localization is becoming more and more important for sensors, as it is desirable for these devices to know where they are at any point of their journey. This provides information for example to determine the responsible party of the shipment or to gain analytic insights about the efficiency of the supply chain.
When it comes to manufacturability and managing the supply chain of such products this opens up another set of challenges that I know about from first-hand experience in a startup as well as from a large-scale corporate perspective.
Last but not least, coming from the drone sector I am also familiar with developing technology in a field where regulatory guidelines are still being established and where standards and best practices are yet to be formed. Building modum’s sensor technology in line with established pharma regulations, while driving new standards in crypto-hardware and blockchain technology is an opportunity for us to become a real pioneer in the global supply chain.
The integration of IoT and blockchain technology made modum’s product stand out for you. Will advancing blockchain technology be a fundamental part of modum’s vision under your leadership?
Blockchain technology is at the core of modum’s USPs. The benefits that we can provide using blockchains go above and beyond data integrity. The distributed nature of the blockchain and its ability to automate interactions between non-trusting parties is at the core of modum system and a key enabler for fulfilling our vision to automate the execution of contractual obligations based on real-world and authenticated sensor data. modum was one of the first to develop a data acquisition application for Ethereum’s smart contracts and I am eager to continue to grow modum as a blockchain enabler, providing an interface between the technology and real-world use cases.
It’s clear that you have big ideas about opportunities in tech, how do you see modum’s operations unfolding? Are your ambitions around development in line with the milestones modum.io has laid out?
modum’s “pharma first” strategy is very focused on solving a specific problem quickly, by bringing our product to market. I’m convinced that this is the right approach: it requires customer-centric product development and allows us to see related problems that our roadmap needs to address. Subsequently, a milestone and pilot-based approach makes a lot of sense. I think that the milestones we have laid out in our white paper indicate a clear and ambitious approach to deploying the technology and creating the best possible solution for our customers. This approach has been designed to allow an accelerated market entry in pharma with a targeted offering, while enabling us to take on additional use cases step-by-step. It also aligns well with the development of a larger vision for the modum system, one that uses a distributed IoT platform to solve a real breadth of use cases in different verticals and along the entire supply chain.
Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that we don’t already know?
Good question! A lot of people browsing my LinkedIn profile are asking about my time in the Swiss Army, when I served as a Plane Captain. In this role, at the age of twenty, I was responsible for the ground maintenance and flight deck operations of fighter planes, handing over the plane to the pilot and providing the final ok that the plane is ready for take-off. This early exposure to cutting-edge technology and safety-critical operations sparked my passion for aerial robotic systems and taught me vital lessons in terms for taking responsibility, ownership and getting my hands dirty to get the job done. Working in this unusual environment and in very diverse teams was a great challenge and great fun at the same time!