Security Token Group: Pioneer in Digitizing Capital Markets with Tokenization
Herwig Konings is a passionate fintech enthusiast, who is also a pioneer in the security token industry. This Belgium-born serial entrepreneur is a graduate of the University of Miami. He is the founder partner and CEO of Security Token Group (STG), an organization dedicated to helping enterprises, asset managers, fund directors, investors, and financial institutions in leveraging the benefits of Security Tokens through consulting, media and data services, and tokenized fund products. He is now looking to disrupt the trillion-dollar capital markets with ‘a new wall street without walls.’ He speaks on an array of topics in an interview. Excerpts:
Conception of STG
Herwig says that capital markets have faced little disruption since they were created. “Wall Street has built a moat around this industry and new technologies threaten their status quo. Back in 2017, I had the opportunity to advise one of the first security token offerings in history by using a regulated ICO (Initial Coin Offering) model that successfully raised over $7M for a startup in Miami where I am based out of. That model became known as a Security Token Offering (STO), one of the first to ever launch.”
STG- Service Offerings
Herwig anticipates that investment banks and stock exchanges are going to become completely digitized; record keeping, distributing dividends, voting, and trading will all be done via the web and instantaneously. “This will connect capital markets around the world and usher them into the 21st century.” He explains that STG began primarily offering consulting services as Security Token Advisors. The firm is a premiere consulting company helping issuers, investors, and managers leverage security tokens within their business. Since inception, STG has also developed a large audience following its Security Token Show weekly podcast and price discovery tool ‘STOmarket.com’.
The Blockchain Journey
Before founding Security Token Group, Herwig had started an investor compliance company for online investment portals. “I was also actively involved in the Miami startup ecosystem managing the Miami Venture Capital Association and through both organizations I was exposed to blockchain technology. The stars aligned for me and as a result I was lucky to be one of the first people in this whole industry.” He explains how he has first-hand information on organizations that need to do a deep-dive evaluation of where blockchain technology can give them a competitive advantage and create new access to capital.
A passionate entrepreneur, Herwig leads the company with transparency, empathy, and energy. “Our culture has built a foundation around loyalty, trust, and learning, which creates an atmosphere of work hard AND play hard – because I believe relaxing and fostering relationships and ideas can be just as important as getting the job done.”
Resilient, Visionary and a Passionate Technologist
“Based on the number of times I’ve been told I’m one of the happiest people they’ve ever met, I would describe myself as an innate optimist with a dash of pragmatism and creativity. This leads me to be very passionate about what I do and am often unbothered by any problems headed my way. There isn’t anything that isn’t simply a challenge to overcome. It’s important to not get lost in the little things and instead remember the big picture.”
Herwig urges young leaders to learn to love failure. “Take it out on a date. Play with it. Fall in love. Failure is not the enemy, it’s a tool and an insight. It’s often those who embrace failure the most that end up succeeding the most” he chuckles.
The Success Mantra
Notes the enthusiast, “We don’t like to frame things in an A or B option. There is typically a way to get both done. And as my business partner, Kyle Sonlin, likes to say, don’t let perfect get in the way of great. Many entrepreneurs spend too much time fine-tuning when they should be releasing and selling. We also take after the ‘Day 1’ mentality from Amazon and believe in seeking the truth, not being right. This creates a startup culture driven on data and by hustle.”
Noting that blockchain is still a small industry, Herwig says that this means everyone is one degree from someone you know or can easily get to know via the endless crypto communities that exist on every social platform. “Furthermore, building a community of your own is one the best marketing moves a blockchain startup can make” he signs off.