Chris Larsen is CEO and Co-founder of Ripple Labs, creators of Ripple, an open-source, distributed payment protocol. Mr. Larsen also cofounded and served as CEO of Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, and E-LOAN, a publicly traded online lender.
During his tenure at E-LOAN, he pioneered the open access to credit scores movement by making E-LOAN the first company to show consumers their FICO scores. Mr. Larsen also played a pivotal role in the passage of the strongest consumer financial privacy law in the nation and was hailed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier as being, "critical to the success of the bill." Mr. Larsen serves at the Board and Advisory levels at numerous companies and organizations including: Progreso Financiero, Betable, CreditKarma, and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Mr. Larsen holds an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University and a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University, where he was named the 2004 Alumnus of the Year.
What's Your NativeAdVice:
How did you get into the Tech industry?
I have long felt that technology offered a better way for financial services and enabled my life’s mission to democratize finance. I founded ELOAN because I realized that technology could offer a more transparent and affordable way for consumers to secure a mortgage. That arc continued with the launch of Prosper, the first P2P lender in the U.S., and its mission to directly connect people to borrow and lend money. However, I realized that consumer-facing companies could only go so far, without better underlying financial infrastructure. And now with Ripple Labs, I am focused on using technology to produce a more inclusive and modernized global payments system.
Tell us about Ripple. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
Ripple was designed to power an Internet of Value, wherein money moves as instantly, freely and securely as information moves today. This mirrors today’s Internet of Knowledge and will result in a much more inclusive and efficient financial system.
Ripple employs a global network and distributed approach to create new efficiencies in financial infrastructure, enabling funds to settle in real-time in any currency. This was simply not possible before because the world’s financial infrastructure is fragmented, and disparate systems do not easily interoperate. Ripple deploys modern infrastructure for financial institutions and market makers, forming the foundation of the Internet of Value.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Ripple's success?
Ripple improves efficiency of payments for financial institutions, which ultimately pass on benefits to their customers. So our work with these partners around the world is key and an indicator of adoption. To date, we have seen tremendous momentum with announced deployments by a number of financial institutions around the world, including Earthport, Fidor Bank, Cross River Bank, and CBW Bank. Western Union, Royal Bank of Scotland, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac and others have also said they are exploring or experimenting with Ripple.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
There is tremendous interest in distributed ledger technology by banks today. Financial institutions are becoming comfortable with the security, compliance and reputational aspects of working with these technologies. This gives Ripple a tremendous opening in the market to secure new partners and customers around the world.
Ripple brings new efficiencies to global financial settlement.
Your greatest success as Founder/CEO of Ripple? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
Helping build a culture that’s disciplined about serving customers while being open and inventive about the future.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Cut the life boats. When you decide to launch a company or idea, it requires your complete commitment to success. If you are always hedging and leaving yourself an “out” then you will not hit your mark.
Describe the ideal experience using Ripple.
Large and small banks use Ripple to transfer payments around the world in real-time in any currency, at the lowest possible cost. That is very different from a non-Ripple powered transaction, which is expensive to complete and can take hours to days to finalize. Banks using Ripple will realize incredible speed and cost efficiencies across their entire spectrum of transactions, and so will their customers.
How do you motivate your employees?
We are fortunate in that Ripple Labs has assembled an incredible team of world-class cryptographic, payments and security experts. They are all passionate professionals excited by the prospect of changing the world of finance as we know it. Of course, food, fun and workplace perks help make the day-to-day work experience even better.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Fries and a beer
What literature is on your bed stand?
Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least
Role model - business and personal?
Hank Greenberg, Steve Wynn, Denzel Washington
These guys are all in for the long haul.
Arduino programming with my son
Favorite travel destination?
Grand canyon loop thru Southern Utah and Northern Arizona in an RV.
What's next for Ripple?
We are constantly rolling out new features and upgrades to Ripple, and announcing new partners or customers. You’ll see more of the same over the coming weeks and months, all in support of transforming the global financial system.