Innovator

Gabino Roche

CEO and Founder, Saphyre

After navigating from a failed dot.com startup to a wait-your-turn-which-may-never-come corporate environment early in his career, Gabino Roche decided he needed to differentiate himself professionally and pursue his interest in Agile, a type of product development methodology that builds software incrementally.

“I realized I needed to do ‘Gabino Inc.,’” he said, about his change in mindset.

That decision led to a stint at McKinsey, where he built Agile expertise and then applied it to the financial services industry, which he joined at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. Mr. Roche’s skills were in demand, as institutions were looking to save money, improve efficiency, and bring products to market fast.

Two areas of focus in particular were “know your customer” and “anti-money laundering paperwork which were slowing down business. Significant customers like large-asset managers found both procedures onerous and repetitive, believing that service providers should try harder to make such processes less cumbersome.

Mr. Roche visualized the solution and founded Saphyre, a fintech startup that digitizes institutional onboarding transactions (email, phone, faxes and spreadsheets) and saves all data and documents to expedite future onboarding events. Saphyre’s platform uses Artificial intelligence to match identifiers across all trading transactions. Existing accounts can also be digitized, to allow for ongoing maintenance. A version is planned for private wealth.

“I learned professional humility by attempting different startups,” he said. “Failure can teach you a lot. When you go through a lot of mini-failures, it allows you to be ready for the macro wins.”

— Deborah Nason