From an early age I aspired to be an entrepreneur and it was after university when I worked at IBM that I saw myself involved in technology. It was also where I learned the importance of relationship building, helping people and about trust.
Years later a profound experience changed my life and understanding of people and communities. I had an opportunity to visit Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai. This is the slum that appeared in Slum Dog Millionaire. The community of 2 million people were fully engaged; many were entrepreneurs. People didn’t solicit money rather they were proud to offer many recycled products and services. They worked together to assist each other. The community had a school for their children who wore uniforms. There was no government intervention; they had to help themselves. That inspiring moment motivated me to work with the underserved and with communities/ecosystems in general.
Trade is an imperative for communities to flourish and payments are a necessity. When the internet took hold so did payment innovations. For over 25 years I have worked on new types of payment solutions; the most game changing by far has been Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. This disruptive technology not only democratizes payments, but it also empowers communities to thrive. Blockchain being a unique database facilitates commerce in a trust less manner; meaning trust is not an issue. The attributes of a public Blockchain; decentralized, immutable, consensus driven, and encrypted data enable entities/individuals to transact confidently. Consequently, relationships are established, and ecosystems are generated.
I was fortunate to immerse myself in Blockchain as a Global Blockchain Lead for Accenture in San Francisco several years ago, accelerating G2000 clients’ understanding of the applicability and opportunities using this technology. I spearheaded the due diligence on Ripple where Accenture subsequently made a significant investment. I was recognized as one of Payment Source’s 2017 Most Influential Women in Payments for my work in Blockchain and I co-authored many papers on the subject.
I later became the CEO of an investment firm called Pegasus FinTech who invested in early stage blockchain companies assisting them with compliant initial coin offering (ICO). A compliant ICO was unique given that we worked with the Gibraltar Exchange. That year was a turbulent time for Crypto as the majority of the ICO’s were considered non-compliant in the US and therefore companies came to Pegasus Fintech given our approach.
Post Pegasus I was an advisor to Hard Yaka, a very large fintech family office in Silicon Valley. The family office invests in seed and Series A with companies who generally develop payment, identity and blockchain based solutions. I was the CEO of one of Hard Yaka’s company’s Yaka Labs which developed a digital wallet for globalid another Hard Yaka company.
I joined True North Impact as a general partner to leverage my experience from Silicon Valley. This investment firm provides an ESG focused trading algorithm called TrueAlpha. In 2021 TrueAlpha’s financial performance exceeded S&P and the CO2 saved also exceeds S&P 500. In addition, the firm has a Venture Fund focused on Digital Health and Wellness. With the Venture Fund, typical investments are Series A with placements from $1-3M.
Besides True North Impact, I serve on the boards of Cambiatus and Commit Good. Each company leverages blockchain platforms, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO’s), non fungible tokens(NFT’s) and Cryptocurrencies to address the underserved in LATAM, Africa, and North America. Cambiatus recognized the need that communities had when the world was facing a crisis and fiat currency was scarce. They helped multiple communities using social/crypto currency to facilitate trade and continue with their livelihood. Commit Good is resolving the challenge charities have with shortage of volunteers and donor fatigue using NFT’s for rewards.
Over these last 7 years, I have witnessed the evolution of new financial rails and organizational models using blockchain, resulting in economic, social, and political implications. The potential to be globally inclusive means more opportunities and a healthy prosperous society. When I consider companies to invest in, I focus on the team’s experience and results, who resides in their ecosystem and the contributions they have made as people. I hope I have influenced new generations of entrepreneurs to think and make positive contributions in whatever they do and that they imbibe trust, empathy and are willing to take risks.
Prior to blockchain, I worked extensively in the US, India, the UK, Canada, and Latin America. As the CEO of a FinTech software company, I led the company’s transformation to an electronic payment’s specialist, doubling revenues and tripling stock value. Clients included Visa Inc., Visa Europe, and First Data. While based in Silicon Valley, Diana was featured in Dataquest’s Oct 2007 issue as one of the top IT women in India.
I am a frequent speaker at Global Investor Conference, have served as a mentor for Singularity University in Silicon Valley, guest lecturer at UC Berkeley on Blockchain and sat on the Advisory Board for the University of Toronto where I was a recipient of the President’s Arbor Award. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto.