EMURGO 3.0: Appointing Group COO, Business Unit Executives, and New CTO to Globally Strengthen the Leadership Team


EMURGO Ptd. Ltd. – EMURGO Ptd. Ltd. (“EMURGO”), the official commercial arm and a founding entity of the Cardano blockchain, today announced the appointments of four new senior executives to bolster its global management team.

Rio “Popeye” Inaba has been named Group Chief Operating Officer of EMURGO and will oversee global business operations and strategic growth. Inaba brings more than 25 years of experience in senior leadership roles at multinational conglomerates, where he led digitalization and digitization initiatives. Most recently, Inaba was Chief Innovation Officer of AEON Co., Ltd., Japan’s largest retail conglomerate with over $80 billion in annual revenue. Along with having a keen understanding of the needs of large enterprises, Inaba’s vast experiences and business network will help lead EMURGO to bridge the gap between traditional enterprises and their adoption of Web3 technologies to create more business cases by adopting Cardano.

The other appointments are as follows:

  • Sebastian Zilliacus has been appointed General Manager of Cardano Clan and will oversee a new Cardano community project that will provide the Cardano community with a comprehensive social platform to engage in all things Web3 Cardano. At his most recent positions, Zilliacus was in executive roles at publicly listed companies ZignSec (STO: ZIGN) and Sprinkle Group respectively.
  • Vineeth Bhuvanagiri has been appointed General Manager of EMURGO Fintech and will be responsible for heading EMURGO’s newly established Fintech division. Previously, Bhuvanagiri co-founded Flume Health – a healthcare payments company – and was also an early employee at Paxos where he built their OTC infrastructure and architected their Bankchain platform.
  • Javier Franco has been appointed Chief Technical Officer of EMURGO and will oversee EMURGO’s overall technical solutions and services. Franco has spent most of his career in global IT as a developer and in executive roles. For the last decade, Franco has been extensively involved in blockchain development and previously joined Consensys as one of its key early developers.

“We are thrilled to add a talented team of key executives to reaffirm our long-term commitment to Cardano’s ecosystem and help achieve our vision of driving Cardano’s Web3 adoption with impactful services and solutions. Their collective experiences strengthen our ability to achieve these objectives as it positions us to actively engage more with businesses and the Cardano community, and also increase our product development capabilities to meet the increasing demand for Cardano’s Web3 services,” said EMURGO founder and CEO Ken Kodama.


EMURGO Launches New $100 Million Cardano Ecosystem Investment Vehicle


EMURGO Ptd. Ltd. – EMURGO, the official commercial arm of the Cardano blockchain, today announced the launch of a new Cardano ecosystem investment vehicle to invest into early startup and growth stage companies focused on building socially impactful solutions powered by Cardano.

As wholly-owned subsidiaries of parent company EMURGO Ptd. Ltd., this new Cardano investment vehicle will be composed of two separate entities, EMURGO Africa, and EMURGO Ventures, each with a distinct investment thesis.

EMURGO Africa aims to support more than three hundred regional startups through seed funding and incubation, to ultimately have Cardano’s blockchain adopted as the technological platform standard in Africa for socially impactful solutions.

EMURGO Ventures will focus on other developed markets to facilitate the building of solutions and services on Cardano with a set capital allocation for seed investments into a variety of Cardano-focused startups and middleware solutions companies, including those building decentralized financial services (DeFi), non-fungible token (NFT) projects, blockchain developer education tools, and other decentralized applications.

The integration of smart contracts into Cardano’s blockchain is now set to foster wide innovation of decentralized services and EMURGO’s new investment vehicle through these two entities will support this initiative.

As subsidiary entities of EMURGO – one of the founding members of Cardano – EMURGO Africa and EMURGO Ventures will leverage EMURGO’s deep experience in blockchain solutions deployment and global network of industry partners to provide strategic capital to its portfolio companies, helping to bolster the Cardano ecosystem.

Through its previous partnership with SOSV, EMURGO has made more than ten direct investments into blockchain startups, including API3 – a data service provider for blockchains that has garnered investment from major funds in the blockchain industry.

For its initial launch, EMURGO Africa has announced two major partnerships to rapidly expand the Cardano ecosystem in Africa and utilize the large business networks of its partners.

Adanian Labs, a venture building studio operator in Africa, will partner with EMURGO Africa to support impact driven startups expanding the Cardano ecosystem across the continent.

Adaverse, a Cardano-focused joint accelerator program in Africa with leading blockchain industry accelerator Everest Ventures, will also partner with EMURGO Africa.

For its initial launch, EMURGO Ventures has announced its first seed investment into Milkomeda – a dcSpark sidechain project bridging Cardano and other Layer 1 blockchain protocols that will utilize wrapped ADA (wADA) as an asset.

“We are more focused than ever on accelerating the development of Cardano’s ecosystem with a rich mix of decentralized services catering to a global community that is increasing in overall blockchain awareness. EMURGO is dedicated to meeting this demand by providing the capital and strategic resources necessary for our portfolio companies to scale rapidly and bring new solutions to Cardano,” said EMURGO CEO Ken Kodama.

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK, said: “EMURGO’s investments will help to shape the future of the Cardano ecosystem, a maturing network with a creative and diverse community, growing smart contract capabilities and partnerships across the globe that provide social and financial services utilizing Cardano’s provably-secure technology.”

According to the 2021 Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index, global cryptocurrency adoption has jumped over 880% and is skyrocketing, led by usage of DeFi platforms in emerging markets. It is noted that residents in these markets have increasingly utilized DeFi platforms as the main gateway to accessing cryptocurrencies due to a lack of access to centralized exchanges and traditional financial services.

Projects and companies interested in seed investments and partnerships may go to the respective websites above to apply.