INLEA, Kantox’s first client: visionaries or just reckless?
Four years on, Ivan Lopez and Natalia Galan are still not sure whether they were being visionary or simply a little bit reckless when they went from being Kantox’s mentors to the company’s first client. Through the Link to Start programme, INLEA Foundation watched on as Kantox “the idea” became Kantox “the company”. And what better way to back the company than to be its first client?
You were Kantox’s first client. Were you visionaries or a bit reckless?
Good question! Well, rather than either visionary or reckless, Natalia and I believe that we were more “opportunists”. Given that Kantox was being mentored by the INLEA Foundation’s Link to Start programme and that the company’s services suited our operational needs, we had nothing to lose. The idea of “breaking new ground” and becoming Kantox’s first client was really attractive to both of us. We thought that the business model was very straightforward, cheaper, and that the people who were leading the company were completely trustworthy. For these reasons, we couldn’t say no.
When and why did you start to work with Kantox?
We began our journey with Kantox in 2011, and we’ve been loyal clients ever since! Our foundation was mentoring the company through the Link to Start programme and [co-founder] Toni Rami was constantly singing Kantox’s praises, so we were really keen on starting to work with them and testing whether what Toni was promising on savings and efficiency was true. Also, the type of services that Kantox offers fits our operations perfectly. At INLEA Foundation, we need a currency exchange service pretty much on a constant basis.
The Kantox founders consider INLEA Foundation director Sonia Mulero to be the company’s “mother”. Is this responsibility a heavy load to carry?
Haha, well, we’d be lying if we said no, but the truth is that Kantox has been flying solo for a long time now. For INLEA Group, we look at it as a source of great pride to have actively collaborated in the building of Kantox rather than as a responsibility. Kantox is an example of a successful start-up. New companies starting up should do all they can to learn from Kantox. We remember how Kantox began making a name for itself in the international finance landscape, gradually getting more press coverage for its original approach and the increasing volume exchanged over its platform. INLEA appeared near the end of some news pieces on Kantox as the company’s mentor. Kantox has made a name for itself, it’s carving out a place in history, and it has certainly stolen a little piece of Sonia’s heart.
Do you remember if you had any doubts when executing a trade with Kantox?
Erm…, well, it’s our policy to always be honest, so… In the beginning, our transactions had to be crossed with a counterparty. Toni had to review whether or not our needs could be “matched” with another client. I remember that, on a regular basis, we crossed our needs with a company called Frutas del Pacífico (Fruits of the Pacific in English). Ever since, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of getting to know someone from this particular company, because we helped one another mutually back then. Anyway, to get to your question, on occasion it seemed like our currency exchange needs may not be completely met, but Toni always found a solution. Therefore, the small doubts we had at the beginning quickly dissipated.
What do you think of Kantox’s vision of creating a fairer, more transparent financial system?
It’s a very ambitious goal, but we do believe sincerely that it is possible. We have seen Kantox grow to what it is today. For this reason, we believe it is only Toni and Philippe who know how far they can go and, if their aim is to make the financial system fairer and more transparent, I’m sure that they will achieve it!
When did you realise that Kantox would be a successful company?
Ermmm, we believed in Kantox from the beginning, but I remember fondly when Philippe called me to say that the Wall Street Journal wanted to interview some of their clients about Kantox! I don’t think I need to say anything else! We also want to highlight the work done by the incredible team that makes up Kantox. It’s clear that Toni and Philippe have surrounded themselves with the right people to achieve their dream.
Where do you see Kantox in the future?
Well, first of all I would like to congratulate Kantox for reaching the scarcely believable figure of $2 billion in volume transacted on their platform in record time. Right now it’s difficult to see just how far they can go. I think that they’ll reach their goal, however lofty it might be. Sincerely, my opinion is that in a few more years, thanks to Kantox, we will be looking back on a paradigm-shifting watershed moment in the world of international finance.