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Timothy Vasko

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Finaeos: Entrepreneurship, Equality & Access

July 1, 2015 11:37

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During President Obama's first election I said to my son, who was just old enough to vote in the United States, "he's taking on a mess in that country, let's see how he pulls it off..." That was nearly eight years ago.

Today, in my opinion, President Obama has masterfully made many of the changes the nation has needed. His latest push supporting the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on equality in gay marriage is a capstone to a tough job – but one well done. Politics and all policies aside (which I do not pretend to speak upon with authority nor seek agreement on), in the realms of finance, health care, innovation, and access- President Obama has left an indelible mark on the nation, and in my opinion it has undoubtedly been for the better. Of that I am certain - I speak with first hand knowledge and conviction.

There can be no denying that many sectors in the U.S. were a mess after decades of failed policy and approach – in particular finance and health care. The economy was decimated - I saw it coming 18 years ago, when I immigrated to Canada. Untold times during the last few years people have asked me, "how did you know?” It was obvious to me, that the fraudulent practices some of the biggest players in the economy employed, could not last and would not lead to anything but economic instability, massive debt and recession. I had experienced first hand the impact of one of these massive corporations on the brink of failure, and I did not intend to stick around to see this replicated on a national scale.

So, as a single Dad, lacking options and seeking direction, I decided to start again in a country that seemed to be more accepting, more open and more in line with my values and beliefs. Back then.

 

I have been proud to be a Canadian citizen for years. The Canadian government has done much to support my dreams and my work towards creating an equitable financial and technological environment through the many grants and government programs I have received and participated in. For this support I will be eternally grateful.

But today, I can equally proudly say that I no longer see the U.S. the way I did when I decided to leave my home nation. It has turned the corner, as demonstrated with the historical decision on gay marriage equality this week. Although recent events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and too many cities across the nation demonstrate there is still far to go in terms of racial equality, I believe the United States is on the path to true equality and access for all. With the JOBS Act working to reshape finance, and Obama Care, much like LBJ in the 1960s, President Obama has left a legacy. The foundation, the opportunity is set - the rest is up to us. As history reminds us, the "old guard" won't just give up. But now we have the tools to work with, tools that were lacking for far too long. This is a new era and a new country, again. This is the United States I grew up believing in - not the one I left with my kids.


Thanks to the JOBS Act, I believe America is once again on the path to becoming the land of opportunity and plenty that it once was both in the collective imagination and in reality for so many new immigrants, like my grandfather who passed through Ellis Island. With the barriers to finance for smaller businesses broken down through the JOBS Act, I’m proud to see that the American Dream can once again begin to thrive. That’s why I invented Finaeos, to help entrepreneurs and small businesses in both the U.S. and Canada recapture that dream, and attain it.

To be able to provide Finaeos to support American and cross border entrepreneurs and SMBs, to be able to next launch FinaeosConnect to share these opportunities to investors, and to be focusing our efforts in helping drive financing and healthcare innovation and connectivity - well, this could not have happened without the recent advances in American policy. I’ve spent my career trying to break down barriers for entrepreneurs and small businesses. This began with my invention of an affordable, customizable CRM platform and hybrid cloud environment that provides more functionality and power than Salesforce to organizations a fraction of the size and without that massive budgets traditionally required for this kind of automation. Now, I’m proud to say that I can provide more than just a technical leg up to small businesses. With Finaeos, we’re simplifying and reducing the cost in terms of time and money for businesses seeking the opportunity to grow and scale through funding.


I've never believed in money for the sake of money, I did not become an entrepreneur simply because I wanted to become rich. I believe at the root of entrepreneurship lies creativity, innovation, and a desire for true autonomy and freedom- an independent spirit that seeks to control its own destiny.


I believe these new financial legislations on both sides of the border, whether the JOBS Act in the United States or the CRM2 amendments in Canada, help eliminate the kinds of loopholes only the financiers (and their high priced lawyers) have had for centuries.


To see governments supporting Entrepreneurship, Equality and Access, to see the albeit belated recognition that these are some of the most fundamental things in a healthy society, is nothing short of galvanizing.

Now it's my mission, and every entrepreneur’s obligation, to help make sure it sticks. That's what these new laws are there for - setting up for the generations to come through innovation and access.

I am starting with Finaeos - and I look forward to working with, and helping others who have the motivation to do the same.

Follow me @Finaeos @TimSVasko - let's do this together !

Tim

No More Excuses: The Cloud, Big Data & CaaS (Compliance as a Service) How to use the Cloud to Eliminate Fraud

May 5, 2015 08:55

No More Excuses: The Cloud, Big Data & CaaS (Compliance as a Service)
How to use the Cloud to Eliminate Fraud & Ensure Compliance

19 years ago all of my data was on my thick and heavy Toshiba laptop. It was 1996, and this was the smallest device money could buy. Back then, I remember thinking having all your documents in one place was a great idea- it would improve organization, efficiency, and even protect in case of a fire or some other disaster. And it was great, that is, until the SEC seized that laptop as a part of an investigation into my business.

These were the early days of consumer computing. No one knew what they were doing or what risks were involved. External drives, backups, the “cloud”; all the places that data is protected and available today were, at best, an afterthought or a luxury. In most cases, they were not even possible – not readily anyways.
When my laptop was sequestered, never to be seen again, so too was the story that I was about to tell about FINOVA. For those who don’t know, FINOVA was a major corporation providing commercial financing back in these days. And my business was one of those being financed by FINOVA. Unfortunately, FINOVA was successful not because of their track record successfully financing commercial ventures, but because they were defrauding smaller companies, and using their extensive legal department to bury the evidence. FINOVA had my laptop sequestered four years before somebody finally got wise. At the time of their bankruptcy in March 2001, they were found guilty of committing the largest fraud in the history of the United States. But as we all know, 2001 was a tumultuous year. With the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September, and Enron’s epic meltdown in December, FINOVA largely escaped notoriety (although several of their top executives ended up in prison).

Fraud has profoundly affected my life. Whenever I hear stories of people and businesses being defrauded, I feel my gut churn. I know exactly how helpless a person can feel when it’s not the truth that matters, but how good your lawyer is.

Since my own experience with fraud, I’ve sought to help change the fact that with big money and clever lawyers, cover-ups can prevent the facts from emerging, sometimes for decades. We’ve seen this from Madoff, to Lehman, to Bear Stearns. It has taken me nearly twenty years to overcome my “afraid to talk about it” phase. But for the better part of those 20 years, I’ve been looking, watching and building ways to help prevent others from going through the experience I had. I’ll detail those in the next installation of this series.
More to come ......

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