CTO Interview – Jackson Hull, Elliptic
Jackson Hull talks to Albany’s managing partner Henry Draper, to answer 3 questions about his career journey and lessons learned as an experienced CTO.
Jackson is currently the CTO at Elliptic, a Series C blockchain analytics scale-up that has become the global leader for risk management of cryptocurrency transactions and assets.
Prior to this, Jackson’s background in tech leadership positions has covered several different stages of growth, from zero-to-product market fit at OakNorth, to transformation and scaling the team within an established PE-backed business at Go.Compare (Acquired by Future Media for 600M GBP). Around the edges, Jackson is an investor, an advisor for Kindred Capital, and an NED at Open Energy Market and Bloom & Wild. Jackson founded and chairs a micro-finance initiative, which has made over 8,000 loans to entrepreneurs in developing nations.
Jackson believes in “pursuing technology for good— for the betterment of customers and ideally for the world” and finds that “winning comes from the enjoyment of working with great people along the ride.” Read more about his diverse experiences as a CTO, his proudest moment, and his current challenge at Elliptic, below:
What part of being a CTO excites you the most?
What excites me the most is the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to revolutionize entire industries. It is all about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and creating solutions that can solve some of the world’s most complex problems.
As a CTO, I get to work with a team of brilliant scientists, researchers, designers, product people and engineers who are passionate about advancing the state of the art in their respective fields. Together, we’re tackling some of the biggest challenges facing society today — how do we modernize the financial system safely and fairly.
What’s particularly exciting about being a CTO in a startup is the potential to create entirely new markets and industries. We’re not just building products and services that are faster, cheaper, or more efficient than what’s currently available; we’re creating entirely new categories of technology that have never existed before.
Overall, what excites me most about being a CTO is the opportunity to work with amazing people on cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to change the world. It’s a role that demands the highest levels of expertise, creativity, and innovation, and that’s what makes it so thrilling to me.
What’s the piece of work you’re most proud of?
The piece of work I’m most proud of isn’t a product or piece of software. It was leading a digital transformation and turnaround at GoCompare. When I first arrived, the company was struggling to keep up with the competitive landscape, and it was clear that significant changes were needed to stay competitive. The company had lost its agility and become sluggish.
To start, I reorganized the team to create a more agile and collaborative structure. This involved breaking down silos between team and creating cross-functional teams that could work together more seamlessly. I also hired Product Managers and Data Science to help us better understand customer needs and leverage data to drive personalization in our products.
With the team in place and agile ways of working established, we began to focus more closely on customer needs and how we could better serve them. This involved conducting extensive market and user research and using customer feedback to inform our product development priorities. By putting the customer at the centre of everything we did, we were able to create products that truly met their needs and exceeded their expectations, and we started to win market share.
The results of these changes were game changing. Our financial performance improved dramatically, with conversion driving our EBITDA over £40M in 2.5 years. We also saw significant improvements in customer satisfaction and retention, as well as employee engagement and productivity. Overall, the digital transformation and turnaround was a major success, and I’m proud to have played a key role in making it happen.
What attracted you to your current organisation?
For me, there were three key factors that drew me to Elliptic: mission, technical challenge, and people.
First and foremost, the mission of the company is what initially caught my attention. Our goal is to make crypto safe for the world, and this is something that I’m deeply passionate about. I believe that crypto has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about money and finance, but it’s also a complex and often misunderstood technology. By making it safer and more accessible, we can help unlock its full potential, bring it to a wider audience and hopefully democratize finance.
The technical challenge of working in the crypto industry is also a major draw for me. Our company is focused on recording and processing all blockchain transactions in real-time, which is incredibly complex and demanding. It requires a deep understanding of blockchain technologies, distributed systems, and real-time data processingf on a massive scale. As someone who loves to solve technical challenges, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Finally, the people at the company are what truly make it special. We have a great culture that’s mission-driven and focused on winning, collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning. Everyone on the team is passionate about what they do and dedicated to making a positive impact for our customers. And we’re led by a stellar executive team that’s committed to building a company that’s not just successful, but also sustainable and socially responsible.