Meet the Team: Interview with CoinLoan’s Head of Business Development Mike Rozhko

InterviewJun 08, 2022
Meet the Team: Interview with CoinLoan’s Head of Business Development Mike Rozhko

CoinLoan is not just a user-centered platform – it is also a reliable business partner. Mike Rozhko, Head of Business Development, seeks out opportunities for collaboration that benefit the company, its partners, and clients. Mike has contributed to CoinLoan's story since its early days. In this interview, he elaborates on the company’s milestones, current partnerships, and plans for the future.

– How has your background prepared you for joining the CoinLoan team?

Previously, I worked in fields ranging from real estate to international trade. Those jobs involved constant communication with clients, consumers, and partners. I oversaw partnerships for the 2014 Winter Olympics, curating financial and non-financial collaboration with giants like McDonald’s, VISA, and Samsung.

This experience came in handy when I joined CoinLoan – as head of Business Development, I promote our financial interests while building and nurturing partnerships, business relations, and, in some cases, camaraderie. Our success proves that CoinLoan is not only beneficial to work with – it is also enjoyable to work with as we have the interests of all clients, users, and partners at heart.

– Could you tell us a bit about your education, too?

I have a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in political science and international relations. I’ve also completed two internships in the United States, including a business development program at Georgetown University. Of course, I’ve also taken courses in negotiation skills, time management, and related subjects.

– How did you find yourself in the crypto industry?

The first time I heard of Bitcoin was in 2013. Back then, I put my investment plans on hold as the future looked uncertain. Then, in 2017, with the emergence of ICOs and major exchanges, the public interest soared. At that time, I was in the US doing an internship in a field completely unrelated to crypto.

I got literally obsessed. I started voraciously researching the assets, the nuances of trading, exchanges versus forums, and so on. All these things fascinated me, but two aspects were vital.

First and foremost, I saw an opportunity to decentralize the economy and give people the freedom to make payments quickly, independently, and relatively cheaply compared to traditional methods like bank transfers.

Secondly, crypto was not merely a potentially profitable sphere – it was also useful and captivating. It provided tangible value to the economically active people of my generation. It was a blue ocean at the time – a field with nearly zero competition where everything was fresh and exciting, the rules of the game were only being defined, and the first stars were rising.

Today, it is exciting to see how crypto has grown and evolved. When I got seriously interested in it in early 2017, I had no qualms about leaving conventional finance, despite having a successful career. I went all-in.

– What is the difference between business development and sales? How would you define your role in the company?

The difference is simple. Salespeople chase financial targets and figures. Business development requires a broader perspective and broader tasks. Bringing an X amount of profit per month is not our job. Instead, our objectives may sound like attracting more corporate customers to the platform or signing new partnership agreements – establishing ties with a specific company or companies in a particular sphere.

– How do you measure the success of your department?

Success is the attainment of the goals we set for ourselves. When I came to CoinLoan, there were just four other managers, including Alex Faliushin and Max Sapelov. As the business was just taking off, we did all the networking ourselves. We traveled to international trade shows, presented CoinLoan at the stand, and mingled with visitors to secure funding through CLT sales.

This is how our business development started and how the foundation of CoinLoan was laid. Today, we measure success by how well we build and maintain relationships with our community.

We endeavor not only to attract clients and partners but also to nurture and develop these connections. The mission of our department is to build relationships that foster loyalty, stand the test of time, and make us proud of our work.

From day one, we have put our reputation over profits. As Alex said, “Sacrificing profit is better than sacrificing reputation. ” It is difficult to assess my personal achievements, but the sheer growth of CoinLoan and its reputation prove that we are on the right track.

– How do you find new business opportunities for CoinLoan?

Based on the task at hand. For example, we have recently sought out partners to offer our services through APIs. Our work has made Interest Account integration a reality.

One of the latest deals I negotiated was for a significant partnership with an investment fund. Such discussions require caution — inviting input from potential buyers can trigger speculation. Our approach was balanced and consistent, and we were able to cooperate on our terms.

The company’s robust growth makes such deals possible. CoinLoan is evolving, gaining new clients, and adding new features and services. More and more retail users, corporate clients, and partners recognize its strengths. To a large extent, this success can be credited to the marketing and PR departments, which collaborate with us and make our work easier.

– How does the company choose its partners?

We do not have formal requirements like the size of the market cap or the length of time in business. Our approach is flexible – we are open to cooperation with companies of any size as long as they meet three criteria.

First, we don’t do business with firms that have a tarnished reputation – any sign of scam, compliance concerns or unethical behavior is a dealbreaker.

Secondly, like any business, we are guided by our financial interests. The third factor is maintainability – we want to see the potential for long-term relationships.

Every situation is unique – as I said, we don’t have a fixed criteria list. For instance, partnering up for a couple of deals, however profitable, may be unreasonable considering the extra workload for our legal department.

– How often do you interact with the product team?

Our interaction is twofold. The product team gets our recommendations, requests, and tasks based on feedback analysis – in a sense, we are CoinLoan’s frontline staff as we communicate with current and potential clients. Their input shows what services are in demand, what cryptocurrencies they want to see listed, what integrations they expect, and so on.

Mutual understanding with the product team, like other departments, is vital to our success. The results we get are consistent with our suggestions and expectations. The developers also inform us of the updates we should announce and explain to clients.

– How does CoinLoan maintain the balance between old clients and new ones?

We do not segregate the audience. At CoinLoan, all are welcome – we have the same level of appreciation for all users. Over time, newcomers become faithful clients, but our loyalty program works the same way for everyone. Currently, we are also upgrading it in collaboration with the product department.

The new version is more flexible and convenient for all account holders, big and small. It includes a personalized system of calculation that will inspire existing and new CoinLoaners – the benefits will grow proportionally to the assets held on the platform. This program has already been announced, so we are waiting for the product team to test and launch it.

– What motivates you, and what is the biggest challenge in your job?

I started working in high school, and I have always been busy, either employed or self-employed. I have worked in different teams, local and international companies, and private and state-owned businesses. What motivates me the most is the process of creating a cool product with a cool team.

This is exactly how I would define CoinLoan, and I have had this opinion from day one. To me, this factor outweighs all financial aspects of the job. I have a strong emotional connection to the brand as I’ve watched it grow.

As for the biggest challenge… It is not always easy to find a win-win scheme for every client and partner. We work with companies from the US and the EU, both small and large-scale investors, and their expectations differ.

– Have you ever walked out on a deal?

Of course. We decline any offers with potential risks, reputational or legal. We turn down any deals that lack transparency. CoinLoan has always played the long game – we’ve never chased quick gains.

Today, we are guided by the same principles as five years ago – steady progress in compliance with legal requirements. As we are based in Estonia, we abide by the EU crypto regulations. We would never jeopardize our clients’ interests.

We don’t accept shady offers or shady assets. This was the rationale behind our refusal to list UST. Some of our users requested it, but a thorough investigation by the product team revealed substantial risks. Time proved us right.

– How do you stay on top of crypto trends?

First, our in-house team has comprehensive expertise – we have experts in marketing, product development, law, financial analytics, and so on. Their collective intelligence plays a key role in the decision-making process.

Of course, we use reputable online sources, but we don’t take anyone’s words on faith. I can recall quite a few cases where predictions by celebrity experts turned out to be false. Nobody is infallible.

Some of the speakers hailed as gurus in 2017 ended up getting into scams, being sued or leaving the industry altogether. Besides, crypto is built on decentralization and independence. There are no absolute truths when it comes to forecasts.

– What new partnerships do you think could benefit CoinLoan in the future?

Outside the EU, it is the expansion of our presence in the Asia Pacific region, including ties with big local players. Secondly, CoinLoan is going to reinforce cooperation with businesses in the US – in particular, major trading companies and holders of liquid crypto. This requires some legal adaptations, and our team is already working on them.

– Give us five reasons why anyone should trust their digital assets with CoinLoan.

First, it is our market experience, as CoinLoan is one of the oldest crypto lending platforms. Secondly, our licenses help us outshine many rivals. The third advantage is our custodial solutions for asset storage (BitGo and Fireblocks). The fourth factor is our highly responsive and helpful support. Last but not least, it is the financial conditions.

We take pride in being trusted, and we value reputation above all else. The conservative approach – listing assets with proven liquidity and reliability – means that we offer competitive conditions without endangering our users. At CoinLoan, there is no place for speculation.

– You’ve been with the company for years. What do you see as CoinLoan’s main milestones and achievements throughout this time?

The first milestone was our successful startup campaign. I wouldn’t call it spectacular, but very few of the projects launched in 2017-2018 are still afloat. The second milestone was the development of a fully functional platform.

Next, we survived a series of market crashes and crypto winters, overcoming technical and financial challenges. Like most startups, CoinLoan did not generate profit from day one, so the first operational profit was another major event.

One of the latest highlights is the growing number of proposals from major market players. It shows how much CoinLoan has grown. Our reputation precedes us, so  well-established brands are now initiating cooperation.

– You manage CoinLoan’s community in Telegram. Why do you think clients should join it?

Telegram is a direct and simple way to have your question answered. Users send inquiries and get prompt replies. This chat is also public, which makes it special. Whatever we write is seen by thousands of members.

In addition, Telegram reinforces trust in our brand. We don’t delete any tricky questions, so users see that we are truly committed to transparency. Some of them have been with CoinLoan for years, and I know them personally. I still reply to some of the messages myself.  


Disclaimer:

The information provided by CoinLoan (“we,” “us,” or “our”) in this text is for general informational purposes only. All investment and financial opinions expressed by CoinLoan in this text are from the personal research and open information sources and are intended as educational material. All outlined information is provided in good faith. However, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information in this text.

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