10 May 2021
Ekata – Tom Donlea
Tom Donlea leads the efforts to expand the global recognition of Ekata into APAC, including opening an office in Singapore in early 2020. He focuses on key partnerships and strategic accounts in eCommerce, online lending, and fintech. Before this, he was a self-proclaimed Whitepages Pro evangelist. Tom was recently selected by the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) to help launch the Asia Pacific chapter from Singapore.
Tell us the story of how Ekata came about.
Our origins date back to 1997 when our founder Alex Algard started the company in his dorm room at Stanford University. He simply wanted to find the phone number of his high school mates and at that time there was no phone book placing online. He bought the URL Whitepages.com and learned how to build a data business. Our company operated as a B2C venture and in 2011 launched a B2B biz unit that became Ekata. From humble beginnings supporting SME e-commerce companies, Ekata now supports some of the world's largest brands including Visa, Apple, Amazon, Agoda and Ant Financial just to mention a few. Our purpose is to defend these companies against fraud and help them accept more good transactions.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you've faced in recent years?
For Ekata, there is massive potential for growth. Our biggest challenge has been building the team fast enough to keep up.
How has the pandemic affected the way you work?
Our company is global and has locations in Seattle, Budapest, Amsterdam and Singapore. Therefore we actually function really well and our customers thrived because they are online enterprises. We are all a little sick of zoom meetings but that will make face to face customer action more rewarding once we can resume it.
Do you have any productivity hacks to share?
Choose a co-working space where the wifi works consistently LOL. No but seriously, fight the kiasu culture and consistently ask without being rude “am I needed in this meeting?” This has been key to me to delegate authority and focus on key projects.
Tell us your secret - how do you juggle work and other commitments?
Regular exercise is key for my sanity and my marriage has lasted 25 years because of such sanity measures. Clear my head, organise my thoughts and be a more reasonable person in office.
Favourite recent read.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - reminder of our nature and how to harness the power of our genetic inclinations.
Favourite place to chill around Bridge+ 79RR.
Anywhere I don’t freeze because of the excessive air-conditioning haha just kidding… I love the view at the small pantry on the 7th floor that faces the Singapore Straits sea view.