Meet Márcio Sodré de Lima: Klever’s CFO
A man responsible for properly investing in Klever’s dreams - and he does not take it for granted
When dealing with STEM careers, one may think this field is filled with shy, introverted people. But, sometimes, one might be surprised.
Márcio Sodré, Klever’s Chief Financial Officer, is not one of those people. He’s communicative, smart and a visionary. With his role as CFO, he has the challenge of providing resources to support people's dreams and life projects.
And he does not take it for granted.
He knows the responsibility to invest correctly and, even more, he knows the value of financial freedom. His vision for our company touches our day-to-day lives inside Klever's operations, empowering our ideas and projects by providing means to make them happen.
Can we call him “the dream investor”? I believe so. Read the following interview and tell me if you agree with me.
1- Maluh: I’ve said many times before that I was never good with numbers and talking to the person who is in charge of the Financial part of the company that provides Financial freedom for people is something that I feel very honored to do.
And one thing that always comes to my mind is a quote by the mathematician Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya that I relate to that says:
“It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul. Many who have had an opportunity of knowing any more about mathematics confuse it with arithmetic, and consider it an arid science”.
Even, not being a mathematician, but working with finances in business, do you agree with that? Do you think that numbers and finances are often misunderstood?
Márcio: Happy to talk to you Maluh. Yes, I completely agree with Sofia, because if we think about corporate finance, we are talking among other things like accounting, administration - and these are human and not exact sciences.
There are many numbers involved, but also a lot of influence of human behavior, as well as the market and its variables.
2- M: Before we get to the technical part, I think it’d be great if we could talk more about you. How was your childhood and did you always relate to the world of numbers?
Márcio: I was born and raised in a poor and peripheral neighborhood (Cangaíba) in the largest city in Brazil (São Paulo), where I lived in a house with my parents, grandparents and my one year older brother.
I really enjoyed my childhood and adolescence, but the fact is that we were very poor.
So when I was teenager, the lack of money motivated me to start putting in a spreadsheet absolutely everything I earned and spent during the month, even a candy bought in the market was listed by me.
I believe that was when my vocation for financial control started.
3- M: As a good journalist I did some digging… and I saw you always worked in this field of finances, having great experiences as CFO in different projects. Can you tell us more about how you started to find your way to become a Chief Financial Officer?
Márcio: I was lucky to work in exponential growth companies (such as Klever) from very early on in my career and it gave me opportunities that I didn't pass.
In environments like that, being aware of the company's next steps and demands gives you the opportunity to propose new (and necessary) activities and that's how I moved up my career: always one step ahead, proposing the creation of new structures, enabling me and making me available to lead these proposed fronts.
4- M: Klever today has more than 100 members all around the world and more than 3 million users spread across the globe. What are the main challenges that the financial department has to face in a company that works for financial freedom for all?
Márcio: The main challenge is how to control everything without compromising speed and, most importantly, the freedom of everyone involved, as you mentioned.
The financial area has in its essence the need for control. In companies like Klever it is necessary that these controls do not have a very high cost on the company's speed.
We never compromise security in our actions and decisions, but we are always careful not to fall into the trap of excessive controls.
5- M: We also are working on various milestones here in the company - Klever Exchange’s launch, Klever’s Blockchain, the Hardware wallet that is coming. How to support and balance all of those projects at the same time financially?
Márcio: Helping the leaders of these fronts to map their costs, project revenues and think of your product as a company (which is true in some cases you mentioned) is one of the ways we have to support these fronts.
Fortunately, we have a comfortable cash position that allows us to smoothly transfer the resources requested by each leader - as long as they are well justified, of course, because waste is not tolerated here.
6- M: Let’s focus on Klever Exchange for a moment: as we were backstage we saw the effort and the drive to make this project happen with quality and reach everyone in the world with the Klever’s seal of approval. What was the focus of investment to make this project happen?
Márcio: We are just at the beginning of Klever Exchange.
The biggest investment so far has been in people, in teams involved in the development of the application, but I can tell you that we still have a lot of investment to do.
The product is still in the initial version, so there are also many features, negotiation pairs and partnerships that will require not only more people to develop and conduct these actions, but investments in marketing and local operations in some countries around the world.
7- M: After the Klever Exchange, we already have another challenge in our hands with the release of the Hardware Wallet. What’s being provided in order for this project to succeed?
Márcio: We have already hired a team of eight people for this front.
We rent an office in an environment within one of the largest universities in Brazil and this makes us able to count on groups of researchers from this university for future projects.
In addition, as it is a physical product, it was necessary to establish a new company with industrial activity and we have already placed the resources in its treasury so that the first batch of 1000 units of Hardware Wallet is generated, as well as MKT and operational expenses.
8- M: Like I previously said, Klever has grown right before our eyes in the last year. Only in 2021, we have increased our numbers of staff members to more than 100 collaborators. How do you see this improvement?
Márcio: Our results were really impressive.
If we look at revenue from 2020 and compare with 2021, we have a growth of 2774%, which allowed us to expand the team and start all these fronts that you mentioned in the previous questions.
It is important to say that even with all these investments we continue to generate a lot of cash.
Today, we have a 4x1 ratio between what we earn and what we spend, certainly a privilege in times of crisis such as we are currently experiencing worldwide.
This gives us peace of mind in knowing that we have become a solid company, that we have what it takes to face difficulties that may arise along the way, even if that hasn't happened so far.
9- M: Klever works worldwide. How do you see the difference in our crypto universe investment in divergent parts of the world?
Márcio: It is very curious to realize that the motivators for entering this universe are very different from country to country.
While in countries with "strong currency" and a stable economy crypto is an opportunity to gain and bet on the future as an investment, in countries that suffer from inflation and economic instability it can be a matter of survival.
I remember Brazil at the beginning of the 90s, people (including my parents) ran to the supermarket on the day they received their wages and bought everything they could, because if they waited a day to do it, they would no longer be able to buy the same items with the money they had earned.
When I remember this I always think how useful cryptocurrency would have been at that time.
10- M: What will be the next steps for Klever in 2022 in the Finance Department and what do you wish for Klever in the future?
Márcio: As we are a very technological company, the area should not grow in headcount in the same proportion as the company's growth.
We should have hiring announcements in 2022, but I believe that our main evolution will be systemic - today, we already use an internally developed system (Klever Workspace) and I see plenty of room for it to evolve in supporting the various fronts in the area, such as controllership, accounting, treasury management and the personnel department.