The key to staying ahead in decentralized finance (DeFi) is innovation and a clear vision. This sector, a blend of technology, finance, and blockchain, is reshaping how we think about financial transactions, lending, and asset management. At the heart of the movement is a new generation of entrepreneurs who are not just adapting to change but are driving it, using their unique insights to create platforms that challenge traditional financial models.
Yubo Ruan is one of the pioneering forces currently at work in the DeFi space. As the founder and CEO of Parallel Finance, a decentralized lending and staking protocol on Polkadot and Ethereum backed by top-tier investors, including Sequoia, Founders Fund, Lightspeed Ventures, Polychain Capital, Coinbase Capital, Pantera Capital, Yubo has steered the company to a $500 million valuation, 40 employees, and over 340,000 users, marking it as a significant player in the DeFi landscape. Beyond that, his journey from a young tech enthusiast to a leading figure in finance displays the importance of innovation for business success.
From Childhood Projects to Tech Innovator
Yubo’s journey began with a simple yet innovative idea – a smart piggy bank designed to teach children about money management. “My initial motivation to delve into coding stemmed from observing that many children are overindulged by their parents and lack money-saving skills,” explains Yubo. This eventually led to the creation of Alisimba, a company that built a smart piggy bank helping students become more financially literate and reward budgeting. Alisimba, which Yubo started when he was in high school, was eventually acquired.
Another pivotal moment in Yubo’s early life was his response to his grandfather’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. Moved by his grandfather’s difficulties, Yubo developed a QR code-following robot to assist with daily tasks, a creation that won the first prize at the China Robotics Competition.
Building a Foundation for Leadership
Yubo’s journey continued through founding Alisimba, Skylight Investment, and 8 Decimal Capital, each venture adding layers to his leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Reflecting on this period, Yubo states, “With each role, I’ve gained insights into more effective team leadership, the art of choosing the right talent, and resolving conflicts within a team.”
More importantly, his experiences ingrained in him a mindset of ambition and decisiveness. Yubo learned the art of balancing vision with practicality, a balance that would become crucial in the competitive world of DeFi.
Triumphs and Trials at Parallel Finance
While his formative years (both in life and business) have been important, his time at Parallel Finance stands out. Under Yubo’s leadership, the platform has rapidly ascended in the DeFi space. Moreover, the rise has been marked by a significant increase in Total Value Locked (TVL) and successful funding rounds, which set it apart early on.
Yubo recalls, “Within seven months of launching Parallel, our Total Value Locked (TVL) surged to nearly $900 million, and I successfully raised over $30 million from fifty investors.” These milestones were a clear indicator of the company’s potential and Yubo’s ability to realize it.
However, the journey was not without its obstacles. The bear market posed significant challenges, reducing the TVL and leading to internal conflicts within the company. “This experience taught me the importance of prioritizing individuals with high moral standards and integrity, not just talent,” said Yubo, whose challenges served as learning experiences, reinforcing the need for a strong, cohesive team aligned with the company’s vision and values.
Envisioning DeFi’s Future with Parallel Finance
Yubo is looking beyond the current DeFi landscape, envisioning a future where DeFi is an integral part of everyday finance, underpinned by advanced blockchain networks. “DeFi will soon become a daily staple for billions of people,” Yubo asserts. His ambition is to see all financial transactions processed through more transparent and reliable Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks, revolutionizing the way we approach finance.
In his envisioned future, Parallel Finance is not just participating but leading. In fact, Yubo aims to position Parallel as the dominant DeFi-centric Layer 2 network, something he believes is entirely possible due to the robust platform and constant innovation.
Parallel Is Changing NFTs and Loans
The creation of Parallel Lending, part of Parallel Finance’s NFT product suite, shows clear recognition of emerging trends in the DeFi space. Yubo perceived early on the potential of NFTs beyond digital art, seeing them as collateral for loans and a new form of digital asset.
“NFT lending will emerge as a significant sub-sector in the DeFi space,” Yubo predicts. It was that insight that led to the development of Parallel Lending, poised to transform the way NFTs are utilized in the financial world.
Yubo also foresees a future where digital collectibles and assets play a central role in personal finance, aligning with the broader trend of digitalization in every aspect of life. Therefore, it is more than a product, standing as a strategic move toward shaping the future of asset management and lending in the DeFi ecosystem.
Choosing the Path of Innovation Over Tradition
Yubo has never walked the normal path, and his decision to establish Parallel Finance instead of joining an established firm like Polychain Capital highlights his entrepreneurial spirit.
“During my research, I discovered my deep passion for DeFi and its potential to benefit everyday people,” he explains his decision, which was driven by his belief in the transformative power of DeFi and his desire to be at the forefront of this change.
Future Aspirations: Setting a New Standard in DeFi
Looking ahead, Yubo’s ambitions for Parallel Finance are lofty yet grounded in a clear strategy. His goal is to transform Parallel into the central hub of the DeFi world, catering to a billion users globally. This ambitious vision involves significant technological advancements and user experience enhancements.
“To achieve this, I plan to develop a Layer 2 (L2) network that offers a tenfold improvement in user experience,” he states. His initiatives, including covering all gas fees for users and integrating real-world assets, are designed to make DeFi more accessible and practical for a broader audience.
These plans are not just about scaling up but aim to redefine the DeFi experience. Yubo’s focus on user experience, security, and integration of real-world assets illustrates a commitment to making DeFi a reliable and integral part of everyday finance. His vision for Parallel Finance is a reflection of his broader vision for the DeFi space – innovative, user-centric, and transformative.
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