Manie Eagar, CEO
Manie is the founder and CEO of DigitalFutures B.U.I.L.D. (Blockchain User-centric Innovation & Leadership Development), an independent strategic business development and investment consultancy with a focus on the latest innovations in fintech, digital currency and blockchain (distributed ledger) technologies; and alternative financing via peer-to-peer lending, ICOs/TGEs (Initial Coin Offerings / Token Generated Entities) and crowdfunding for venture capital platforms.
He is a strategic business development and global investment, mergers and acquisitions executive with over 30 years of driving new wealth creation, business growth and strategic innovation. He brings international experience and deep skills in the startup, investment management and venture capital space. He has been involved in multiple successful start-ups, government policy developments and national educational initiatives in South Africa and internationally.
Manie is a co-author of the first crowdsourced FinTechBook writing on ‘FinTech + Digital Currency – Convergence or Collision?‘ The FinTechBook is a front-line industry insider’s look at the financial technology explosion – An Amazon bestseller.
He is the Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Canada, the leading industry body representing digital finance, fintech and distributed ledger technology (blockchain) in Canada. He is a member of the Equibit Group strategy committee advisor team, creator of the Equibit blockchain and blockchain applications for the global securities industry. He is an advisor to Decentral Toronto, an innovation hub for disruptive and decentralized technologies. He is an advisor to a number of fintech and blockchain startups. He is also an advisor to KoreConX, a leader in equity crowdfunding compliance, governance and transparency providing a free all-in-one solution that helps companies navigate the process of raising equity capital, and simplifying shareholder communications to reduce risk. He is an advisor to fintech startup Paycase, offering an affordable and flexible way to send money overseas through a safe and secure platform.
He is and advisor to the Silicon Valley based SABLE Accelerator, a trusted knowledge network of global South Africans providing mentoring and consulting services to South African companies, entrepreneurs, and institutions seeking to fund or commercialize innovation, as well as enter, grow, and partner in worldwide markets.
He addressed the Canadian Senate Trade and Banking Commission in 2015 and a number of his proposals for a sound regulatory environment to promote digital currency and blockchain technology innovation were substantially incorporated in the Committee’s final report recommendations: Digital Currency – You Can’t Flip This Coin!
Manie has provided thought leadership to the THNK School of Creative Leadership’s Executive Program on “The Future of Capitalism” in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2015 to explore how digital currencies like bitcoin, can increase access to low-carbon housing and to drive shared economy initiatives and financial inclusion.
The past few years he has focused on business development and investments in the new world of digital value inter-exchange, mobile media delivery platforms and digital finance 2.0, inspired by the latest cryptocurrency protocols. He has supported a number of startups, growth acceleration, mergers and acquisitions, VC tie-ups and alignments with regulatory compliance. He developed the openaxyz collaboration software that was deployed at leading financial institutions such as Barclays Africa and was nominated for the RIC Innovation Idol in Ontario in 2012.
Manie has a sound understanding of the emerging markets and the needs of the financially underserved and under-banked. Manie was the chief strategist for the South African government’s $40 Billion Development Bank of South Africa Infrastructure Centre of Excellence for Infrastructure Development Plan implemented in 2012 and in that capacity is an expert in global infrastructure development for emerging markets.
Manie has supported numerous corporate and public events delivering thought provoking trends analysis and future insights.
His experience grew out of long-term engagements at Barclays Africa (ABSA), Vodafone (m-Pesa and virtual call centre hosting projects) and the J&J Investment Management Group (caretaking strategic partnerships Tata, Macquarie Bank, Old Mutual, and Dimension Data/NTT Nippon). He led the pioneering research and prototyping of Africa’s first multi-purposed smartcard payment platform OneCard Systems.
He managed the BPO portfolio of the J&J Group and headed strategic planning and market positioning Indian and USA investors into opportunities in South Africa; established a managed services relationship with Sykes International (a leading USA contact centre group); and the merger and acquisition of Onecall Solutions, an established call centre and BPO venture based in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Manie incubated, managed and developed new business ventures for the J&J Group, joined the BEE J&J Group from 1999 to 2009. This included One Card Systems (smartcard based solutions), Miraculum (eProcurement solutions), Consilience Technologies (a joint venture with Tata Infotech Limited of India) and ICOZA (South Africa’s first empowered tier 1 ISP).
He was a director at ICOZA/Internet Solutions, Africa’s largest ISP owned by Dimension Data / NTT Nippon, the world’s largest ICT company, where he was also responsible for the marketing and strategy for their Cisco-based e-commerce platform rollout.
He represented the UUX/TotalMovie mobile and online app based content viewing initiative of Grupo Salinas Telecommunications and Media, a leading Mexican technology and finance conglomerate, in Africa and Asia.
He was a strategic advisor to the ICT Vision 2020 of the South African Department of Communications.
He developed a business accelerator program for entrepreneurs and startups endorsed by the Ontario Government’s Research and Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre initiative. Engagements include the development of the strategy map and execution plan of the RIC Centre initiative an as well as the business strategy and fundraising proposals for Ontario based cleantech startup ventures. The openaxyz collaboration software was nominated for the RIC Innovation Idol in Ontario, Canada in 2012.
His proprietary STRATEX business planning methodology and openaxyz distributed collaboration toolset was adopted inside Barclays-ABSA as the core methodology for strategy formulation and execution by their internal strategy community.
Additional strategic engagements include the crafting of the new Information Communication and Telecommunication business of the South African Post Office and strategy alignment consulting to support the implementation of the new Eskom, Africa’s largest utility company, Total Quality Management Centre of Excellence. At Eskom supported a 200 person mentoring program and the largest ABET corporate program ever conducted in South Africa reaching 200 000 staff and their families.
Manie was the South African Country Manager for Emergia, Spain’s leading contact centre and BPO services provider.
He acted as a management consultant to Eskom, Sentech, Eskom Corporate, the Premier Group, M-NET, SABC, the Africa Growth Network (ABSA), Standard Bank (distance learning and change management initiatives), Dimension Data (e-commerce consulting), the LCC Rothschild Bank (Monaco) and Investec Merchant Bank in the context of e-business and e-commerce solutions, knowledge management implementation strategies; corporate communications and transformation programmes, IT and telecommunications services.
He was a member of the executive team of South Africa’s largest corporate executive education initiative at Barclays-ABSA – the Africa Growth Network – launching its first distance education MBA program in partnership with California State University.
He was a founder and CEO of Open Learning Systems Trust (OLSET), South Africa’s largest distance learning NGO funded by USAID, CIDA, EU and other major international donors for the benefit of the broad society and grass roots organizations during South Africa’s ‘apartheid era’. OLSET’s initial funding was provided by USAID and other major donors and opened by the then US Secretary of State, Ms Hilary Clinton in 1996. He participated in a number of studies worldwide in developed and developing countries to evaluate the utilization of new learning technologies and methodologies.
He has acted as marketing director on a number of major campaigns including the corporation transformation and re-branding of Eskom (twice), Barclays/ABSA Bank; Allied Bank; the Premier Group; Standard Bank; Sasani Studios; and Sentech (South Africa’s national broadcasting telecommunications service provider).
Initially training as a lawyer, he was drawn to the publishing world and became editor of Volkshandel, South Africa’s largest business magazine, a contributing Editor to the Financial Mail and Business Manager of Vrye Weekblad, a leading anti-apartheid publication before South Africa’s turn to democracy.