MEET OUR TEAM

We're a team of intellectually curious and deeply technical infrastructure builders on a mission to scale IBC.

Bo Du - Technical Lead

Bo Du

Technical Staff

Bo was the first hire at Chronosphere (unicorn) and infrastructure engineer at Uber and Capsule8 (acquired). His focus is on database, distributed systems and software infrastructure with experience developing M3DB (OSS time series database).

Peter Kim

Peter Kim

operational staff

Peter consulted for Ernst & Young’s Strategy and Innovation divisions. His focus has been on GtM strategy, new product launch/scale, organizational restructuring, and synergy capture with experience connecting partnerships and joint-builds in DeFi.

Wenwei Xiong

Technical Staff

Wenwei delivered database platforms at Paradigm 4 to leading pharmaceutical companies identifying biomarkers for diseases including COVID-19. At Avitide (acquired by Repligen), Wenwei led a team creating biologics databases. Wenwei's academic research and software tools have been cited 800+ times and helped secure $3.7M+ funding from NSF.

Derek Shiell

Technical Staff

Derek was a distinguished engineer at EdgeCast CDN where he spent the last 11+ years building and scaling the caching and compute platforms. During his time there, he helped it grow into a global platform delivering terabits per second of data and billions of client requests per day across hundreds of data centers. Prior to EdgeCast, Derek worked for Epson Research and Development implementing face and object recognition, detection, and alignment algorithms.

Nicolas Pernas

Technical Staff

Nico was a Staff Engineer at Twilio where he helped build their WebRTC based real-time video product. He has also been at AWS, where he spent time working on the virtualisation stack that is the foundation of EC2. He started as an embedded engineer doing low level type of work: Linux kernel development, boot-loaders, high performance networking and IoT.

Ethan Oak

Operational Staff

Ethan started his career in management consulting at McKinsey and was an early member of their Digital Asset practice. He developed McKinsey’s POV on the relevance of DeFi for institutions and the disruptive potential of digital assets in the gaming and metaverse space. He went on to lead strategy and operations at Space Runners, a fashion metaverse startup. Ethan has also spent 10 serving in the US Army National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst. He graduated with a BS in Business Analytics from MIT.

Alexander Eliseev

Technical Staff

Alex was a software engineer at Amazon for 5 years where he mostly worked on various Kindle initiatives, including Wordwise and a knowledge graph for books serving more than 2 million users. The following 4 years he spent in the startup world building ML and blockchain powered products. His focus is on distributed systems, infrastructure and AI.

Thomas Dekeyser

Technical Staff

Prior to joining Polymer, Thomas was a Developer Relations at Interchain GmbH working on IBC, combining his passion for learning/teaching with empowering communities through web3 technology. Thomas spent his twenties doing a lot of learning, both formal (Master in Photonics Engineering, Master in Blockchain Technologies) and informal (how organisations work, self-taught web development, psychology). Ultimately this journey led him towards blockchain technology and a move from his native Belgium to Berlin. In the future, he envisions interchain development powered by IBC to be as pervasive as web2 technology is today.

Gabriel Perez Carafa

OPerational Staff

Gabriel is a rising senior studying economics and computer programming at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining Polymer, he worked as a technical research writer for Alchemy where he covered ZK-infrastructure topics . He currently serves as President of Blockchain@USC. He envisions blockchain interoperability enabling a new global financial system of the future where entities on opposite ends of the world can transact seamlessly and instantaneously.

Zhengyang Feng

TECHNICAL Staff

Zhengyang was a Staff Engineer at Momenta where he led the design and development of a sophisticated large-scale simulation workflow system. He also built a data product that empowered ML engineers to search and visualize data more efficiently. Prior to Momenta, Zhengyang worked at Uber, where he focused on building logging and metrics platforms as an Infrastructure Engineer. He also worked at Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg.

Johanna Tseng

operational Staff

Johanna comes from Coinbase as a Corporate Development leader, where she built the M&A operations function, acquiring and operationalizing 7 businesses. She previously spent time at Twilio and WeWork, scaling those businesses with new product lines (e.g., IoT, SEO, workplace strategy software) and markets (e.g., Brazil, Israel) through acquisitions. Her focus is on developing and executing strategic plans to drive growth and achieve business objectives.

Stephanie Balderrama

operational Staff

Stephanie is a leader in office operations and human resources, driven by her passion to steer organizations towards their strategic objectives. Prior to joining Polymer, she played a vital role in crafting and implementing processes to enhance overall efficiency for founders and C-suite executives. Stephanie brings to Polymer a specialized focus on the integration of human capital, organizational structure, and process management.

Forrest Kitlas

operational Staff

Forrest brings over a decade of HR expertise, helping high-growth tech companies, from startups to industry giants, in establishing robust HR frameworks, fostering high-performance cultures, and crafting holistic people strategies. He played a pivotal role in scaling Kabam Inc (gaming sector) from 250 to 1200+ employees across 5 countries, resulting in a $1B sale to Netmarble and Fox Entertainment. Additionally, he collaborated with Twilio Inc.'s top development GMs (communication API sector), contributing to their global expansion with $3B in annual revenue spanning 6 product lines. Forrest has led HR efforts in over 8 technology sector company acquisitions, spanning various product domains.

Ben Behrman

operational Staff

Ben built and delivered Oracle powered solutions for 4 years in areas such as data warehousing, manufacturing automation, and public safety and was a key member of the Code Innovate team delivering over 50 customized co-development hackathons and events to their customers. They then moved into Web3 enabling dApps to make use of Web3 domain names and digital identity helping Unstoppable Domains grow from 300 to over 700 live dApp integrations. Ben's focus revolves around creating a robust developer experience and guiding developers to success.

Michael Gushansky

operational Staff

Michael has worked within the Cosmos and Ethereum ecosystems for the last 4 years. First in distributed cloud computing at Akash Network. As Akash’s first Marketing and Community Manager, Michael built Akash’s marketing, community, and social media infrastructure from the ground up. He marketed the largest testnet at the time in Cosmos and help launch the MVP of Akash’s decentralized open-source cloud. Most recently, Michael served as Head of Marketing at Laconic Network where he helped establish branding, positioning, and marketing campaigns which resulted in an $8 million seed raise. Michael is passionate about expanding access to critical financial tools to underserved people, and developers around the world.

Bo Du

TECHNICAL STAFF

Bo was the first hire at Chronosphere (unicorn) and infrastructure engineer at Uber and Capsule8 (acquired). His focus is on database, distributed systems and software infrastructure with experience developing M3DB (OSS time series database).

Peter Kim

OPERATIONAL STAFF

Peter consulted for Ernst & Young’s Strategy and Innovation divisions. His focus has been on GtM strategy, new product launch/scale, organizational restructuring, and synergy capture with experience connecting partnerships and joint-builds in DeFi.

Wenwei Xiong

TECHNICAL STAFF

Wenwei delivered database platforms at Paradigm 4 to leading pharmaceutical companies identifying biomarkers for diseases including COVID-19. At Avitide (acquired by Repligen), Wenwei led a team creating biologics databases. Wenwei's academic research and software tools have been cited 800+ times and helped secure $3.7M+ funding from NSF.

Derek Shiell

TECHNICAL STAFF

Derek was a distinguished engineer at EdgeCast CDN where he spent the last 11+ years building and scaling the caching and compute platforms. During his time there, he helped it grow into a global platform delivering terabits per second of data and billions of client requests per day across hundreds of data centers. Prior to EdgeCast, Derek worked for Epson Research and Development implementing face and object recognition, detection, and alignment algorithms.

Nicolas Pernas

TECHNICAL STAFF

Nico was a Staff Engineer at Twilio where he helped build their WebRTC based real-time video product. He has also been at AWS, where he spent time working on the virtualisation stack that is the foundation of EC2. He started as an embedded engineer doing low level type of work: Linux kernel development, boot-loaders, high performance networking and IoT.

Alexander Eliseev

TECHNICAL STAFF

Alex was a software engineer at Amazon for 5 years where he mostly worked on various Kindle initiatives, including Wordwise and a knowledge graph for books serving more than 2 million users. The following 4 years he spent in the startup world building ML and blockchain powered products. His focus is on distributed systems, infrastructure and AI.

Thomas Dekeyser

Product STAFF

Prior to joining Polymer, Thomas was a Developer Relations at Interchain GmbH working on IBC, combining his passion for learning/teaching with empowering communities through web3 technology. Thomas spent his twenties doing a lot of learning, both formal (Master in Photonics Engineering, Master in Blockchain Technologies) and informal (how organisations work, self-taught web development, psychology). Ultimately this journey led him towards blockchain technology and a move from his native Belgium to Berlin. In the future, he envisions interchain development powered by IBC to be as pervasive as web2 technology is today.

Zhengyang Feng

TECHNICAL STAFF

Zhengyang was a Staff Engineer at Momenta where he led the design and development of a sophisticated large-scale simulation workflow system. He also built a data product that empowered ML engineers to search and visualize data more efficiently. Prior to Momenta, Zhengyang worked at Uber, where he focused on building logging and metrics platforms as an Infrastructure Engineer. He also worked at Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg.

Johanna Tseng

OPERATIONAL STAFF

Johanna comes from Coinbase as a Corporate Development leader, where she built the M&A operations function, acquiring and operationalizing 7 businesses. She previously spent time at Twilio and WeWork, scaling those businesses with new product lines (e.g., IoT, SEO, workplace strategy software) and markets (e.g., Brazil, Israel) through acquisitions. Her focus is on developing and executing strategic plans to drive growth and achieve business objectives.

Stephanie Balderrama

OPERATIONAL STAFF

Stephanie is a leader in office operations and human resources, driven by her passion to steer organizations towards their strategic objectives. Prior to joining Polymer, she played a vital role in crafting and implementing processes to enhance overall efficiency for founders and C-suite executives. Stephanie brings to Polymer a specialized focus on the integration of human capital, organizational structure, and process management.

Forrest Kitlas

OPERATIONAL STAFF

Forrest brings over a decade of HR expertise, helping high-growth tech companies, from startups to industry giants, in establishing robust HR frameworks, fostering high-performance cultures, and crafting holistic people strategies. He played a pivotal role in scaling Kabam from 250 to 1200+ employees across 5 countries, and contributed to Twilio's global expansion across 6 product lines.

Thomas O'Connell

Product STAFF

Tommy has 9+ years of technical product related work. He pulls from experience as a Technical Advisory Consultant at E&Y specializing in Systems Implementation and IT transformation for the Financial Services sector, VP at Morgan Stanley in the Finance division overseeing their Vendor Risk Management platform, and as a Product Manager leading products aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the maritime shipping industry, ultimately removing the equivalent of ~20,000 cars from the road.

Jack Lafiandra

Technical Staff

Jack’s professional experience spans roles at Amazon and Capital One, where he contributed significantly to enhancing ad-targeting, keyword recommendation generation, and building out automated testbed infrastructures. Before entering the industry, he earned both a BS and an MS from Georgia Tech in Computer Science. His Master’s Thesis delved into the application of machine learning fundamentals to Branch Prediction and the development of compilers using LLVM. Jack is dedicated to honing his skills as a versatile developer, with a particular enthusiasm for low-level programming.

Devain Pal Bansal

Product Staff

Devain brings over five years of experience in the crypto space, focused on interoperability infrastructure. Most recently at Socket, he was instrumental in building the product marketing and growth functions that led to the exponential growth of their B2C exchange, achieving a monthly volume of $500 million. Additionally, Devain successfully expanded the B2B ecosystem, collaborating with over 80 protocols across various sectors such as DeFi (including GMX, Synthetix, and Kwenta), wallets (Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, and Rainbow), and portfolio management (Zapper, Zerion).

Michael Poyatt

Technical Staff

Prior to joining Polymer, Michael spent six years at Cisco and NBC where he gained significant experience in building scalable systems depended on by thousands of employees and customers. In his role as a front-end developer at both companies, Michael not only designed and built intuitive dashboards for visualizing sales data but also made existing apps more robust and user-friendly by implementing internationalization and pluralization. This is in addition to several side projects and businesses of his own, including a music production and sample pack site with thousands of customers.

Raunak

Technical Staff

Before Polymer, Raunak was a solidity engineer for a collateralized stablecoin protocol, where he built smart contracts that secure tens of millions of dollars in TVL. Before entering crypto, Raunak spent 2 years as a full stack engineer for multiple early stage startups, where he shipped and iterated on products to secure users. Raunak completed his engineering studies at UC Berkeley.

Liz

Operational Staff

Liz joins Polymer as General Counsel from Turnkey, a developer platform for non-custodial, private key management. Previously, she was General Counsel at Bison Trails, where she led the company through it's 2021 acquisition by Coinbase. Afterwards, she stayed on to oversee the integration and rebranding of Coinbase Cloud, while leading the product and commercial legal functions as AGC. Liz spent a number of years at Goldman Sachs before leaving to join the crypto industry in early 2018, as head of legal and compliance for BlockTower Capital. She remains passionately focused on helping teams build revolutionary and innovative global technologies.

Ken Miyachi

Technical Staff

Ken was a software engineer at Amazon, focusing on recommendation systems, before joining NEAR as a technical lead, where he developed the NEAR Founder Co-Pilot Product and contributed to the engineering, acceleration program, and funding team. Previously served as the President of the UC San Diego Blockchain Club and researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Centers BlockLAB. His work emphasizes the development for consumer applications of blockchain technology and support for emerging projects in the decentralized space.

Annalisa Caballero

Marketing Staff

Annalisa joins Polymer as a Marketing and Community Associate, with experience as a Marketing Specialist at Coreum and Sologenic, Community Lead at Darshana, and founder of Crypto Mujeres, promoting inclusion of Latin American women in the crypto ecosystem.

Kel Kanhirun

Technical Staff

Kel was the technical leader for BlackRock's Digital Assets team where he helped launch BTC spot trading, IBIT, and BUIDL on Aladdin in partnership with Coinbase and others. Previously, he has worked on core products at Amazon and ConsenSys. His focus is on accelerating institutional adoption of crypto and blockchain with first-party security that works with traditional financial systems.

Martin Best

Technical Staff

Martin brings 20 years of experience in Marketing with 4+ years of web3 marketing experience at the Director/CMO level. He most recently led NEAR Foundation's Brand and Media operations, and previously served as CMO at Wirex. Martin was recognised as one of the "Top 30 Fintech Marketers" by RISE / Barclay's Bank during his time supporting UK-founded unicorn WorldRemit as it became a major player in global remittances with multiple global campaigns.

OUR ADVISORS

We've brought together strategic partners and experts to help us execute on our multi-chain vision.

Mustafa Al-Bassam

co-founder of Celestia

Mustafa is a co-founder of Celestia, the first modular blockchain network. He completed a PhD in Computer Science at UCL, where he published various research papers on blockchain layer 1 scalability. Previously, he was the co-founder of blockchain scalability startup Chainspace (acquired by Facebook).

Nicholas Santomauro

marketing & growth ADVISOR

Nick is currently Head of Marketing at Magic Eden, leading strategy development, collector growth, and ensuring consistent brand messaging. Prior to Magic Eden, Santomauro served as the Director of User Growth and interim VP of Global Marketing at Binance, where he oversaw a roughly 700% increase in active users in just three years, jumping from under 20 million to over 160 million. During his time at the organization, Nick played an integral role in Binance increasing its total market share from 20% to 60% at its peak.

Lizhang Qin

Technical ADVISOR

Lizhang was a technical lead at Uber on the Freight backend platform. At Uber, he worked on redesigning the backend with micro-services, an event-driven message bus, and related frontend work. Before that, he worked at Citadel Securities, built High-Frequency trading systems, and competed with other firms with low latency strategies. He also worked at Motorola and Morningstar.

Mustafa Al-Bassam

CO-FOUNDER OF CELESTIA

Mustafa is a co-founder of Celestia, the first modular blockchain network. He completed a PhD in Computer Science at UCL, where he published various research papers on blockchain layer 1 scalability. Previously, he was the co-founder of blockchain scalability startup Chainspace (acquired by Facebook).

Nicholas Santomauro

MARKETING & GROWTH ADVISOR

Nick is currently Head of Marketing at Magic Eden, leading strategy development, collector growth, and ensuring consistent brand messaging. Prior to Magic Eden, Santomauro served as the Director of User Growth and interim VP of Global Marketing at Binance, where he oversaw a roughly 700% increase in active users in just three years, jumping from under 20 million to over 160 million. During his time at the organization, Nick played an integral role in Binance increasing its total market share from 20% to 60% at its peak.

Lizhang Qin

TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Lizhang was a technical lead at Uber on the Freight backend platform. At Uber, he worked on redesigning the backend with micro-services, an event-driven message bus, and related frontend work. Before that, he worked at Citadel Securities, built High-Frequency trading systems, and competed with other firms with low latency strategies. He also worked at Motorola and Morningstar.

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