Will McDonough’s Winding Path towards Blockchain Technology
Will McDonough, founder, and CEO of iCash is leading his company through his ICO after launching in July. At the moment, iCash has received funding from Marc Andreessen, Mark Cuban, the Peter Thiel backed 1Confirmation Fund and Matthew Goetz’s Blocktower crypto fund.
This makes McDonough one of a growing list of the Wall Street financial elite who embarked on a journey to the promised land of blockchain technology.
In a conversation with CNBC Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn stated that “[McDonough] is acutely aware of where he is, that he’s out on a frontier and he’s aware that this could be a huge success. But with opportunity for success comes the risk of failure.”
McDonough’s path from finance to crypto was anything but linear. He began his career, oddly enough as the manager to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. After working his way through the ranks of a Boston radio station he transitioned to being on the corporate relations team for the New England Patriots.
Soon he had earned the trust of Tom Brady, who at the time was slowly becoming a household name in New England football. Essentially, it was McDonough’s job to make sure that Brady could focus on football while securing sponsorships and dealing with the sports star’s emerging celebrities.
The Move to Finance
In 2008 McDonough was recruited into Avenue Capital founder Marc Lasry’s firm. It was a massive change for Tom Brady’s previous manager. At the time he had no background in economics, so he took an entry-level position, learning the ropes as he excelled in business development.
From there, McDonough met the then-president of Goldman Sachs Gary Cohn. As it turned out, the two had previously met in a private box at the Patriots game. Cohn noticed McDonough’s innate ability to blend into any crowd a skill that would make him perfect for people management.
The Goldman Connection
In 2010, he joined Goldman Sach as Vice President. At that point, he watched some of the firm’s most significant deals which included the Facebook IPO.
With Goldman at his back, he set his sights on Africa in a bid to diversify partnerships. In creating an IPO in order to purchase companies with the proceeds. In this case, he wanted to purchase banks in Africa. However, Goldman didn’t see eye-to-eye with him on this venture.
Instead, McDonough hit the road in 2013 and partnered with former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond. The two formed Atlas Mara, which went public a year later. However, McDonough’s relationship with Atlas Mara ended after the IPO, which made him realize that he needed to be in control of the projects that he was pitching.
Finance to Fintech
While McDonough was not an early adopter of cryptocurrency or Blockchain technology he has now decided to jump in with both feet. He believes that in spite of the overblown hype, there is a group of rational investors putting money into space. While many projects in the blockchain space will fail, some will succeed and they could possibly be worth trillions.
At this point, McDonough is betting his career and more importantly, his name on iCash. Time will tell if “blockchain entrepreneur” will be added to Will McDonough’s lengthy resume.