Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Industry: Software Production, Cyber Security
Technology startups are notoriously risky. In 2016, Alexander Valdes left a steady career with a great salary and stable benefits to join Trust Stamp, an identity-focused cybersecurity startup in the biometric services industry. “I took a 75 percent base-salary pay cut, with no guarantees that the company would be around by the end of that year.” Many people in his life tried to advise him away from the opportunity. But he felt strongly that he had to do it.
As the son of a Cuban immigrant family, Valdes was steeped in the values of sacrifice and hard work. After being stripped of their vast wealth and property under Fidel Castro’s oppressive regime, Valedes’ grandparents settled in the United States with little and accomplished much in their lives.
Valdes developed a “fire to be an entrepreneur” at an early age, regularly exercising a natural creative drive to build something meaningful from concept to actualization. At 17, he took his modest savings and created a successful mobile car detailing business. After earning a degree in finance, Valdes became a CPA and embarked on a series of successful enterprise ventures before meeting Trust Stamp co-founders Gareth Genner and Andrew Gowasack in 2015.
Valdes’ big risk in becoming CFO and EVP of Trust Stamp paid off in big ways. The company creates transformational technology that accelerates secure societal and financial inclusion through zero-knowledge-proof identity authentication. It helps clients prevent data loss and identify fraud while empowering global opportunity and access.
Over the next six years, Valdes helped scale the company from “four scrappy guys grinding away in the basement of the Atlanta Tech Village” to a respected company of nearly 100 full-time employees across eight countries earning more that $15 million in total revenue. In January 2022, Trust Stamp achieved a major milestone related to this objective by completing its initial public offering and listing on the NASDAQ exchange. The company’s technology has also enabled federal agents to dismantle several organized crime rings, creating an incalculable impact on society.
Valdes considers himself incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by many amazing people throughout his life. By understanding that many of those people opened doors of opportunity for him, he consciously does the same by helping others. His involvement in several nonprofit organizations, such as Young Catholic Professionals and the Lumen Institute, has provided him the opportunity to mentor more than 20 young professionals at the start of their careers.
“If it were not for the principles that I’ve cultivated over the past years,” says Valdes, “I would never have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that I’ve been presented with. All of which I am incredibly thankful for.”
I am the son of a Cuban immigrant family. My grandfather, also an entrepreneur, was formally uneducated, but by the time he was 40, he became a millionaire in 1960s Havana, Cuba, by owning a large manufacturing business.