Kristian Feldborg, Founder & CEO at Vesuvio Labs

‘Starting from experience is very different than starting from scratch’

VESUVIO LABS
6 min readDec 3, 2023
Insurtech MENA conference — 2022
https://open.spotify.com/episode/1NeMybt4c1c63AmqjxZaAa?si=06a2cc2e4de84b27

Kristian Feldborg is a widely recognized figure in London’s Tech ecosystem, with a successful track record in banking, private equity, and insurance solutions. He played a key role in the early development of unicorn Fenergo.com, now a major KYC player, based in 15 locations across the world’s major financial centers.

In 2017, Kristian Feldborg embarked on a new venture of his own, Vesuvio Labs. Their CTO-as-a-Service model offers expertise in managing tech teams, implementing solutions, navigating complex environments, and growth. His experience led to the creation of several independent businesses, including distriBind.io, Veriwise.co.uk, and insharerisk.com, to name a few.

CTO-as-a-Service by Vesuvio Labs

At Vesuvio Labs, we’ve had the privilege of partnering with ambitious individuals across the tech sector, helping to manage their tech team better and take propositions to market, faster. Software development is hard: 70% of the work is easier than the last 30% mile. Our diversified experience uniquely places us in a position to understand the intricate challenges of scoping out new tech solutions, in line with the board’s strategy, regulatory environments, business requirements, available resources, time frames, and customer preferences. Our role at Vesuvio Labs is simple, to seamlessly integrate within managerial departments of a bank or insurance company, bringing a unique combination of technological acumen, and a deep knowledge of the financial services domain.

A common misconception is to think of a CTO limited to a Technology role. Rather, a CTO is a VP, an executive who has a direct reporting line to the CEO. As an active board member, a CTO does stakeholder management owns the tech strategy, manages day-to-day engineering execution, sets targets and implements a methodology with the full bottom-line target of delivering the organization’s strategy through technology.

In our case, the CTO’s role is represented by a team of experts, with emphasis on governance, effectively, team management (Tech and non-tech directors), external and internal stakeholders' management, tech execution and future planning in a strategic direction. We provide C-Level consultancy and delivery on architecture, infrastructure, security, technology roadmap, implementation and current technology trends, aiming to assist an organization’s CTO needs, and deliver enterprise-grade output.

Compared to internal teams, Vesuvio Labs’ approach ensures superior outcomes, namely on project execution, cross-team communication, and strategic planning.

Our management support extends beyond mere remote consulting or meeting quotas. It’s about supporting the internal team to deliver and execute effectively, ensuring the company’s growth is driven from within.

CTO-as-a-Service provides team/stakeholders management and access to C-suite consultancy on architecture, infrastructure, and security, complementing a full-time, in-house CTO:

  1. Broad Spectrum Experience: Our extensive work in business across the Financial sector means we’re fast at identifying and implementing a methodology that caters specifically to deliver the business case in line with the Board’s strategy. We focus on deep understanding of the organization’s current technology, business strategy, regulatory environment, economic sentiment, and market needs.
  2. Team-Based Approach: Collaborate with our experienced consultants, each specializing in specific technological and operational domains. This approach ensures seamless integration with your existing in-house development team.
  3. Performance: The CTO-as-a-service model is a diverse team of consultants, with years of hands-on experience and each an expert in a specific technology and operations area, working as a collective body delivering CTO-grade output. This allows an organization to benefit from a comprehensive and holistic perspective when faced with challenges and opportunities.
  4. Tailored Solutions: Recognizing that one-size-fits-all rarely works in technology, we are committed to manage your team and help deliver a tech solution in line with a plan backed by a business case. It is important that tech not only serves current requirements and regulation, but is also flexible enough for continued evolution. Given the lightning-speed technology evolution we are experiencing, often a project is outdated by the time is completed: that should not discourage of having an outdated 2-year-old system, compared to operating on a 14-year-old outdated system.
  5. Ownership and Independence: we believe in empowering our clients. The solution we help develop is naturally, client’s completely. You’ll have full ownership, ensuring long-term sustainability and independence. Clients retain full control of the developed solutions and receive comprehensive documentation for future management, after we finish our services.
  6. Release & QA framework: Establishment of a methodical approach to release, including Azure deployment infrastructure Blueprint, continuous CI/CD deployment pipelines, codebase management, branching strategies, network topology, data policy, and any infrastructure work required to support the software architecture, following Agile and Kanban framework.
  7. Legacy Systems: Government agencies, corporations and legal entities require CTOs to have a compatibility strategy, where the old and the new integrate securely, are maintained, and exchange data in a streamlined way.
  8. Code Rescue: You may have to move source code from one vendor to another, and for whatever reason, things do not always go according to plan. Just requesting amicably the code back may not be enough — an instance where a thought CTO has to think strategically. Although complex and time-consuming, this collaborative code rescue is a procedure Vesuvio Labs has done multiple times, often with success. However, it takes two to Tango.
  9. AI, the Elephant in the Room: For a forward-thinking CTO, embracing AI isn’t just a fad, is a transformative journey. In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, the operations team can be equipped with AI-powered chatbots that can provide enhanced customer support, answer common questions, or personalize user experiences. On technical terms, AI can help a CTO automate decision-making processes, optimize network traffic, reduce latency, optimize cloud infrastructure spending, data entry, and provide insights/patterns into customer satisfaction cost-effectively, and many others, using ChatGPT.
  10. ESG & Net-zero endeavors: The commitment of a CTO is crucial to help the organization achieve overall sustainability, through innovative workflow design aligned with a holistic conscious effort. Going forward, globally, emissions rules will only tighten. CTOs who convincingly show dedication to real advancement, will foster customer confidence and boost competitiveness throughout the industry.
  11. Transparent Quotation: To kickstart our collaboration, there’s a retainer negotiable and clear from the start. This allows us to delve deep into business operations, liaise with the board, understand the nuances, and chart out the best team management plan tailored for the business.
  12. Venture Builder Capabilities: Beyond technology, our strengths as a venture Builder means we can assist in spinning out and monetizing assets or internal business lines, to derive maximum value. If you ever decide to explore this direction, our expertise will ensure you have higher chances of turning them into profitable ventures.
  13. Common myths: A CTO position does not guarantee 100% project completion, given the multiple variables, as well as internal and external stakeholders; nor its success going live — that can lead to future unmet expectations. Conversely, what is reasonable to say is, a CTO establishes a consistent QA and delivery framework, in line with the board’s strategy. In addition, is the CTO’s role to overcome any challenges that may arise, with commitment and perseverance.

Potential risks are of course inevitable, requiring assessment, mitigation and commitment to overcome any challenges that may arise. For example, any shift in global trade policy, financial cycles, and geopolitical influences.

In conclusion, consider us your outsourced CTO, a skillset-comprehensive model catering to various companies’ sizes, from scaleups to established enterprises. This service offers a blend of executive-level technology oversight and operational expertise, designed to navigate the intricate demands of business, and the ever-evolving landscape of technology, management, and the future of financial services.

Contact: info(at)vesuvio.io

Vesuvio Labs is a professional services firm based in London.

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VESUVIO LABS

Venture Builder, technology governance, DevOps and delivery for the Financial sector, led by @k_feldborg . Curated by Pedro Caetano.