What began as a vision shared by two university friends to equalize financial access across geographies, races, and religions, has since transformed into a company with a global footprint, servicing thousands of clients in over 130 countries around the world. Founded in 2018, Ledn is a full-service financial services company, with a focus on Bitcoin and digital assets, and a mission to make financial services equal to everybody, everywhere.
Adam Reeds, Ledn’s Co-Founder & CEO, met Mauricio Di Bartolomeo, Ledn’s Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, back in their university days, and preliminary discussions around the stark contrasts of financial accessibility across the globe were sparked. Adam was born and raised in Canada and Mauricio grew up in Venezuela and, while they had many similar interests, they came from two different worlds: one where financial accessibility was the norm, and one where it was not. From these conversations, and their respective upbringings and life experiences, Ledn was born.
Company growth and office space go hand in hand
From underwriting Canada’s first bitcoin-backed loan in 2018 to announcing the first bitcoin-backed mortgage in 2022, Ledn has experienced significant growth and its journey with office space has followed a similar trajectory. As the company moved through different phases of rapid growth, its office spaces became unsustainable and, in turn, its office space needs shifted significantly. From humble beginnings in Adam Reeds’ apartment headquarters back in 2018, to progressing into a shared working space with eight desks on Bay Street, fast forward to the present to Ledn moving into its new space on King St. West in Toronto.
With the onset of the pandemic came Ledn’s most prominent growth phase. Having a strong focus on security as it relates to technology and being an early adopter of the remote-first culture, Ledn was able to lean into these strengths and maintain a successful remote-work environment. Throughout 2020, the company’s volumes grew substantially, and the team continued to innovate on the product side as the world went digital and an increased interest in digitally building financial wealth surfaced. In 2021, Ledn encountered a pivotal moment – the company was still experiencing fast-paced growth and had just closed its Series A round, raising $30 million, and Adam realized that to maintain and scale this growth, “We’re definitely going to need a bigger boat.”
The formula for the perfect office space
With the pandemic and this sporadic growth phase under the company’s belt, the decision to occupy a larger office space was not one the team took lightly; when it came down to envisioning the space that Ledn would eventually move into, the team wanted to acknowledge and apply their roots to their future office space. For them, an office space is more than a place where employees come to work – it should encourage collaboration, offer opportunities for cross-business learning, and inspire creativity.
Staying true to the company’s mission to make financial services accessible for its clients around the globe and to give them a great experience throughout the process, Adam wanted to apply the same thought process to Ledn’s physical office space. The company began with six people, working around a table, joking, laughing and getting to know one another, and the camaraderie that was built and fostered couldn’t be replicated virtually, leading to Ledn’s decision to stay true to its values and endeavour to find an office space that could meet the needs of its future workforce.
During the search process, Ledn’s space needs shifted quite dramatically as the company continued to grow at an accelerated pace. With a line of sight on a bright, modern space, and working with Colliers' David Stern, Ledn was able to find a turnkey space in the downtown core. Forging a relationship with an innovative, forward-thinking landlord, Ledn secured its beautiful new office at 225 King Street.
A physical office space is much more than just having a presence; it’s about location, proximity, and accessibility, and being close to places that employees may want to go before, during, and after work as the work-from-home era continues to demand more from the office than just a desk and a water cooler. When looking for office space, Adam wanted to ensure that the office was convenient, and somewhere that his team felt comfortable and excited to come to, but he also wanted to ensure the office felt different from working at and being at home. Ledn’s leadership team also understands that different people need or want to be in the office for different reasons and providing teams with the flexibility to choose when they come in and empowering them to craft their workdays to work with their schedules is key to a productive and inclusive environment. Adam continues, "My grandfather always said that you put a lot of time into what you’re doing while you’re working, so you better enjoy it. And, I want everyone to enjoy it.”
Among the unique characteristics of Ledn’s new office location is its proximity to up-and-coming tech firms and the vibrancy of the neighbourhood itself. From their new space, Ledn employees can also see Bay Street and the very industry that Ledn is disrupting, the traditional finance sector, and that ethos translates into numerous prongs that impact Ledn’s office experience, including office attire: “We don't have to look like the old world because we're not building the old world; we're building the new world,” says Adam.
Making an impact, staying connected, and planning for the future
So much of Ledn’s growth journey is centred around helping its clients build digital wealth on a global scale and making strides against its mission to equalize accessibility to financial services. While Ledn is headquartered in Toronto, which is an international business hub in itself, encouraging collaboration across regions and maintaining interconnectivity with colleagues and clients across the globe is crucial to Ledn’s business model. To drive connectivity, Ledn has implemented an array of initiatives, like introducing a 90-day “work-from-anywhere" program to encourage team members to visit locations where their colleagues are located and implementing technology within the office to enhance connection and collaboration across teams and geographies.
When it comes to Ledn’s future, the team is focused on becoming even more diverse from a geographical perspective, making their platform more accessible and easier to use, and continuing to innovate on the product side. By thinking differently, making the intangible, tangible, and fostering an inclusive and flexible work environment, Adam and Mauricio are leading this industry-disrupting organization into the future with big plans.