The ICON Team

For any business endeavor to succeed, you need a strong, experienced and committed team.

Strong teams can make mistakes and still build strong companies. Poor teams often can’t.

Indeed, as one marketing expert once told this writer, “VCs often don’t invest in specific products. They invest in teams.”

Being a decentralized network, it can be a bit tricky to talk about an ICON “team.” Of course, ICON’s “team” is its community, and its team of P-Reps in particular.

Still, in any community, some movers and shakers move and shake more than others. ICON is no different in this regard. So let’s take a deeper dive into some of the key personalities and entities in the ICON community.

The ICON Foundation

The ICON Foundation led the development of the ICON network prior to its decentralization, and is arguably still the network’s most important actor, playing an outsized role in promoting the development of the project. It’s also the No. 1-ranked P-Rep.

Key figures in the ICON Foundation include:

  • Min Kim, Founder: Min received an education in business, graduating from UC Berkeley and Columbia Business School. Prior to founding ICON Foundation in July 2017, he had built a 15-year career in the finance and business sector with companies such as Deutsche Bank and DAYLI Financial Group. Two years into the ICON Project, Min also founded the San Francisco Seoul Sister City Committee, which is a non-profit organization with a mission to “strengthen cultural and commercial ties between San Francisco and Seoul. Through enduring friendship, civic engagement, and a shared vision, the committee strives to unite these two global cities together.”
  • Scott Smiley, Strategist: In addition to being an ICON strategist, Smiley is also a co-founder of ICON accelerator ICX Station and decentralized finance platform Balanced, as well as Web3 investment company Lydia Ventures.  Smiley graduated in May 2016 with a Masters of Science in Finance from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Following graduation, he started at Deutsche Bank as a Structured Credit Sales Analyst. After one year of work, he began as a Structured Credit Analyst on the origination side of ABS bonds. He started building a professional network in the blockchain technology industry in early 2017, and began work on the ICON Project in April 2018
  • TJ Hunt, Product Manager and Strategy Associate: A recent graduate with a finance degree from the University of Minnesota, TJ has been an ICON investor since late 2017. When his finance internship was cancelled in the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19, he instead learned python and smart contract score programming on ICON under the tutelage of a few helpful ICON developers. He is focused on core ICON strategy & product management, including improving the Contribution Proposal System (CPS), MyIconWallet coordination, BTP and other ICON-based products. @shikamarumind1
  • Daeki Lee, Head of Ecosystem and Co-Founder, ICX Station: A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Lee helps build out ICON’s ecosystem, largely through his role as co-founder of ICX Station, the U.S.-based blockchain accelerator specializing in ICON projects. He’s participated in several ICON projects himself, most notably DeFi platform Omm Finance. Lee started his career as venture capitalist at TransLink Capital, one of the leading cross border VC funds based in Silicon Valley, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.
  • Elise Shin, Director Of Strategic Communications: The ICON Foundation’s chief communication’s officer joined the team in 2021. A graduate of Yale University, Shin was also the COO and co-foudner of crypto donation platform Reached and an investment associate at blockchain VC Deblock.

ICONLOOP

Seoul-base blockchain company ICONLOOP is ICON’s chief technology partner, responsible for building the blockchain engine that powers the network. ICONLOOP is also responsible for several ICON use cases, including blockchain-power certification platform “broof,” mobile DID platform Zzeung and the upcoming game platform SPERA.

  • Jonghyup Kim, CEO: A graduate of Korea’s prestigious Pohang University of Science and Technology with a degree in computer engineering and science, Kim has been CEO of ICONLOOP since 2017. Prior to this, he spent about two decades in the data security sector, founding security solution BTWorks in 2002. Kim first started working with blockchain technology in 2016, when he began applying blockchain technology to security solutions for banks. LinkedIn
  • Hyeokgon Ryu: CTO: Ryu is an experienced CTO with a long history of working in the internet industry. Skilled in blockchain, embedded software, J2ME, Android, mobile applications and Java, Ryu earned his MS in Computer Science from Pohang University of Science and Technology. He began his career as an engineer at LG Electronics before moving on to become CTO at Infraware Technologies and managing director at SELVAS Healthcare. LinkedIn
  • Junghoon Lee, CSO: Also a director with the ICON Foundation, Lee was formerly a researcher with Woori Financial Group’s strategic planning team. He has a PhD from Seoul National University’s technology management school.
  • Jay Kim, CFO: ICONLOOP’s chief financial officer spent seven years as a manager with PwC before becoming the CFO of Dayli intelligence, a business technology company in the field of artificial intelligence and blockchain services and part of the larger DAYLI Financial Group, one of Korea’s leading fintech companies. He joined ICONLOOP as CFO in 2016, and is also a director with the ICON Foundation. LinkedIn

Yujin Sohn, COO: Sohn got her MBA from NYU, and then joined New York-based online marketing company Oddcast as director of marketing. She then joined Korean internet giant Kakao, where she headed their Indonesia office and was VP of international business development. She was also management director at Kakao’s Singapore-based subsidiary Path Mobile. LinkedIn