Uber’s founding engineer joins Co Waterford start-up

Conrad Whelan is to lead the engineering efforts at Nillion, a company co-founded by entrepreneur Rob Leslie.

 

A Co Waterford-headquartered start-up has pulled off a coup by securing one of Uber’s earliest employees as its founding chief technology officer.

Conrad Whelan has announced he is joining Nillion, a company that has developed a novel cryptographic protocol known as Nil Message Compute (NMC), which offers a new way of approaching decentralised computation and processing that could be the foundation of new web3 or collaborative applications.

Whelan was one of the first five employees at Uber and led the development of the ride-hailing company’s software platform, including building the initial prototype that operated with just one car on the network.

Having joined Uber as its founding engineer in 2010, Whelan continued to lead its engineering efforts until 2016 when he decided to focus on other interests.

Having semi-retired, the Canadian software engineer is now back in business, leading the engineering efforts at Nillion, which he described as being in “rapid build mode”.

Nillion allows a decentralised network of nodes to work together using a non-blockchain technology known as secure multi-party computation (SMPC) to store and process information. The company was founded by Dr Miguel de Vega, who wrote the white paper for the technology, as well as Andrew Masanto, an investor, and Rob Leslie, who serves as its president.

Leslie has already enjoyed considerable success, having previously co-founded Kyckr, a compliance company that listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), and Sedicii, which provides identity and security solutions to prevent financial crime. The latter was previously named by the World Economic Forum as one of its most promising technology pioneers.

“Having Conrad on board is absolutely massive for the project,” Leslie told the Business Post.

“We are absolutely thrilled he has decided to lead our technology team to develop this technology and network. Just having him on the team is a magnet for other engineers to want to join us and build something that has the potential to change the world.”

Whelan said that, having read de Vega’s Nillion white paper, he felt compelled to join the company and lead its engineering efforts.

“At its core, Nillion is a mathematical solution to a long-standing problem – how to efficiently, scalably, securely and verifiably run decentralised computations on decentralised computers in the presence of bad actors.

“The implications of the Nillion innovation are big and the idea behind it was so powerful it literally ripped me out of retirement.”
Source: Business Post

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