Our Team

The Catalyst Team has 21 core members, who can also utilize, as necessary, resources across IOG, allowing the Catalyst Team to dynamically increase or scale back its resource capacity when needed to leverage UI/UX design research, full-stack development, technical and cryptographic research, and product marketing as required.

In combination, the Catalyst leadership and core team have 400+ years of deep technical expertise that enable Cardano to benefit from Catalyst’s decentralized innovation funding programme and innovative voting system. The organizational structure is cross-functional and multidisciplinary in nature, represented across two core teams: Catalyst Core and Fund Administration as illustrated in the following Organizational Chart.

Kriss Baird / Group Product Lead

Kriss joined the Catalyst team in April 2021 as the first Product Owner. He has played a pivotal role in introducing various new features and enhancements to the Catalyst system. These include privacy-preserving voting, project accountability management, Catalyst natives, proof of achievement and milestone-based funding, the design and delivery of ProjectCatalyst.io, and upgrading the Community Review process. Kriss is primarily responsible for overseeing Catalyst's services. He has been involved in the Cardano ecosystem since 2017 and is deeply passionate about fostering startup ecosystems to solve real-world problems. With over a decade of experience, Kriss has a background in design thinking and delivering large-scale funding programs. He previously worked at Innovate UK, the UK Government's innovation agency, where he oversaw 25 iterations of the IC tomorrow digital innovation competition. Through this program, he provided funding and support to numerous startups, facilitating partnerships with industry leaders such as Google Chrome, Samsung, Sony, Intel, and more. Kriss has also held roles as a program manager for Ufi VocTech Trust's social impact digital innovation grant program, business lead for University College London's EDUCATE EdTech Accelerator, and innovation expert-in-residence at Imperial College London's Enterprise Hub.

Daniel Ribar / Product Manager

Daniel has over 17 years of high performance track record in customer experience and business operations. He is passionate about empowering people worldwide through innovation, which began when he used bitcoin to pay his college rent in 2013. In March 2021, he joined the Catalyst team after making significant contributions to Project Catalyst by building community dashboards since program’s inception (Sep 2020). As a community liaison and efficient operator, he builds bridges between products, services, users, and communities. Outside of Catalyst, he has been involved in the Cardano ecosystem for over 5 years in roles such as a stakepool operator, Cardano ambassador, and moderator. In addition, he curated experiences for global travelers as general manager of the renowned Remote Year program. Also built operational stack for a Czech student real estate investment group where he then served as a general manager & partner. He also led a startup for young working professionals, which became the country's largest flat sharing network with over 80,000 members throughout Europe. He successfully exited these ventures to focus full-time on Cardano.

Steven Johnson / Lead Architect

Steven joined Project Catalyst in 2022 as the Lead Architect. With a background as a Software Engineer since the late 80s, he has extensive experience in architecting both hardware and software systems since the early 90s. Steven has led the systems architecture of various large-scale projects in the Gaming and Wagering industry, including casino-wide monitoring systems, jackpot systems, financial auditing systems, LED display systems, and privacy-preserving routers. He has designed systems for notable organizations such as Conrad Casinos, IGT, Jupiters Limited, Queensland TAB, Max Gaming, and Mikohn Gaming, with implementations in Australia, USA, and Canada. Steven possesses a broad range of expertise, including embedded hardware, communication systems, real-time operating systems, kernel development, virtual machines, applied cryptography, and blockchain technology. He has founded multiple successful companies and holds patents in time-based statistical methods for jackpot prize awarding across various territories. His diverse interests have also led him to contribute to several open-source projects, including GDB (GNU Debugger) and the ZFS file system.

Sasha Prokhorenko / Software Engineering Lead

Sasha has been a driving force behind software development at Catalyst since joining the company in 2022. As an accomplished Software Engineering Lead, he brings over ten years of experience building cutting-edge software products for renowned clients such as PepsiCo, Liberty Global, and Philip Morris International.

He has successfully guided cross-functional teams through all stages of the software development process, from ideation and design to implementation and deployment.

Sasha's comprehensive expertise spans across multiple programming languages and frameworks such as Rust, Flutter/Dart, Swift, and others, enabling him to leverage the most suitable tools and technologies for each project. His deep understanding of software engineering principles and best practices enables him to drive innovation and efficiency in development processes, ensuring optimal productivity and streamlined workflows.

Sasha's passion for software engineering extends beyond his professional role. He actively participates in industry conferences, stays engaged with the developer community, and contributes to open-source projects.

Lorenzo Bruno / Product Design Lead

Lorenzo joined Project Catalyst in 2022 as Product Design Lead overseeing Governance Tools for Project Catalyst and Voltaire. He is deeply passionate about human behavior and behavioral science, and uses this knowledge to shape products. He is driven by the conviction that digital products, if designed with context and purpose, can simplify and improve people’s lives dramatically. Since joining Project Catalyst he provided support in structuring a more robust product design process which keeps user needs and data at the forefront of the decision making process. This has allowed the team to think in new ways about providing measurable and consistent value to users by fostering collaboration as a key element of the catalyst design process supported by catalyst dedicated tools. Throughout his time in the team he helped collate an incredible amount of insights the team gathered over 9 successful funds into an actionable discovery which led to immediate improvements in the catalyst experience and helped shape the vision for project catalyst as a simplified and unified set of tools to support the catalyst community in the innovation process. He has over 12 years of hands-on experience on each step of the full product lifecycle, from concept to delivery, as well as in marketing and business. Over his career this experience helped him deliver successful products as well as lead teams of different experts. He created successful products for global brands such as KraftHeinz, MotoGP, Vodafone, American Express, Audemar Piguet, Universal, NBC and Dufry still used today by hundred of thousands of users.

Mike Mcnulty / Product Owner

Mike joined the Catalyst team in September 2021 as Product Owner for the Catalyst Mobile App and backend infrastructure. He has played a key role in implementing new features like continuous snapshot, dreps / delegation, and various incentives upgrades, while continuously refining the voting experience based on user feedback. Mike’s deep roots in the community have led him to champion community-first initiatives, like end-to-end auditability and the Catalyst continuous testnet, that help to promote decentralization and accelerate community development efforts. He is passionate about distributed collaboration and digital self-sovereignty, and he sees Catalyst as a testing ground for tools that can help solve coordination problems at a global scale. Prior to joining the IOG Catalyst team, Mike was an active contributor in the Catalyst community, leading the first-ever community retrospective, and helping grow some of the earliest sub-communities. Before that, he served Fortune 100 clients in the financial services sector as a management consultant at Accenture. In that role, he helped lead large digital transformations to optimize enterprise workflows at scale, as well as small experimental pilots to improve agent work quality and efficiency using ML/AI-based decision-assist tools.

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