"We're building something that levels the playing field" - Ameer, CTO at Cadana.

"We're building something that levels the playing field" - Ameer, CTO at Cadana.

Welcome to the latest edition of Inside Cadana, where we peel back the curtain and get to know the brilliant minds shaping our company. Today, we're thrilled to feature our Chief Technology Officer, Ameer Shujjah, in an insightful conversation about his role, Cadana's mission, and the exciting future of our platform.

Discover how technology serves as the cornerstone of Cadana's mission to empower brilliant minds globally. Ameer sheds light on the transformative role of technology in leveling the playing field, connecting talent with opportunities, and making global opportunities accessible to everyone, irrespective of their geographical location.

Welcome to Inside Cadana! As President, you wear many hats. What's the one unexpected thing you find yourself doing most often in your role?

Every day is another reminder of how much stuff there is to learn! There is a lot of context-switching that I have had to get used to. For each of the areas be it compliance, ops, product, design, finance, or customer success, I lean a lot on my team's know-how and own research to make sure we're on track. It's all about teamwork and figuring things out together.

Cadana exists to empower brilliant people with global opportunities. How does technology play a crucial role in achieving this mission?

Technology is our greatest tool for leveling the playing field. Nowadays, someone from a small town in Pakistan can contribute to the global economy and work alongside people anywhere. At Cadana, we harness technology to simplify the complexities of hiring and payments. This means that when businesses discover talented individuals, bringing them on board and managing their payments becomes effortless. Our mission is to make these global opportunities accessible to brilliant minds everywhere, and technology is the key to making this a reality. It opens doors that were previously closed and connects talent with opportunity, no matter where in the world it's found.

What inspires you about the impact Cadana has on individuals and their careers?

Growing up in a developing country, I've witnessed firsthand the profound impact a good salary can have—not just on the individual, but on their entire family and even the wider community. There are so many smart, hard-working folks out there who just don't get the chances they deserve, simply because of where they were born. What really excites me about Cadana is that we're changing that. We're building something that levels the playing field, giving everyone, no matter where they're from, the same opportunities.
I personally feel very lucky because I managed to come to the US, which opened up many doors for me. But I know there are plenty of people out there who are smarter and more hardworking than me, who just don't have the same opportunities because of where they are. This is what drives me and Cadana: to open up the whole world to them. It's about breaking down barriers and helping people everywhere get a fair shot at making their lives and the lives of those around them better. That's the dream we're working towards every day.

Payroll and compliance can be complex topics. How does Cadana leverage technology to make them transparent and accessible for users?

At Cadana, we prioritize controlling as much of the technology stack as possible. This is particularly important for payroll and compliance, areas where we have had to create our own global HR compliance engine. This framework is incredibly powerful because it enables us to easily update rules and provide clear information to our users. Whenever global taxation or compliance regulations change, our system updates automatically in real-time. This keeps our users always informed, making complex topics like payroll and compliance straightforward and accessible.

Imagine you could fast-forward 5 years. What exciting technological advancements do you see shaping the future of Cadana's platform?

In five years, I see Cadana’s platform being transformed by technology in such a way that geography no longer plays a role in hiring decisions. Global workers will have equal access to financial services, enabling them to earn, spend, save, and invest their money in real time, thanks to the global payments and financial services network we're building. This advancement will revolutionize how people work and manage their finances worldwide, making the global market more accessible and equitable for everyone, regardless of their location.

Security and data privacy are paramount in payroll. How does Cadana ensure their platform meets the highest standards?

Drawing from my experience working at global investment banks, I've witnessed the critical importance of maintaining a compliant system and building trust. Cadana stands out as one of the few startups that achieved SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliance right from its first year. We've successfully recertified three times since then and are on track to gain even more certifications this year, including PCI. This commitment to security and data privacy ensures that our platform meets the highest standards, safeguarding our users' information and maintaining their trust in our services.

Building a world-class tech team requires fostering a dynamic culture. What unique aspects define Cadana's engineering environment?

At Cadana, our engineering environment is shaped by two fundamental principles: ownership and mutual respect. These pillars are the foundation of our system, making our team not just lean, but also exceptionally efficient. Our approach encourages individuals to take full responsibility for their work, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability. This autonomy, however, does not exist in isolation; collaboration and support are integral. Team members are always ready to lend a hand or share their expertise, recognizing the value each person brings to the table. This unique blend of personal responsibility and collective respect creates a dynamic, productive atmosphere that drives innovation and excellence in our engineering practices.

Collaboration is key. How does Cadana encourage effective communication and knowledge sharing between departments?

We hold weekly cross-functional demos. In these sessions, each stakeholder shares their main achievements of the week and receives feedback on ongoing and upcoming projects. This format not only allows for a transparent overview of each department's contributions but also encourages open dialogue, addressing any questions that arise.

What advice would you give to aspiring tech leaders who want to build a strong and diverse team?

Make it a point to explore emerging markets and give opportunities to people there. There's an incredible wealth of talent worldwide, and by not letting location geography dictate your hiring strategies, you open up your team to a diversity of perspectives and skills.

If you weren't a startup founder, what dream career would you pursue, and why?

That’s a tough question since I love what I do, but if I had to pick something else it would be to be an automotive engineer. The engineering behind cars is quite fascinating, would be fun to build one.

If you could teleport your team anywhere for a brainstorming session, where would it be and why?

I have always been obsessed with space and sci-fi since I was a kid, and it finally seems like we might actually be able to go and spend time on the moon during our lifetime, so probably there. The view would provide some extra inspiration.