An Interview with Roland Salloum, COO and Co-Founder of SeedTrust Escrow

Roland S. Salloum, Esq. is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of SeedTrust Escrow. He serves as general counsel for SeedTrust Escrow, Orchid Software Solutions, and SeedCoach Fertility Financial Guidance. Prior to founding SeedTrust, Roland operated his own law firm in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has been practicing law for over 12 years and specializes in contracts pertaining to assisted reproductive arrangements, such as egg donor and gestational surrogacy contracts.

After experiencing his own long-term infertility journey, Roland joined the ART industry and developed an expansive knowledge of collaborative reproductive processes.

How it Began

The idea for SeedTrust came about after a phone call with Edward Brockschmidt, now the CFO and co-founder of SeedTrust. Brock had been a very close friend of mine since our senior year of high school.

In 2015, my wife and I had been experiencing difficulty conceiving our second child for at least four years. We went through just about every fertility treatment you can think of and spent a great deal of money doing so.

I was really struggling with it one night, and I opened up to Brock and told him about what was going on between my wife and me, and what we were dealing with.

At the time, he had his own CPA practice, and two or three of his clients were surrogacy agencies. And he asked, “Hey, have you ever considered surrogacy?” it began a conversation that led to the creation of SeedTrust.

When we started out, it was just the two of us working from our laptops. I mean on our dining room tables. Those first two and a half years were absolutely brutal on Brock and me.

Both of our practices had really just started to take off. I had my own law firm, he had his own CPA firm, and now, we had SeedTrust. Suddenly, we were noticing that SeedTrust was getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

So, much to the dismay of our families, we both shut down our respective practices.

We released the initial SeedTrust online platform in 2017.

And that really changed everything.

Then, we brought on Adam Winder, and he became the face of the company. He took over the marketing and client outreach.

Adam was the one that successfully got SeedTrust into all the industry’s inner circles. In fact, within 3 years of getting involved, he went from not knowing anyone in the industry to being elected the President of SEEDS (Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy).

Solutions for Surrogacy Escrow Frustrations

When we first started, surrogacy escrow was primarily run by attorneys. There was no big nationwide surrogacy escrow company servicing the industry.

Most surrogacy agencies were either holding it in-house or using these attorneys. The attorneys were literally just writing checks once a month at the end of the month and mailing them out to these surrogates, which is time-consuming and outdated. It caused a great deal of delay in getting surrogates and donors reimbursed or paid, which in turn caused a great deal of frustration for the surrogates and donors as they were going through their journeys.

We started noticing there was a common thread. So, we said, “Hey, you know, we know these are the problems that are facing this industry, and we can do this. We can solve these problems.”

One, the delays.

Two, the arcane nature of how they were doing it.

Three, the severe lack of transparency.

Four, the painful lack of technology in the space.

One of the things that set us apart early was our technology. We put everything online and made the whole case file accessible to everybody on the case, 24/7.

They could see their ledgers being updated in real-time. They could see their payment calendars. They could track their Disbursement Requests from submission to payment.

We also brought everything, I guess, kicking and screaming into the direct deposit world.

Then we brought in credit cards.

Slowly but surely, we dragged this industry into the current era of how you do business. And that was revolutionary, you know?

The Proudest Moment

There are times when we sit back and reflect, “Oh my God, you know, we have like, 60 people working for these companies right now. We are supporting 60 families.”

And that is incredible.

One of the proudest moments in my entire life was the fact that during the pandemic, not only did we never furlough anybody, cut anybody’s hours, terminate anybody’s employment, but we actually added staff.

We were hiring all the way through the pandemic and still are. And that was an incredible feat for me.

We had planned so well — our finances, our growth, our corporate strategy. We had planned and planned and planned and done it so well that we withstood a global pandemic that had brought our business to zero for months.

The fact that we could withstand that completely intact was one of the best moments of my entire life and something that the entire SeedTrust leadership team is very proud of. That’s a huge, huge, huge thing.

Setting the Bar for the ART Industry

We want to raise that bar. We want to raise the standards in this industry. We want more oversight. We want higher professional standards across the board. And we do that, one by example, and two, constantly preaching about it and walking the walk. We are hyper-focused on being better today than we were yesterday.

We also want to make sure that we are supporting, lifting up, and enriching the agencies. Because by doing that, we make the experience better for everybody. We strengthen the entire integrity of the ART industry.

You know, at the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships that you’re building, tending, and maintaining to make this company successful. That’s how this company grows — when we develop and foster and nurture these relationships with our agency partners, with our intended parents, with our surrogates, with our donors. When we build that trust and they understand not only are we competent, but we also care.

And for us to succeed means they succeed.

It’s a mission for us. We are dedicated to making the surrogacy journey, the egg donor journey, as stress-free as transparent, and as easy as humanly possible.