Interview with Mr. Sergey Samusev, Co-Founder of Startup Embassy

Interview with Mr. SergeySamusev, Co-Founder of Startup Embassy

1. Thank you very much for your time and contributing to Startup Community in Silicon Valley, please tell about your background.

My name is Sergey, and I’m a co-founder of Startup Embassy. I’ve studied economics and business at university, and have worked in digital advertising and business operations at Google for past 7.5 years, both in Europe and in Silicon Valley. I’ve also had some startup projects of my own, they were my best lessons so far. My co-founder, Carlos, was a telecommunications engineer in Spain, and later became a tech entrepreneur and moved to Silicon Valley. We both met at Startup Embassy, which was at that time also his own office and home.

2. Please explain your project and how did you started Startup Embassay?

It started with a failure, like many things in Silicon Valley. In 2011, my co-founder came to Silicon Valley from Spain to run his startup. To save on rent, he started sharing the house with other entrepreneurs. His startup failed a year later, but his house was full of entrepreneurs following their dreams. This is how he found himself running a ‘Hacker House’, which he named Startup Embassy. A couple years later, after hundreds of guests went through the house, Carlos started to notice that some founders started to get good business traction. That’s when he realized that what he was doing something bigger than just running a house with 4 bedrooms.

3. What is unique about your Startup Embassy?

I like to think it’s the culture inside. You’re always surrounded by like-minded motivated entrepreneurs who are willing to help and inspire each other. This matters a lot to people who’re here to build their companies. And we do everything to support them and to make sure they feel at home. Most people remain good friends long after they leave the place.

4. What kind of entrepreneurs live there?

We’re open to any entrepreneurs working on innovative and unique ideas. There’s a range of entrepreneurs we host – some are just playing with their first idea, some had past success and now building their next thing. Most of them are of course tech based, since this is Silicon Valley. Our guests come from variety of countries and have very diverse backgrounds and experience. This helps to ensure that everyone can learn something new and useful from each other.

5. Why Palo Alto?

You shouldn’t be asking this question you know 😉 Ok, within 10 mins walk you have people who founded and leading Facebook, Apple, Google, as well as founders and investors of the hottest startups out there. Stanford campus is 20 mins walk. San Francisco has even more startups, but we’re just a 1 hour away by train, and weather in Palo Alto is much better 🙂 I recommend Steve Blank’s guide to get a better sense of different parts of Silicon Valley: https://steveblank.com/visitors-guide.

6. How do you get so many entrepreneurs from around the world? Whats the ambassador system?

Most founders who stay once come back, and they also help to spread the word. But of course new founders also find us through social media, search, press, and things like that.

We review every application and only accept people working on startups or something very venture in nature. After our guests leave, they become our alumni (we call them ‘ambassadors’) and continue having access to the community. Since we’re still not very big, most ambassadors we know personally and we’re always happy to see them and and introduce people to each other whenever we can. Our ambassadors also keep in touch and help each other back in their home cities.

7. How do you make money?

Today we charge our guests per night for their stay. Our prices are much cheaper than any hotels in the area, since our guests sleep in shared bedrooms. But the benefit is that they have a fully equipped kitchen, office space and living room, laundry – all open 24/7. Our WiFi works everywhere too and you can walk to most places in Palo Alto in minutes. But our model is still evolving and we’re experimenting with a number of new ideas and services in the future. Our goal is to always stay affordable for early stage founders and provide value to startup community.

8. How do you help startups?

Besides providing them with a place that feels like home and has the right culture, we don’t promise anything else. But people who are doing the right thing here can get so much more. First, our guests and broader community support each other. You can always ask person sitting next to you or just message people in a slack channel, and you’ll have someone reaching out to you. Our team also spends time with all our guests, and if we see a way to help them with feedback, ideas or connections in the valley, we always do. And sometimes stories like this happen: https://vimeo.com/240656341.

Blockchain meetup at night at Startup Embassy

9. What’s your vision?

We’re building a 2nd home for entrepreneurs with HQ in Silicon Valley, that involves both specific physical environment and community inside. We’re only in Palo Alto today, but I think in the future this is something that can scale to every large startup ecosystem out there.

10. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners in Silicon Valley or another cities around the world.

If your mission is to support entrepreneurs in your country and help founders get on a global stage, we’d love to hear from you and see you visit us in Palo Alto.

Let me us a quote from late Stephen Hawking, whose life and work are a huge inspiration for me personally and many entrepreneurs I know:

 

Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.

Startup Embassy on Social Media

Instagram 

Facebook

 

Mr. Masashi Machisda, Founder of grownUp from Panasonic R&D of America

Interview with Mr. Masashi Machisda, Founder of grownUp from Panasonic R&D of America (Silicon Valley)

‘grownUp is a C2C platform that allows older adults to mentor younger adults who are seeking advice and perspectives on their life decision’

1.  Whats your name, and please tell about your background

My name is Masashi Machida, a founder of grownUp from Panasonic R&D of America.

I have 10 years’ experience as IP attorney. At that time, I realized how important not only technology and IP but also business concepts, so that I have learned and practiced 3 years’ experience to create business concepts through Design thinking. I also won startup competition in Japanese Business school.

 

2. Please explain your project and how did you started?

grownUp is a C2C platform that allows older adults to mentor younger adults who are seeking advice and perspectives on their life decision. We started it around a year ago from Draper Acceleration Program, and we’re going to launch in public in this April.

 

3. What is unique about your solution?

Our successful solution is C2C posting system, which decrease users’ work greatly to find out mentors. Over 500 mentors respond within 24 hours as soon as mentees post their concern to our platform, then they can connect with appropriate mentors confirming comments from the mentors and their profile info. Namely mentees don’t require a lot of work to find out specific mentor compared to the searching system, and get excited by receiving mentors’ comments at once

 

4. What is your vison?

My vision is to prevent baby boomers declining self-esteem, making them happier.

Human’s self-esteem is decreasing at the peak of around 50 years old, however many companies focus on only senior like over 75 years old. We need to pay attention to people at an earlier stage, who are baby boomers like 50-70 years old.

5. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them? What is your unique insight?

We have 2 types of customers, who are older adults as mentors and younger adults as mentees.

As for mentors, we figured out essential key element to energize baby-boomers through lots of user interviews. It’s an intergenerational relationship. Before the interview we thought their pains are loneliness and anxiety about the future. However, they are totally different. They want to become being more active, fun and networking. The strongest gain was intergenerational relationship.

They want to connect and guide young generation and guide them.

On the other hand, how about younger adults? We found out that they wanted to leverage other’s insights to make life decisions, especially they need years and years experiences in the field of work-life balance such as good balance between family time and working time, health wellness consisted of life-style, productive and healthy career in your life. Their career and life goal shouldn’t be separated.

 

6. How big is your market?

Our market is $8.7bn. if we get 15% available share that’s $1.3bn. This is only US market. We can cross the border and approach other countries.

7. How does your product actually work?

8. What is your business model?

The business model is simple, users will pay for communications with good mentors. We can get 20% commission fee from them.

 

9. What is your go-to-market strategy? Why now?

We’re planning to get first customers at metropolitan suburbs in California, Texas and Georgia because these areas are common to respond through digital ad tests between mentors and mentees. We already have over 500 mentors that women are around 70% of them, so we’ll focus on the work-life balance topics related to working mother.

 

10. Who are your competitors and how are you different?

Regarding to competitors, in the life coaching field, there are almost individual or small private companies but they are not platformer like grownup. About a mentoring service, a lot of companies focus on professional career or education but these’re not life experience. Further totally we differentiate UX we provide from the competitors. As I mentioned, that’s our c2c posting system.

11. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners in Silicon Valley or another cities around the world.

Potential partners are AARP, Senior living communities and some startups like Stitch focused on baby boomers. WeWork and other coworking and sharing space companies will be potential partners when we’ll create in-person mentoring system next year.

Mr. Tsuyoshi Fukuya, CEO of WEFABRIK Inc.

Interview with Mr. Tsuyoshi Fukuya, CEO of WEFABRIK Inc. 

‘Creating the value that will lead the way to the future’

1. Whats your name, and please tell about your background.

My name is Tsuyoshi Fukuya, and Im CEO of WEFABRIK.
I worked at a large textile trading company called “Takisada Osaka” in Japan for about 10 years. At the company I became aware that I planned and produced so much inventory and was then left with much wasted product. At this time, I came to know the truth about waste in the fashion industry, and that it exceeds 80 millions tons every year.

2. Please explain your startup and how did you started?

After my resignation from the above company, I started a business and B2B global platform called SMASELL, that will connect companies that want to dispose of their inventory with companies who want to buy clothes that are in stock at a discounted price.

3. Whats your role of your startup now?

My role is as CEO of the company, and I aim to follow my vision in creating a sustainable recycling society that benefits everyone in the world.

4. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?

Our customers are companies in the fashion industry around the world.
We want to solve problems related to inventory and waste in the industry.

5. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?

Our business model is unique in that companies who want to dispose of their inventory can sell their product to hundreds of potential buyers online within just minutes.

6. How does your product actually work?

Our platform is just like an online free market site, through which every company in the fashion industry can buy and sell to clear or expand their inventories. There are functions that allow buyers to negotiate prices and quantities to sellers directly, or they can also order samples in order to check the quality of products.

7. How big is your market?

The market size of inventory in the fashion industry is $100 billion.

8. What is your business model?

Our business model is a sharing economy, in that every company can share their unnecessary inventory with companies who want to buy them.

9. What is your go-to-market strategy? Why now?

Our strategy is to be the industry’s first such business model, so we will pioneer from the top ten companies in each industry, aim for oligopolization, and take the top share of the industry.

10. Who are your competitors and how are you different?

Our chief competitor is Inturn. Our difference with them is that you can sell bulk lot stocks at once and you can buy and sell from the Asian market, globally.

11. What is your vision, your true North?

Our vision is creating a sustainable recycling-oriented society for the future of mankind, for the future environment by sharing global stocks among countries and companies that need other companies’ stocks as resources.

Osaka Office

12. Congratulations! Your startup is selected in TOP20 startups by Japanese government, to send to Silicon Valley. So When will you be here and what are your plans?

Thank you Mr. John and the Japanese government for choosing us.
We are aiming to have American apparel companies make products by using the inventory of fabrics which the worldwide companies have left in China and ASEAN in large quantities through the course of this year.
By doing so, we can not only lower the cost of the sales ratio for apparel companies, but also become environmentally friendly, making it possible to connect to CSR.

Ill be joining your #StartupFire at 42 Silicon Valley on 15th of February. Please come see me in the event.

13. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners, clients, and investors in Silicon Valley.

We are looking for distributors to customers of the textile fashion industry in the USA.We are also looking for investors who can invest 50 million dollars in our business.

Ms. Joanna Yu, Founder and CEO of Humm.ly.

Interview with Ms. Joanna Yu, Founder and CEO of Humm.ly.

‘the first and only music therapy informed wellness app’

 

1. What’s your name, and please tell about your background.

My name is Joanna Yu. I am the founder and CEO of Humm.ly. I have an education background in Mathematics and music therapy, and I was a recording artist and actress in China.

2. Please explain your startup and how did you started?

Humm.ly is the first and only music therapy informed wellness app that combines music therapy, meditation, mindfulness, and customizable features to support people in achieving a healthier quality of life. I envisioned creating a healing platform using music when I witnessed the power of music with my own father and Alzheimer’s patients at CPMC. Music can transform wellness for a variety of individuals, and I wanted to create a high-quality, accessible product to meet a variety of wellness needs.

3. What’s our role of your startup now?

Currently, I am the CEO of Humm.ly, assigning daily tasks for the team and strategizing future growth of the company.

4. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?

My target clients are busy and stressed individuals who want to find peace, as well as employers that want to improve their employees’ wellness. Humm.ly has over 100 episodes that combine meditation and techniques from the field of music therapy to empower their wellness practice. Our content encourages listeners to be in the present moment and guides them through common challenging psychological states such as anxiety, grief, and burnout, empowering them to reach a relaxed mental and physiological state.

5. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?

Humm.ly content is created and supervised by a professional, educated, and experienced team of board-certified music therapists, language pathologists, world-class music producers, and ivy-league software engineers. The Humm.ly mobile app offers unique and customizable music therapy informed episodes at a reasonable price. Content is accessible for all environments and dynamic enough to meet the needs of anyone seeking relaxation and improved quality of life.

6. How does your product actually work?

The music and mindfulness processes utilized in our product are grounded in research and practice from the field of music therapy. Humm.ly’s guided narration and music are composed to complement each other, and customizable features such as balance and reverb provide an exceptional experience for users. Through consulting with board-certified music therapists and utilizing their knowledge and extensive education, we can ensure that the music therapy principles within our episodes are implemented appropriately. When combined, music and guided meditation can facilitate people’s healing process. Humm.ly provides powerful content for users to customize their wellness practice, employing the expertise of experienced board-certified music therapists so that evidenced based music therapy practices are more accessible than ever before.

7. How big is your market?

Right now, mental wellness is a $3.72 trillion dollar global industry, experiencing 10.6% growth each year.  Around 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions, making it one of the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide. According to market analyses, the fastest growing wellness sectors from 2013-2015 were preventative (+23.5%), and fitness, mind, and body (+21.5%). These are the two areas Humm.ly is focusing on. Both markets alone brought almost $1 trillion dollars of revenue in 2015. Moreover, workplace wellness alone earned $43.4 billion dollars of revenue in 2015. Humm.ly targets people of all demographics, primarily focusing on those in the U.S and China markets.

8. What is your business model?

Our business model consists of subscriptions (monthly $8.99/mo and yearly $5.99/mo) and B2B sales.

9. What is your go-to-market strategy?

Our market strategy includes creating wellness partnerships with corporations, brands, and other wellness focused sites.

10. What is your vision, your true North?

We envision that within the next 2 years, Humm.ly will become an international wellness brand for personal care. Our goal is to educate the public about the power of clinical music therapy, and creating music therapy informed content that is accessible to individuals who are not in a clinical context. The music therapy profession small and still growing. Humm.ly wants to support and provide the field of music therapy with more resources to conduct research and empower music therapists in their practice.

11. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners, clients, and investors in Silicon Valley.

Now is the time to raise awareness of mental wellness and provide tools informed by music therapy principles. Music is one of the most powerful mediums we know of. Please join Humm.ly in supporting people everywhere to improve their quality of life!  

Like our Facebook page♪

Dr. Hiroshi Ochi, CEO of Radrix Co., Ltd

Interview with Dr. Hiroshi Ochi, CEO of Radrix Co., Ltd

‘ Industrial Wireless LAN system’

1. Whats your name, and please tell about your background.

My name is Hiroshi Ochi. I received B.S. (1981) and M.S.(1984) from Nagaoka Inst. of Tech as well as Ph.D. (1991) from Tokyo Metropolitan University all in electronics engineering. I was with University of the Ryukyus from 1986 to 1999 as an assistant and associate professor. From 1999, I am with Kyushu Institute of Technology as a professor in computer and electronics engineering department. I received a MBA degree from Kyushu University in 2007. I also have started  Radrix co.ltd as a CEO. I organized APCCAS2014 international conference as a general chair. My research interests including signal processing, wireless communication, LSI design and technology management.

2. Please explain your startup and how did you started?

I have always believed that research results done in the university should not remain in the university but should also be adopted in the market. For this specific reason, the Japanese government has allowed national university faculty members to be able to launch their own venture companies since 2002. This is also how I started Radrix in year 2005.

logo of Radrix 

3. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?

Our core competence technology is wireless communication system design. Hence, we provide many system design solutions as well as design IP for chip design.

4. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?


Radrix and Kyushu Inst. of Tech. have been collaborating together in Wireless LAN IEEE802.11 standardization activities since 2007. During this time, two of our technical proposals have been accepted in IEEE802.11ac standard while one proposal has been accepted in IEEE802.11ax. This proves that we are an accomplished engineering company for wireless LAN chip design. For business point of view, we focus on industry Wireless LAN system design for the time being.

 5. How does your product actually work?


Conventional industry wireless LAN systems are just based on regular WiFi systems and as such cannot replace wired industrial Ethernet such as Profinet by Siemens, CC-Link by Mistubishi, and Mechatrolink by Yaskawa among others. Our newly developed industry Wireless LAN system is the world’s 1st design which can be compatible with those wired Ethernet.

6. How big is your market?

Industrial Ethernet market is increasing with 20% annual growth. Market size is expected to grow to about 60 Billion USD in 2022. If we can grab  5 % of the industrial Ethernet market, it means a revenue of 3 Billion USD.

https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/news/global-industrial-ethernet-market

6. What is your business model?


At 1st stage, we are willing to sell both IP and FPGA board for robot manufacturing companies. Then for the 2nd stage, we will fabricate our own chips which is the reason we do need additional investments.

7. What is your go-to-market strategy? Why now?

Due to Industrial 4.0, factories have introduced IT in their operations. In particular, there is interest for IoT for big data analysis applications. Today, there is also a strong demand to control robots wirelessly. But, there is still no solution. So, we can acquire first-mover advantage if we go to market now. We would like to collaborate with industrial robot manufacturers and provide the next generation robot that has wireless control compatibility with wired Ethernet.

8. Who are your competitors and how are you different?

Generally, a wireless system has to use a commercial wireless chip. However commercial wireless chips have limited performance. So this way, we cannot satisfy the high specification demanded for industrial robots wireless control systems. That’s why we can build industrial wireless system with higher performance compared to other companies such as Siemens, Phoenix Contact, Mitsubishi.

9. What is your vision, your true North?

Our vision is to make innovations for industrial wireless communication and robot control. Some of the biggest problems for Industrial robot manufacturers are costs such as expensive maintenance fees, necessity of exclusive cables and inflexibility of robots settings. We aim to solve these problem by replacing industrial Ethernet cable to wireless transmission in the same way as Ethernet cable replaced by wireless LAN in past 20 years. This replacing contributes to revitalization of the whole market due to price reduction will be promoted.

10. Congratulations! Your startup is selected in TOP20 startups by Japanese government, to send to Silicon Valley. 

Thank you very much! We are very much honored to have been selected. We will visit Silicon Valley from 2/15 to 2/19. We are looking for industrial robot manufacturers who develop industrial wireless system as partners. The United States has great industrial robot companies, and is one of the biggest markets for industrial robots.

Our CTO will be joining your #StartupFire at 42 Silicon Valley on 15th of February. Please join the event.

11. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners, clients, and investors in Silicon Valley.

We are about to unveil the world’s first industrial wireless system and we need you to make this product out into the market. If you do business related with industrial robot manufacturing, let us explore how we may be able to work together in the future.

 

<English>
Radrix Co., Ltd. is a university-originated venture company from Kyushu Institute of Technology. We designs and develops digital wireless communication systems including wireless LAN.
Factories that utilize industrial robots has needs to use wireless communication to connect robots to controller. Some of the biggest problem for Industrial robot manufacturers are costs such as expensive maintenance fees, necessity of exclusive cables and inflexibility of robot settings. These problem can be solve by instating wireless transmission. However, currently, there is still no wireless solution. Therefore, we aim to develop wireless industrial robots.
Generally, a wireless system has to use a commercial wireless chip. However commercial wireless chips have limited performance. So this way cannot satisfy the high specifications for industrial robots. Our unique point is developing wireless system with our own wireless chip. So we can build a high performance industrial wireless system. Manufacturers can eliminate this limitation by using our wireless solution.
For this product, basic research has been done. We are making the prototype now. We would like to work with industrial robot manufacture in Silicon Valley who has spirit of challenge.

<日本語>
株式会社レイドリクスは九州工業大学発ベンチャー企業であり,無線LANなどのディジタル無線通信システムの設計開発を行っています.
産業用ロボットを利用している工場では,ロボットとコントローラ間を無線で通信したいといったニーズがあります.産業用ロボットメーカが抱えている大きな問題はコストであり,高額なメンテナンス費,高価な専用ケーブル費,またロボット設置の柔軟性の低さが挙げられます.これらの問題は無線通信を使用することで解決できますが,現在のところ,無線ソリューションは存在しません.そこで,私たちは産業用ロボットの無線化を目指しています.
一般的に,無線システムの開発には市販の無線チップを使用する必要がありますが,市販の無線チップの性能には限りがあります.したがって,この方法では産業用ロボットの求める要求仕様を満たすことは出来ません.弊社の特徴として,弊社独自の無線チップを用いた無線システム設計を行うことができ,高性能の産業用無線システムの開発が可能となります.これにより,私たちの製品を使用することで,産業用ロボットメーカはシステムの無線化を行うことが出来ます.
本製品に関して基礎研究は終了しており,現在プロトタイプの設計中です.シリコンバレーのチャレンジ精神あふれる産業用ロボットメーカと共同開発などで協働したいと考えています.

1)投資家向けメッセージ:どのようなバリューがあるか

産業用イーサネットの市場は年間20%の成長率で成長しており,2022年に約60USD Billionと予想されています.現在、無線化のニーズはありますが,技術的な問題で無線化できていないのが現状です.私たちの開発費をサポートして頂ければ、このうち5%を無線化が可能になり、3USD Billionの市場を獲得できます.

2)事業会社・パートナー企業向けメッセージ:どのようなパートナーシップが可能か

産業用イーサネット(クラスC※)の無線化を実現している企業はまだ無く,弊社の技術を使ってパートナー様のロボットを無線化し,一緒に業界のパイオニアになりましょう.

クラスCは産業用イーサネットの中でもっとも早い制御速度が要求されるクラス

 

Mr.Tuomo Isokivijärvi, CEO of StepOne Tech Ltd.

Interview with Mr.Tuomo Isokivijärvi, CEO of StepOne Tech Ltd.

‘CleanTech helps the world by reducing the use of fossil fuels’

1. Whats your name, and please tell about your background. 

My name is Tuomo Isokivijärvi. And yes, I do know it’s a hard name for anyone out of Finland to pronounce. I am a 29 entrepreneur from Tampere, Finland. I have M.Sc. in Administrative Science and I have also studied some economics and environmental policies. I worked in many different companies in various fields through out my life. I find most interesting to find solutions for more sustainable life on this planet.

2. Please explain your startup and how did you started?

Our first startup to finish a market ready product is StepOne Tech Ltd. We develop bioethanol upgrades for gasoline powered vehicles. Name of the product is eFlexFuel. The idea was born 5 years ago with few of my friends and now I can say for sure that we have the most cutting-edge solution in this state of art.Cars and road traffic are a major polluter. This needs to be changed”

3. Whats your role of your startup now?

I am the one to interact with the outside world. We need partners in the distribution and sales and that’s what I am trying to do now globally. Back in Finland I have been taking care also of the finance and the legislative process for eFlexFuel to enable a larger scale implementation of our concept.

4. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?

Our customer can be anyone that has a gasoline powered car. The idea is that you don’t need to wealthy to contribute in the fight against climate change. Actually, with eFlexFuel you need only a few hundred bucks to decrease your negative environmental impact of driving a combustion engine powered car significantly.

 

5. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?

Our solution has a simple, yet totally different approach in the field of environmentally friendly transportation. You don’t need to buy a new car to make a change. You just upgrade your current car to use bioethanol instead of gasoline. All done with an affordable electronic device that you just install to your car. Cheap and easy.

There are some close to similar solutions on the market, but we have tested competitive edge over these solutions. With eFlexFuel you can for example use any mixture of bioethanol and regular gasoline, you get more power and torque with bioethanol and you can also follow the operation of your car with our free mobile app.

6. How does your product actually work?

eFlexFuel will be installed into the engine compartment of a gasoline vehicle. This can be done by either a car mechanic or by the driver him/herself with adequate skills. During the installation, three major components are being added to the car: ethanol sensor, control unit and a wiring harness. Installation typically takes around 1 to 2 hours so nothing too complex.

eFlexFuel – all you need to quit using fossil fuels

7. How big is your market?

Market for more sustainable transportation is huge. The whole world is in a transition towards fossil fuel free economy. The transition is going to be slow and last for decades. We need all possible solutions to get there. And more importantly, we need affordable solutions for the masses. A rough estimation is that we have about 500 million gasoline vehicles globally that are located in places you can already buy bioethanol. In the USA this number is roughly at 100 million cars that could be upgraded for bioethanol with our product.

8. What is your business model?

Our business model is to provide the best bioethanol upgrade for your car. You get a safe, affordable and fully automatic experience with changing to biofuel. We sell directly B2C via our webstore eflexfuel.com globally. Our goal however, is to find strong partners from all our primary market areas. There partners could be of various kinds of companies that do business in automotive aftermarket business. Our partners get to sell the best technology available, customers get a trustable party to purchase the kit and installation from (if needed) and we get more coverage and more sales.

8. What is your go-to-market strategy?Why now?

Now is the time for all the solutions that can contribute into cutting the total fossil CO2 emissions. Why? Because we could still make a difference and every action counts.

Our go to market strategy is to find the right people or parties in the chosen market that can join our team or help us to connect with the right distribution or retail companies we need.

9. Who are your competitors and how are you different?

We have several very important things we do differently compared to our competitors. Firstly, we have developed eFlexFuel not to be the cheapest to make but the best for the end customer to use. This is why our product has the technology that the other products lack. For example, we’re the only solution which you can monitor real time with a mobile app. Secondly, we have a holistic approach towards the concept. We always check the details of our customer’s car and provide just the right product and accessories which that particular car or installation needs. Thirdly, we have the cleanest emissions possible and we develop the product further all the time.

10. What is your vision?

My vision is that nobody won’t have to use fossil fuels for having affordable transportation.

11. So now you are in  Silicon Valley. Whats your plans here?

My plans are to learn new more about the US market as a whole. What approach do we need? How does the market work? What do we need to do in order to make sure our product has the perfect market fit? Of course, it is also nice to see new places and to meet new people and get new experiences.

12. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners, clients, and investors in Silicon Valley.

If you have contacts in the automotive aftermarket business, don’t hesitate to contact me. If you’re interested in helping us to expand on the US market and you have ideas, let’s meet. If you too want to make fossil fuels useless in long run, let’s work something out!

Visit our website here.

Follow our Facebook page here.

Watch our video on You-tube here.

Please contact me directly.

Tuomo Isokivijärvi  CEO of StepOne Tech Ltd.

tuomo@steponetech.fi

+358447861266
LinkedIn: Tuomo Isokivijärvi

Ms. Jeanette Mucha CEO, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of SciBac

Ms. Jeanette Mucha CEO, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of SciBac.

‘SciBac designs live biotherapeutics to treat and prevent antibiotic resistant disease in the microbiome’

Jeanette Mucha of Scibac at SVB Springboard photoshoot by SRK Headshot Day

1. What’s your name, and please tell about your background.

My name is Jeanette Mucha, I am CEO of SciBac. I don’t have the typical background of a scientific founder. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Miami, I taught high school biology and marine biology in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. This was an important experience for me, because it taught me how to learn. In school, I had been good at memorizing and regurgitating information, but I did not retain much past the test date. When I had to figure out how to explain concepts like evolution to students who were hearing of it for the first time, it is then that I developed a deep understanding and appreciation of biology. It is teaching that let me see errors in text books and assumptions that needed to be challenged. It piqued my curiosity for research in a way that may not have happened had I taken a traditional path straight into a PhD. I switched careers to research and development taking a position at Genencor (now DuPont) back when they had an immunology division. Here I became well versed in human immunology, specifically in the humoral and effector immune response. I started out testing engineered enzymes for allergic reactions, and finished my time there by co-inventing a method to identify and create kill T cell epitopes, which can be used in cancer T cell therapeutics.

I then took a few years off with two young kids which led to my participation in long distance triathlon. During that time, I excelled at the 140.6 mile Ironman distance division (a consecutive 2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, and 26.2 mi run) where I qualified for and competed in the 2009 World Championship. Since then, I have completed all 18 Ironman distance races that I have started. Ironman is similar to my current start-up technology. When you first hear about it, at first you think, “that can’t be possible,” but if you put in the necessary preparation and you are persistent, the impossible is possible. Also in 2009, I resumed my research career at Cobalt Biofuels where I became an expert in microbiology, strain improvement, and fermentation. Here, I earned a scientist level position and was the lead inventor on 90% of the microbiology IP. When Cobalt folded in April of 2015 due to the drop in oil prices, the strain improvement IP and strains were mentioned in Biofuels Digest as Cobalt’s “most valuable technology.” The end of Cobalt was the beginning of my start-up, SciBac.

2. Please explain your startup how did you get started?

SciBac designs live biotherapeutics to treat and prevent antibiotic resistant disease in the microbiome. Our founders, including myself, Anthony Cann, and Derik Twomey are all strain improvement and fermentation experts. We noticed that even though probiotics have historically not done convincingly well in scientific papers to display efficacy, no company that we were aware of, was attempting to do strain improvement on probiotics to give them efficacy. I had an idea for our DRIVE technology (Directed Recombinant In Vitro Evolution) where we could use directed evolution and phenotypic screens to induce gene transfer across different species of microbes. We could use this technology to move therapeutic and survivability traits into scalable probiotic species. When the doors closed at Cobalt, myself and three former co-workers decided to form a start-up that was not commodity based while helping to solve a serious threat. The four original founders pooled money to buy lab equipment and I built a lab in my garage to prove out my idea for our DRIVE technology. Yes, we literally started the company out of my silicon valley garage. Using different species of commensal and probiotic strains I was able to induce gene transfer using chromosomal antibiotic resistance as a marker. It worked and SciBac was formed. With support following a friends and family round, we moved into Molecular Sciences Institute, in Milpitas, so we could work on improving probiotics to use as therapeutics.

As we were anaerobic fermentation experts at Cobalt, we knew which organisms could easily take down a Clostridium culture. We started there and used mechanism of action when choosing the bugs to work with. In addition, Clostridium difficle infection (C diff), a type of deadly diarrhea, had already affected two founders. My husband’s grandmother had died several years prior following complications from hip surgery and a C diff infection. Derik Twomey had recently spent several months helping nurse his father back to health after several recurrences of C diff following heart surgery. As we sought to develop our therapeutic, we discovered that because of the reliance on other microbial neighbors in the gut, the lack of available nutrition and reduction of diversity was not providing enough nutrients and led to the death of beneficial wild-type organisms in the gut. C diff only starts to make toxins in the colon when protein sources are low. The toxins break open colon cells to provide nutrients. Beneficial bacteria don’t have the pathogenic ability to reap nutrients from human cells and so many die in these suboptimal gut conditions. Many wild-type probiotics thrive in optimal, healthy conditions, but lack the traits to survive a sick gut. We have set out to improve probiotics to be effective therapeutics. In other words, we set out to make better bugs as drugs.

3. Whats your role in your startup now?

 I started off as the Chief Science Officer and after a year and half became CEO. As CEO, my main role is to raise money. Last April, we gained investment from the Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs ($350,000 convertible grant) – they have been fantastic and continue to support us. We have expected revenue in 2018 of $500,000 based on executed pilot project contracts with two industrial companies including Novozymes and a another company on the fortune 500 list. These projects are for proof of concept of our DRIVE technology so that we can then license our technology for uses outside of human therapeutics. I’m currently raising a $500,000- $1,000,000 seed to secure a non-dilutive $2.5-3MM grant which will support pre-clincals and Phase 1 for DiffiKil.

As a CSO at heart, I also have a major hand in crafting our pipeline. Our vision is that in 10 years we will have shifted the paradigm of how antibiotic resistant disease is treated in the gut and lungs, saving tens of thousands of lives from C diff and increasing the quality and longevity of cystic fibrosis patients’ lives. Our overall mission is to use DRIVE to design efficacious, safe microbes to tackle the world’s modern-day plagues.

 

 

4. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?

Our customers are patients without solutions to their infections. Our core business is focused on developing therapeutics for tackling antimicrobial resistance in the microbiome.  Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is on pace to surpass cancer deaths by the year 2050 and represents a $40B unmet need.

Our first indication is a three-hybrid strain live biotherapeutic that treats and prevents Clostridium difficile (C diff), a type of deadly diarrhea often contracted in hospitals following antibiotic treatment. $5 Billion is spent each year to treat C diff infections in the US and current solutions only provide incremental changes in recurrence rates. DiffiKil addresses all aspects of the disease by killing the C diff directly, preventing C diff binding, neutralizing toxins, and stopping spore formation. We will at first seek for FDA Biological License Application (BLA) approval first for the recurrence of the disease. However, we envision DiffiKil eventually being used as a preventative; given to anyone over age 65 entering the hospital for treatment involving antibiotics.

Our second indication, Aeruguard, is in development is for chronic Psuedomonas, Staphylococcus and Mycobacterium infections in cystic fibrosis patients, a $3.5B market with other applications in respirator infections ($400M) and chronic wounds ($18B). In all markets, antibiotic treatments fail as these microbes hide and become metabolically inactive in biofilm. Our single, inhaled or topically applied therapeutic, Aeruguard, is a motile hybrid that can dissolve biofilm, kill inactive versions of these pathogens where they hide, and reduce the viscosity of the mucus to help patients physically clear the infection. One of the extra cool things about about Aeruguard is that it is a motile, inhaled therapeutic. Most lung therapeutics have a delivery problem; can you get your small molecule the right size to enter the infected part of the lung? Aeruguard, on the other hand, solves this problem by being able to swim to the site of infection.

5. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?

The microbiome is hot right now. Using live microbes to treat infections locally in the microbiome reduces toxicity and side effects commonly found with small molecules. The problem is, many wild-type microbes with therapeutic properties cannot survive inside a human, or the ones that can falter when illness strikes, or the pathogen adapts.  With our DRIVE technology, SciBac can move therapeutic traits from untapped soil microbes into probiotic bacteria capable of surviving inside a person. In addition, by directed evolution, we can give these probiotic bacteria tools to survive a diseased environment, including fever resistance and the ability to make essential amino acids. Furthermore, we can increase the variety of carbohydrates that can be used for consumption including starch, a sugar source more commonly found in the gut. Like breeding a mule, where one combines the strength and patience of a donkey with the athleticism and speed of a horse, our hybrids retain the best traits from both parents. Our method patent for DRIVE is wholly owned and issued in the United States (we are expanding to Europe, Asia, and Australia in May), so no other company has the freedom to operate using our technology. We are also able to patent all our strains and indications. Since our technology has many other industrial applications, we can out-license to industrial companies following successful initial pilot strain improvement projects. This will provide nondilutive funding as well as the possibility of multiple exits.

6. How does your product actually work?

Our C diff indication, DiffiKil, is a 3 hybrid strain cocktail made up of two lactobacillus hybrids and one yeast hybrid. The three strains are lyophilized and taken orally in capsules designed to dissolve in the colon. Unlike current solutions and others in development, DiffiKil has four mechanisms of action. Most solutions, only have one or two mechanisms and, therefore, are more easily overcome by the pathogen. In our DiffiKil cocktail, there are two lactobacillus hybrids which make bacteriocins; these are small peptides that poke holes in C diff cell walls. These bacteriocins, like antibiotics, kill the C diff directly. This is where antibiotics stop – direct killing represents a single mechanism of action and just takes a single point mutation for pathogens to overcome. If you haven’t seen Harvard’s antibiotic evolution experiment visualizing this, check it out here. One of the other ways C diff can evade antibiotics is by forming spores, an inert version of themselves which is very hard to kill.

DiffiKil’s second mechanism is also produced by our lactobacillus hybrids as they prevent the binding of C diff to the colon. We are unaware of any formulation in development that shares this mechanism of DiffiKil.

Our third mechanism comes from our hybrid yeast. Our yeast hybrid has been improved to increase C diff Toxin A and B neutralization and can inactivate 96% of the toxins produced by a pure culture of C diff in just over two hours. Toxin B destroys colon cells and can cause translocation and sepsis in affected patients. This is similar to the single mechanism found in Merck’s monoclonal antibody, Zinplava. However, Zinplava has no other activity and therefore relies on antibiotics and the patient’s own immune system to clear the actual C diff bug.

Our fourth mechanism prevents the formation and germination of C diff spores. We are working to understand exactly why this is, but unlike antibiotics which can cause spore formation, our co-cultures on both solid and liquid colonic medium stop C diff spore formation. Even though we start the culture of C diff using spores, none remain or are formed when we add our DiffiKil bugs. Finally, to improve growth and survival in a C diff disease state, our lactobacillus and yeast hybrids have a wider range of carbohydrates that they can consume including starch and raffinose. They can also make all of their own essential amino acids and can survive high fevers often present during the infection.

7. How big is y​​our market? 

Our overall target AMR market is at $40 Billion and growing. The C diff market represents $5B of that $40B market. Our second indication, Aeruguard, which would be used to treat and prevent chronic infections in cystic fibrosis patients, represents a $3.5B market. Our DRIVE technology has the advantage of allowing us to quickly design cures for infections located in the microbiome and so the possibilities in our pipeline are extensive. In addition, since DRIVE is considered “natural” or non-GMO in the states, there is extensive interest in our technology in the areas of animal health, agriculture, enzyme production, and manufacturing. Our industrial projects will bring in licensing revenue as well as the possibility of multiple exits.

 8. What is your business model? 

SciBac is a longer term investment; you will have to be patient as we navigate the FDA approval pathway! Therefore, drug revenues are seven years out. In the meantime, we have our industrial strain improvement projects to bring in revenue, and we are currently negotiating a $2.5-3 million dollar non-dilutive grant to help push our lead indication, DiffiKil, through Phase 1 in Australia and IND approval in the US.

9. What is your go-to-market strategy?

We believe our four mechanisms of action in DiffiKil will represent a step change in patient outcomes that closely mirrors the success of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). Current solutions are only offering incremental changes in patient outcomes for recurrence. Since payers have moved to value based pricing, it’s necessary to provide a step change in outcomes over the standard of care. Since we have four mechanisms instead of a single (or unknown) mechanism in competing products, approval and adoption are achievable. Our goal is to show human efficacy in clinical phase 2 or 3 and either partner for the indication or sell. We do not wish to compete with established pharma marketing and distribution teams, so our strategy is an exit via a buyout or partnership following successful trials.

10. Who are your competitors and how are you different? 

Let me reiterate that we have four mechanisms of action and unlike other microbiome approaches, we have improved our bugs’ survival in disease conditions. No other standard of care or consortium in development has all of these mechanisms, nor even three of them. The difficult to manufacture, wild-type, beneficial microbes that like Seres and Vedanta are using in their consortiums have not evolved to survive the low nutrient conditions found in a C diff disease state by themselves. That means natural consortiums that are going into trial must have the entire microbial community present that is involved in providing those nutrients, otherwise their strains will not grow nor be active.

Multiple mechanisms not only increase efficacy, but they also make it more difficult for the pathogen to become resistant. C diff will have to evolve to combat all four of DiffiKil’s mechanisms whereas antibiotics have only a single mechanism of killing that is easy for the pathogen to gain resistance. Merck’s Zinplava must be used in combination with antibiotics, and only offers an incremental improvement in recurrence rates with its single mechanism of action. Rebiotix, who recently finished a Phase 2 study to provide a safer version of FMT, does not match FMT efficacy and requires an enema. It also has the issue of requiring human donors which is expensive, inconsistent, and costly. In addition, their treatment group results are curiously reported in comparison to historical controls instead of their own study’s controls. This suggests their own controls had low rates of recurrence. Seres Therapeutics recent disappointing clinical results likely stems around the inconsistency of human donors, a lack of known mechanisms, as well as their decision to optimize gut therapeutics in a mouse model. Even if you have even just a rudimentary understanding of the pH scale and biology, you can understand why live biotherapeutics in the pH 4.0 gut environment of a mouse will have a completely different metabolism in the pH 7.0 environment of a human colon.

The entire microbiome sector needs a better translational animal model. Due to the lack of a translational model, our current strategy is to do our Phase 1a and 1b in Australia so that we can get into humans as fast as possible. If we should find efficacy or safety is not a clear step change from the standard of care during a Phase 1b, we have the advantage of being able to use our technology to go back and improve our therapeutic strains to increase expression of a factor or move therapeutic properties into a different species.

11. What is your vision, your true North?

C diff is an infection mainly of the aged resulting from dysbiosis, an imbalance of microbes in the gut flora, that occurs following antibiotic treatment for a primary infection. What if antibiotic use is a less obvious trigger for many of our other modern-day plagues like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and autoimmune disease which have increased in frequency since the commercialization of penicillin? Most broad-spectrum antibiotics are indiscriminate bombs; they are not specific for the species causing the infection and, thus, have the unfortunate side effect of also decimating the beneficial bacteria which are an integral part of your microbiota. In a healthy gut, beneficial bacteria help to digest your food, prime your immune system, and outcompete opportunistic pathogens to stop harmful strains from growing. 

Since the amazing advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, these modern diseases have emerged and many have recently been correlated with specific populations of bacteria. The manifestation of these diseases is certainly more complicated than any obvious bacterial infections such as C diff; they likely involve genetic predispositions and metabolic interactions with our microbiome that medical science is just beginning to decipher. Without any hyperbole, we are standing on the precipice of a new paradigm of medical thought. A recent peer reviewed paper has shown that fecal matter taken from a mouse with Parkinson’s and transplanted into a healthy mouse gives that recipient mouse the disease. As the scientific community unravels these mysteries, SciBac’s technology will be ready – allowing us to fortify the microbiome against many of these diseases.

Mr. Tero Aaltonen, CEO & Co-founder of Augumenta

Interview with Mr. Tero Aaltonen, CEO & Co-founder of Augumenta 

‘Augumenta Drives Augmented Reality Application Development’

1) Please tell us your name and background.

My name is Tero and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Augumenta. Born and raised in Finland, I started my career as a SW engineer in mobile communications in late 90s and experienced the tremendous innovation taking place: the world had just switched from analog to digital communications, and 2G had been rolled out on markets. A big share of the protocol design, standardization, phone and network devices were made in Finland driven by Nokia, and I had a great opportunity to experience how this well-orchestrated ecosystem of suppliers produced some of the finest products of that time.
They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. By 2008, I had grown tired of my safe life in Finland; I had a nice career, a neat apartment etc., and could have continued my well-predictable life for years to come. But that just didn’t feel right anymore; I needed a fresh challenge. After some thinking, I came to a conclusion that if you want to change something, why not change as many things as you can at once, and see if you can handle it? And so I did: I sold most of my property (but kept my beloved guitars) and moved to Taiwan to start working for Scalado (a Swedish company making camera SW for mobile phones). This was not a major leap distance-wise only; I left engineering behind and moved to sales and business development to take Scalado’s business in APAC to the next level.

 

Four successful years later, APAC had become Scalado’s biggest market, and we had cemented our market position as the leading provider of mobile imaging SW. We were rockstars, and rockstars get fans. In our case, one of the fans was Nokia, and they got so excited that they decided to buy us. I was somewhat upset about this, because we were not done with our APAC domination yet, and there were great plans waiting to be executed but obviously never were. Joining Nokia didn’t feel like the right thing to do for me, and that’s how my startup life got started. This is the next challenge in my life: how to drive the company to maximum growth with the skills I’ve learned during my career.
Augument

2) Please tell us about your startup, how you founded it and are growing it.

Augumenta was founded in late 2012. Peter, my CTO and co-founder, had moved to Finland in late 90s to start his Ph.D. studies in the University of Oulu, and his research was focused on augmented reality. He’s truly one of the pioneers on this field, and his research findings and ideas were the base on which Augumenta was established. During his time in the academia, he worked a while in Japan as a visiting research, and during that time he met Damien who became our 3rd co-founder. I hired Peter into my team in 2007 when he had already finished his research and wanted to join the industry. The fact that each founder had worked side-by-side with another founder in the past helps keeping the founding team together, because we all meet face2face only 1-2 times a year.

 

The core idea of Augumenta was to develop gesture control solutions from smartglasses. It was clear that touchpads and voice control were not enough to build intuitive applications; something greater was needed. So, we started designing algorithms that are power efficient and tailored for resource-constrained devices, and packaged them into a user-friendly SDK that we started licensing. Back then there was still a lot of hype about the first version of Google Glass and its potential in consumer space, but soon it became obvious that we should focus solely on B2B markets where the demand for our solutions was clear. And that’s what we did.

A special Augumenta Interaction Platform SDK offer: sign up for a developer license, and we’ll give you extra 100 days for free!


Exhibition in the tech event

3)What is your key technology? Please explain it.

Initially we just had a gesture-control SDK that was device agnostic and you could deploy it on any smartglass. The product was well-received on markets and we got good traction, but at the same time we noticed that a significant part of the market liked what you could do with the SDK, but didn’t want to do it themselves. In other words, instead of licensing the SDK and building apps themselves, they wanted us to make apps based on the SDK. By then we had talked to a huge number of potential customers and were able to identify certain use cases that were often requested from us.

 

In early 2018 we started developing the first off-the-shelf smartglass apps for industrial AR use cases. One-app-fits-all approach doesn’t really work, because each customer has their own customization needs, and we knew that unless addressed properly, we would get stuck in a never-ending customization business that would stop us from scaling up. We decided to create an easy-to-use tool that would allow customers to do most common tailoring tasks by themselves without having to rely on our engineering services. In Hannover Messe, we launched our AR application suite with the customization tool, and were immediately awarded as one of the finalists for Hermes Award, which is a prestigious nomination given annually to 5 companies who have potential to disrupt the industry. Some months later we won a Digital Factory Challenge. These two nominations were a clear signal that extending our product offering from SDK to SDK+apps was exactly what the markets wanted from us.

 

Going back to your question: the core of our technology is the SDK that enables intuitive gesture control on any smartglass out there. The apps built on top of the SDK, and the Augumenta Studio customization tool allow our customers to tailor and deploy AR in their businesses in a rapid and cost-efficient manner. What we really want to do is lower the entry barrier: getting your first AR pilot started should be a matter of days or weeks at most, not months like it has been in the past.

4. Where and who are your clients?

We have customers on each continent (except Antarctica), with the biggest ones coming from North America, Central Europe and Asia. In total we’re working with over 200 companies who are in different phases in deploying our solutions in their businesses; Siemens and Liquid Controls are the two public references I can mention in here. Any business who is digitalizing their operations is a potential customer to us; we help their workers to stay on top of things and assist them in daily operations with smartglasses and augmented reality.

 

Siemens factory workers are able to control CNC machines regardless of where they are in the factory with our AR control interfaces; airport operators who refuel planes have realtime visibility to critical fueling parameters. These are just a couple of examples of some very practical ways how our customers are improving their work practices.

5) How did you raise money?

The founders invested their own money to get things started; this is how the first employees were hired. We’ve closed two investment rounds with Finnish investors and are now working on the first big round. As the understanding of AR’s benefits grows and we have more and more customer success stories to share, raising money is obviously easier now than in the very beginning. We’re negotiating with several B2B focused VCs and corporate investors located in Central Europe, and will have some great news to share soon. We’re excited about the strategic knowledge and networks the new investors are bringing in!

6) You’re headquartered in Finland. How’s that different from running a startup e.g. in Silicon Valley?

First of all, cost structures are totally different. Our burn rate is a fraction of what it would cost to run a similar operation in the bay area. We have access to a well-educated talent pool at reasonable costs. You get your company started with smaller seed investments, but at the same time, local investors write smaller checks. Raising A-rounds and beyond is more difficult, because there are not that many big-scale VCs operating in Finland. This is changing, though, as Finnish startups such as Supercell have become world-famous and events like Slush bring investors to Finland from all around the world.

 

One thing that makes Finland special is government funding. Finland tax rates are relatively high, but the tax money is channelled back to the society in various ways, one of them being R&D grants for innovative companies. You cannot run a company on grants alone, but they are a nice boost to your product development efforts, assuming that your company is creating something truly new with global market potential. For Augumenta, these grants have made a big difference and we’ve been able to accelerate our pace and grow engineering teams with this equity-free funding.

 

There are similarities too: hiring is increasingly difficult. We operate in one of the high-tech hubs in Finland, and there’s fierce competition between companies to hire the best talent. Our advantage is the ability to offer job positions where you get to do things that haven’t been done before. At Augumenta you’re living and breathing the AR revolution every single day.


Another award for Augumenta SmartPanel: they won Nokia #DigitalFactory challenge! #5G +#smartglasses + #AR + #IoT = #productivity!#5gfwd #industry40 #IIoT

7) What is your vision?

We’ve reached technology leadership position on markets already; this is obviously something we aim to keep in the future. AR is revolutionizing industries today, and the same will happen in consumer space tomorrow. Smartglasses will evolve, become less cumbersome to wear, and finally reach the point where consumers start adopting them.

 

As a company, we will keep on growing, expand geographically by opening offices close to our customers, and keep on providing state-of-the-art solutions we’ve delivered since the beginning. When people think of AR, they should think “Augumenta can do that”.

Mr. Will Murphy, VP of BotChain Talla

Interview with Mr. Will Murphy, VP of BotChain Talla

‘The Blockchain Platform for Managing Intelligent Agents ‘

Mr. Will Murphy, VP of BotChain Talla

1. Please introduce yourself. How did you get involved in your startup?

I’m Will, a veteran innovator an entrepreneur. I like to work on things that are pretty murky at first and see where we can take them. I got lucky enough to meet Rob May a long time ago, and we’re good friends. So, Rob brought me along to help out with Talla and get it going. I started working on it in 2015 part-time when it was a concept and started working full time on it in 2016 right before our seed round closed. Now, we’re launching a subsidiary to Talla, the BotChain.

When I was head of product at Talla, we were constantly thinking about what the future of intelligent agents look like. And, one thing that our conversation kept coming back to how bots would interact with each other. My thinking on that also evolved into “how do we manage intelligent agents”.

Our goal at Talla is to build the digital workers of the future. So, my proposition was: “how do we manage them?”. So we came up with BotChain – a platform for bots with capabilities to manage bots. There are a lot of common capabilities the bot industry needs (like identity validation and skill sharing)- and that’s where we can share a common infrastructure amongst the industry. What I call a digital commons based on a blockchain.

  Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter

2. Please tell us about your startups.

I was fortunate enough to sell a small startup I was working on in the early 2000s. I’ve been building software since I was 12. I’ve also built and sold a blog on innovation. And, then there are numerous things I’ve launched – too many to document here. And, I was a corporate entrepreneur at a large company for a while. So, I got to launch (or fail) at a pace that independent startup founders don’t see outside corporations. Some moved forward; some didn’t. But, that was a great learning experience.

Logo of Talla  

3. What is the blockchain? Please explain why now it’s important.

I think that blockchain technology is the beginning of a global decentralized computer. It is a global database, as many talk about. But it’s also becoming a global computer that can process data. It can also successfully run a currency, as we’ve seen with BitCoin. I think we’re really early. I think there are a lot of improvements to make, so I’m interested to see how we can improve it over the next decade. Its decentralized nature is it’s most important characteristic.

4. What’s the most special about your blockchain technology?

We’re the first blockchain-based platform for business bots specifically. And, I use the term “bots” to describe all independent, autonomous agents. I think it’s most special characteristic is that it will be used, built, and maintained by the bot industry itself.

botchain by talla

5. What problems are you solving?

We’re starting very simple and creating a way for people and other bots to validate a bots’ identity. We’ll then move on to add open source components where bots can be audited and have a marketplace for bot skills. In about a year we’ll have a fully decentralized blockchain-based platform for the business bot industry.

6. How will your service scale?

We’ll run on Ethereum, and we’re working on creating open source nodes that we’ll share. From a business perspective, we’ll scale by actively seeking partners and customers in the industry.

7. Blockchain is intimidating to normal people. What is your adoption strategy?

Our strategy there is we aren’t targeting any “normal” people, so to speak. We are B2B and targeting business bot developers as our partners and customers. We’ll integrate through them. So, you may be using a bot in a year, and you won’t realize it’s partially supported by the BotChain. I would be careful launching a B2C blockchain company that doesn’t make interaction with “normal” people very, very simple or even hidden.

8. How will your service be compelling before you reach critical mass?

The compelling nature of the platform will be driven by the industry and the marketplace. So, new skills will drive adoption and new components that we’ll come up with as needed will drive adoption as well.

9. What do you expect to accomplish in the next 90 days? 5 years?

In 90 days we’ll have our foundation built and in use, and will be in active conversations with our core partners. In 5 years, it will be a stand-alone decentralized platform with dozens of bot capabilities and apps. We’ll be a developer on the platform, like everyone else. It will be a decentralized digital commons.

10. What change would you most like to see in the world?

I’d like to see a return to enlightenment thinking for our information age – a neoenlightenment. I’d like to see us use technology to usher in a golden age. I’d like to see us decentralize many centralized power structures. And, I’d like to see humans populate other planets. So, we have a lot of work to do.

 

 

Mr. Tom Cares, CEO of Coin.care

Interview with Mr. Tom Cares, CEO of Coin.care (blockchain visionary).

‘ Future of Decentralization

1. Please introduce yourself. How did you get involve in your startup and why do you feel it’s important?

I’m a lifelong entrepreneur and currently the founder and CEO of Coin.care

I’ve been a crypto enthusiast since 2014 and came to believe in a future where everyone has their own highly-liquid currency. Instead of having to get money, people and entities issue their own. They give it scarcity and promise to make it redeemable for things, and those promises would be tracked. The goal is to shift social focus onto potential rather than one’s current abilities and their present-day value.

The most prosperous version of humanity would be one that values and nurtures potential above all else. I believe the Coin.care platform would be able to push that monumental paradigm shift.

2. How will it work?

We make it free and easy for any person or entity to create their own digital currency, which will have its own ____.Coin.care subdomain site. At a small cost they can upgrade to an ERC223 token (“Coin”), and have us serve as an immutable bank for this Coin, as well as for preexisting Coins.

Within our system, all movement of Coins is instant and free, using an auditable and immutable distributed ledger system.

We make it easy for each Coin to set their own inflation rules, and publicize what their Coin can be redeemed for, and we can list their Coin on our exchange, also at no cost.

We report on the honesty of the Coin issuers and any grievances of their holders.

Potentially, people can receive, for example, ‘x dollars worth’ of anyone’s Coin and have their own settings for what happens when they receive it. Among other options, it can stay as it is, or automatically convert to dollars, or anything; if someone’s really bullish on themselves, they might have it automatically trade to buy back their own Coin on the market – buying back your own Coins at market would become the modern analog of paying your credit card bills in full to strengthen credit.

Around all of it is a social ecosystem, where people can reveal what’s in their wallets, learn from each other, and evolve the thought-space of this economic paradigm shift.

Pre-launch, people can go to www.Coin.care and apply to have one of the first coins listed on the platform.

3. Tell us about your background and travels.

I grew up in New York City. When I was 15, I decided to drop out of NYC’s best high school and move to Los Angeles by myself to try an early start at adulthood. I even got a court to declare me an emancipated minor, giving me the same legal powers as adults. I did freelance database engineering, with some other part time normal jobs, and spent all my free time at the library, studying to compensate for not being in school. I also dropped out of college twice since then, but got straight As for the few semesters I was there. I always felt school made me spend more time showing what I knew than actually learning; and it didn’t feel like they knew what things were really most important for me to know.

When I was 18, I really loved driving, so I put signs on my car advertising that I would give rides to people and they could pay anything they want or nothing at all. I was able to make $1200/wk doing this in San Francisco, working Thursday night to Sunday. There was no Uber, or even iPhone back then, and the city had a huge cab shortage.

I was really passionate about politics, so I spent Monday-Thursday at committee hearings at the State Capitol in Sacramento, and studying California public policy.

When I was 20 I ran for State Assembly. I came within 38 votes of a candidate who was my city councilman, and many people seemed really impressed with my understanding of issues. It was a great experience and afterward I accepted invitations to serve on the executive board of 2 of the largest Democratic clubs in Los Angeles County.

Since then I’ve been an entrepreneur in the areas of finance, software, real estate, and crypto trading, in the US, UK, and the Philippines. I’ve also gotten to go to Burning Man 4 times and studied entrepreneurship at Draper University of Heroes.

4. How do you feel about Burning Man?

The Burning man community is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. The creativity of “Burners” and their passion for life will aways blow my mind like nothing else can. The change I most want to see in the world, including Coin.care reaching its full potential, probably can’t happen without a lot of Burners being involved at the highest levels.

As for that playtime in the sand we do every year (‘the event’), it offers a culture shock you can’t get anywhere else and that offers very powerful perspective. The great gift of getting to go, isn’t to get to see Burning Man; it’s being able to see the world through the lens of Burning Man.

It’s also just a wonderful nostalgia for what could have been had humans not domesticated ourselves so hard.

And of course, it’s where the most brilliant people in the world plan the future of civilization. It’s worth noting that Larry Page and Sergey Brin were hard-core Burners before starting Google; and that they hired Eric Schmidt because he was the only candidate who had been to Burning Man. Black Rock City is the true heart of Silicon Valley.

At the climax of the event, they burn the iconic man in effigy as most of the 75K participants gather around celebrating what they consider to be their New Year’s Eve

Tom meets Griff Green, DAO co-founder, and other blockchain enthusiasts, at Burning Man

5. How was your experience at Draper University of Heroes?

The program at Draper U does a surreal job at giving insight on what it takes to be a strong founder and leader of a great company. Students learn a lot about the startup world and inner workings of Silicon Valley, but they also build great relationships, learn not to underestimate their limits and endurance, and develop the mindset necessary to handle never-ending challenges and succeed on epic levels.

Mr. Tim Draper, who is founder of Draper University, teaches entrepreneurship to his students, and this picture shows Tom sitting in the orange bean bag chair.

6. What is the blockchain? Please explain why now its important.

Blockchain is essentially the advent of everyone keeping track of everything, rather than a central authority keeping track of everything. It ameliorates the need for central authorities to facilitate large-scale cooperation.

If we look at life, we see the power of fast evolution, and the importance of variation. Most notably, sexual organisms are far more advanced than asexual ones, because of the increased variation and faster evolution.

Blockchain is a complete game-changer because it allows humans to collaborate and cooperate on large scales without a central authority. The nature of a central authority is always confining and conforming. By removing the need for central authorities, and allowing mass-cooperation directly between each other, the blockchain revolution will empower humanity to socially evolve at rates never before possible.

I believe this decentralization, enabled by blockchain, will come to define the 21st century more than anything else.

Tom enjoys living in San Francisco.

7. Do you have competition? If not, why do you think that is? If so, what makes you better?

There’s certainly competition. WAVES, for example, makes it easy to create personalized coins on their blockchain.

Unlike WAVES, Coin.care won’t charge for this, but that’s not even close to what’s most important. What really matters is our ecosystem to really bring this revolution to the next level.

8. How will your service scale?

The platform will launch with some really great entities using it for some really great purposes. We expect a strong tide of entities and people wanting to follow suit, especially to claim their Coin’s desired name and start building the reputation of their currency so they aren’t left behind.

9. Blockchain is intimidating to normal people. What is your adoption strategy?

In short, we’re giving everyone a way to be a part of this in a highly-empowering way, with no risk, and have it be really fun and easy.

10. How will your service be compelling before you reach critical mass?

Even without a critical mass, I expect there to be people who can really get enthused about emailing their personalized Coins to their friends and creating interesting uses and redeemability for them.

11. What do you expect to accomplish in the next 90 days? 5 years?

In the next 90 days, we should launch our ICO for FutureCoin. FutureCoin is going to be a really important Coin to have, because it will connect all the Coins in our exchange. Someone who has, for example, EllisonCoin and wants DraperCoin, would have to trade their EllisonCoin for FutureCoin first and then FutureCoin for DraperCoin, much like trading Microsoft stock for Apple stock requires going in and out of dollars.

In five years, I think we’ll have millions of currencies and over a billion transactions per month on our platform. I know that sounds outrageous – Bitcoin is only currently doing 10 million transactions per month – but I believe the evolution of this new economic paradigm will happen at unprecedented speeds.

Most importantly, I think we’ll have started to enter the phase where it’s fairly common to for people, especially young people, to pay their bills with their potential. A lot of great projects, such as intentional communities and novel innovations will have been able to get their strong start on our platform. And I also expect major revolutions in governance to stem from this. When I think about the possibilities for our mission over the next 5 years, I couldn’t personally imagine that I could ever get myself to work on anything else.