One year ago, we met the team behind the Blockchers project. At that time we were showcasing the concept of our identity wallet. We were still evaluating which technologies and approaches would be more suitable for our enterprise.
The objective was to create a ledger-agnostic identity wallet that could deal with as much as ledgers as possible. The main reason was, as still today, a matter of interoperability.
The main challenges to get our project we were facing at the time were:
- Having a rather-stable MVP to start a PoC with one or more players.
- Finding and convincing the right players to join us on our vision and help testing our assumptions.
- Getting the initial funding to let us (at least) start the virtuous circle of building => measuring => learing and do some iterations.
Blockchers came in the right time for us. They were proposing a short acceleration program with some funding based on the collaboration between an SME and a technological partner that would help providing and developing the technology to solve a problem.
We partnered with Factory Matters. They provide creative ways of improving digital competences using what they call “factories”: project-based learning modules where students “create” a technological company or startup.
Digital competences, once evaluated, and following the framework proposed by the European Commission (DigComp) require a way to be tracked and followed up. The match was pretty straightforward: We would provide them the tools to help FactoryMatters students to keep track of their accomplishments and to be able to reuse them.
Getting on board
Blockchers is based on a 4-stageprocess: Open Call – Immersion – Implementation – Recognition. We got selected in the Open Call phase together with 17 other companies among more than 100 applications. This was the easiest part, even though we were concerned about the growing number of applicants.
The Immersion phase was more challenging. We had to prepare a prototype of what we wanted to achieve, showcase it and then pitch our solution. The competition was tight, all the other proposals were suitable to be selected for the next phase. As stated by the Blockchers guidelines, the evaluation of the proposals would be based on:
- Market potential of their technology.
- Pitching skills demonstrated in the demolition pitch contest.
- Technological skills demonstrated in the Blockathon.
We decided to focus our pitch on how we were planning to evolve our identity and credentials service, and how we see this can have an impact on the educational credential space.
Good news are we got a ticket for the next phase, as we were one of the 8 selected companies to participate on the Implementation stage (yay!).
Getting things done
Here is where the real fun began.
The first and foremost part was to agree on the KPIs that our mentor from Blockchers would use to measure our progress. This was a key part of the process. KPIs were meant not only to measure the technical development performance, but also marketing and sales indicators were defined: Online publications, evolution of social media followers, presence and participation in events as well as sales meetings were some of the KPIs that have helped us to accelerate our decentralized (self-sovereign) identity service.
We have roughly spent 60% of our energy and time on product development, 20% on marketing and 20% on sales, and even we don’t have yet meaningful ROI metrics, just by the increase of the activity on those areas we can feel the change of the investment on marketing and sales.
And here we are, after 3 months of crazy work schedules and a lot of sweat and tears, with a first MVP version of what our service will be.
The 9th and 10th March we will be present at the Recognition stage, in Frankfurt, during the Crypto Assets Conference, where we pitching our MVP together with FactoryMatters.
Funding is a key step in the process of a startup, but is even more important to be able to test your assumptions the sooner you can.
Blockchers has allowed us to do both: bootstraping a first PoC with a real use case so we can start testing and validating our vision about decentralized identity and helping our team financially, not only with cash, but also helping us creating more sales leads.