We are now becoming aware that governance – whether on the level of a country, a city, organisation or neighborhood – must become a more collaborative process. Until now the individual as an agent of change has been largely overlooked which has led to an increasing sense of disengagement and disillusionment. Attempts to encourage participation in projects are falling by the wayside as the individual perceives their efforts to be ineffective or their needs overlooked. This lack of individual action comes at a great cost, not only in terms of money but for the future of humanity.
As a result Civic Tech has been growing at 200% since 2013 with private initiatives beginning to provide the public sector and large organisations with the tools to truly respond to needs of their community and society at large. We spoke to Ivan Caballero, Founder of Social Coin, a Civic Engagement Platform based on Deep Learning through a Blockchain rewards system.
Let’s start by describing in your words what your company is and what it does?
We provide governments and organisations with a new way to recognise action within their community that makes a positive impact on society.
Our tool is the social coin, a cryptocurrency based on the actions of people and the positive impact this action makes.
Using Artificial Intelligence technology and our own algorithm, we measure this impact by interpreting all open language based data in order to understand the most relevant concerns of a society at any given time. Every action that attempts to address a concern in society is then assigned a numeric value – in the form of social coins. This value is not fixed, it rises and falls as the need for that action evolves. That way we can guide effort and focus on society’s most pressing needs.
What do you think makes it distinct to any other companies – what’s its USP
There are a number of technology companies interpreting language based open data, a few technology companies trying to get people to adopt blockchain and even fewer initiatives to get people involved in volunteering and social action.
Yet there is not one company which combines all three of these elements – from discovery, to engagement, right to action.
Our solution has the ambition to become the universal tool for society engagement by rewarding people’s action with a consistent cryptocurrency based on the actual needs of citizens.
What is your personal background?
I’m an entrepreneur and strategist working in pursuit of a kinder society through people’s inclusion and empowerment. I’ve accumulated more than two decades founding successful disruptive tech startups to improve our society.
I carry out projects where the social uses of technology and the internet are applied to social engagement, purpose driven entrepreneurship and citizen oriented cities.
I began my professional career holding different senior level positions in some high tech multinational companies before becoming a serial entrepreneur with a profound social motivation.
I have been participating as a mentor or advisor in many startups with social impact through the testing of its value proposition, gaining enough traction to become independent projects, organisational development, venture acceleration, grant-making, fundraising, outreach, networking or consulting.
In 2013, I founded social coin, a social movement to foster and track acts of kindness. Which soon became a global movement and a game-changing technology for social responsibility within companies, universities and Smart Cities. My work with The Social Coin, the Gift and the Pay It Forward Economy has been inspiring people worldwide and receiving public recognition from the United Nations – WSA, the European Commission, the Institute for the Future, Gifted Citizen and different innovation and social impact congresses.
What inspired you to start the company?
It was the birth of my daughter Arya that inspired me to create social coin. I wanted to actively contribute to creating a fairer world for her and for future generations.
What is the story of the company from launch until now? How big is the company now?
social coin started in 2013 as a social movement on the streets of Barcelona promoting chains of kindness under the motto “pay it forward”, which is based on the idea of responding to the kindness of one person by being kind to another.
We created a platform of social participation based on a points system that promoted positive actions of people and soon after social coin became the most disruptive solution for society engagement based on a positive action reward system.
Since then, more than 60 Big Corps, 10 universities, 76 schools and 2 cities have licensed social coin technology and it has inspired more than 1M acts of kindness in more than 70 countries around the world.
In 2014 social coin was selected as one of the top 10 projects in IOT and Big Data in Europe by Startupbootcamp in Barcelona. In 2015 it was selected as the best inclusion and diversity project worldwide by the United Nations and awarded with a World Summit Award. Just this year we were selected as the winners of the open business innovation contest by NTT Data Japan.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your company?
In general, this project is very challenging as we are questioning the societal status quo and deeply ingrained human behaviour. From finding sustainability bootstrapping, to raising interest in investors, international customers and organizations we have always been challenged by the reality.
What’s your biggest milestone/ which are you most proud of?
To be selected as the best inclusion and diversity project worldwide by the United Nations.
Also, our experience with NTT Data; we entered the competition as a learning experience and for a chance to compete against many other innovative startups. Winning the competition was a big moment for the company and is the start of a collaborative journey in bringing the social coin solution to Asia.
What is your business model? How have you monetised your product?
We are now migrating our business model from a SaaS model to a cryptocurrency.
What’s the next step for growth – is the intention to grow the business independently, or look for an exit via acquisition or similar?
We have just opened operations in Dubai and Tokyo thanks to our partnerships with the Dubai Chamber of commerce and NTT Data. Recently we have been selected by Singularity University to participate in their network as our technology is perceived to be the greatest solution for the Universal Basic Income problem.
Will you be looking for more funding?
In terms of funding, we are raising 600k€ under a 12 months convertible note to be invested in int. operations, technology development and AI Training.