In Bratislava, a new project using blockchain technology is in progress. Biotron aims to be a fully transparent personal data analytics platform where users control and monetize the data they create. As the launch of the tokens is planned soon, we talked to Pavol Magic, the CEO of the company, to find out more.
Pavol worked in a couple of different fields – HR, marketing communications, product management, and business development, to name just a few. Most recently, he worked at Sygic for 6 years, where he focused on growing the company through new projects and products. It was there that he got a lot of experience working with data analytics companies – know-how he can now apply in full in Biotron.
Pavol, what is Biotron about and what change are you bringing to the industry?
Biotron is a fully transparent data analytics platform. We enable innovation through data collected directly from our users, which we provide to our customers in the form they need. The biggest difference is the transparency and privacy, which are key to our company and products. Users have full control over what data we collect and how we use it. We process and—in some cases—analyze it and license it to our customers. Users get shares of the revenue we generate, plus they benefit from the innovation their data enabled. Customers get data of unparalleled quality, which is 100 % privacy compliant.
How can the end user get value from Biotron?
Through mobile application and web extensions, users can provide us with various data they generate. The direct incentive is cash – we share part of the revenue we generate with their data back to our users. The indirect incentive can be even more beneficial to them. We’re talking about innovation the collected datasets enable, whether it’s improved traffic and public transport, better services in retail stores, or even better health care and insurance.
How did the idea for Biotron come to be?
Last year, at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, Peter Dendis (CMO) got very interested in data that could be used for health research. At the time he was working with Martin Smolka (COO), who already had some experience with data analytics. He also reached out to Slavo Kubacka (CTO), who has a lot of insights into emerging technologies, such as blockchain. Over time they extended the initial scope to other datasets, such as location, transactions, and many others.
I know there are already some companies developing the blockchain service you are working on. How are you different?
The main difference is that we’re not a blockchain company. We’re not even providing a blockchain service. Biotron is a data analytics platform. We just use blockchain as a technological layer for processing microtransactions between our customers and our users. Apart from other similar companies, we’re focusing on analytics, rather than raw data sales.
Can you give us the basic milestones of what is coming next with Biotron? Most importantly, when do you expect the initial token event (ITE) to take place and how can public participate?
Private ITE is already halfway through and anyone willing to contribute 200 ETH (or equivalent in other currencies) or more is more than welcome to participate. Public ITE goes live on March 20th and will last 9 days. In this phase anyone is welcome. All the information on the ITE is available on our website.
How difficult has the process of preparing the ITE been and how long did it take?
Preparations took a couple of months. We needed to make sure we have a product-market fit and that the whole business model is feasible. The private part of the ITE was mostly about the legal structure of the whole project, as the legislation doesn’t really know a lot about blockchains, tokens, and ITEs. The public event was more about the technical infrastructure and took some two months. During the whole time the marketing team worked to get Biotron into all relevant news, so we can approach as many potential contributors as possible.
What have been the greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge is definitely the legal part. As with many other technologies, legislation is catching up pretty slowly, so there are a lot of obstructions. However, we managed to find lawyers who helped us set everything up so that we’re fully compliant with any applicable legislation.
What are your target markets and why?
With our analytics products, we’ll be initially targeting retailers in Western Europe and the US. These are the most developed markets where similar services are already provided, so we have markets worth billions of dollars to disrupt. After the first phase, we might target other geographies as well, but will probably focus on expanding our portfolio in Europe and US.
Do you have angel investors or you are bootstrapping the development on your own?
Some part was bootstrapped, but we got an initial investment as well, which helped us greatly, as we needed to cover costs associated with ITE marketing and legal fees.
You are based in Bratislava, Slovakia. What does the team look like? Do you have any advisors?
The core team consists of six people, but altogether there are 21 people working on Biotron. Currently, we have four advisors – Marian Podmajersky providing blockchain advisory, Lubomir Jakubek on corporate governance, Milan Gajdos on corporate strategy and ITE as well as Igor Strecko advising on infrastructure. We’re talking to three more potential advisors, who would be a great addition to the company. They’re all well established and very experienced individuals working in data analytics and health.
How do you look for the best talent for your company? Can you find it in Slovakia?
Slovakia is pretty small, so the talent pool is really limited. Not to mention, in the recent past, there was a lot of investor’s capital flowing in, as well as some successful ITEs, which make it quite difficult to find available talents. In the future, we’ll probably focus on other markets as well since our customers will also be located elsewhere. But I don’t think the physical location of the company matters anymore. You can work in a distributed team pretty efficiently.
Do you have some open positions you are searching to fill up?
At the moment the team is stable and we have don’t require additional members. This will change after the ITE, when we’ll start working on all parts of our product – from the core (mobile app, web extension, backend) to specific products (location analytics, transport analytics, health data, etc.). The biggest intake will be on the side of the development, as well as product management.
Where do you personally see the future of blockchain and of Biotron specifically?
Our aim is to break down data silos created by big tech companies, such as Facebook, Alphabet, or Amazon among others. Datasets these companies possess could enable innovation beyond our current possibilities in many different areas. However, as they are trying to protect their businesses, they prevent innovation from happening on a much bigger scale. If we’re able to change this and enable innovation worldwide, we’ll be very happy.