The issue of common users having control of their digital data, is more and more controversial every day.
How can a person control and manage their digital life, and even make a profit of it, when big data platforms already have easy access to it?
The Swiss tech startup Profila GmbH offers a fast, safe and impossible to manipulate advertising platform to benefit both users and brands.
A steady staff of more than 20 people with experience in big data, privacy law, AdTech, and blockchain technology, launched Profila in 2017.
Profila Puts Power in the Users Hands
A Cardano blockchain platform, designed to give the data power back to the user. Here, each individual is the only ruler, to decide which brands are going to receive what data.
Completely surveillance-free and private, with compensation included in the deal.
The consumers control the Ad-delivery on the platform, and they get paid 50% (or more) of the Ad spent by the brands. That being one of the two main assets.
The other is that brands will have direct insights, and more precise feedback, to help them to provide each customer with a more personalized profile.
Profila is sponsored by the Swiss National Innovation Agency (Innosuisse), and by several other university partnerships and research projects.
In 2020 Profila joined the crypto-space, by integrating the Cardano blockchain. And more recently, the launching of the Cardano native token the ZKT (Zero Knowledge Token).
A Smart Team
Shawn Jensen, a South-African native, resident in Switzerland since 2010 concocted Profila´s idea, while he was introducing Google’s Enterprise Search, into the African local market.
In 2006, with the smartphones´ industry in early stages, the concept of such a person-centric platform, was way ahead of its times.
But by 2015, along with the fast smartphones´ adoption, and the increased awareness of privacy concerns, Shawn was ready, and he catched the wave.
The data market had a huge requirement, and Jensen had the edge.
In 2016, at the Lisbon WebSummit, Profila was presented as an Alpha startup.
Here, not only the first angel investor joined in, but the project also received enough community and customer validation, to encourage Jensen to get down to it full time.
The then Facebook CTO remarked publicly, the promising future that platforms like Profila would have, in the future tech business.
Data privacy and protection soon became a worldwide issue, with that infamous Cambridge Analytica affair.
When Shawn met the Belgian entrepreneur Michiel Van Roey in late 2017, Profila really shaped up.
Van Roey, a crypto enthusiast, and a privacy lawyer as well, was then working in the tech transfer office of CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research) in Geneva.
Van Roey contributed by adding the required legal know-how for consumer protection, consumer rights, the misuse of private data laws, and online advertising. He’s currently co-founder and general counsel at Profila.
Shortly after, Luke Bragg joined in, becoming Profila´s chief product and strategy officer.
Luke had a background of developing digital solutions in the NGO, consumer product, and pharma space.
He also worked on creating different methodologies to help organizations and companies fully understand and benefit from the complex ecosystems they operated.
As for the rest of Profila´s advisory board, it´s formed by Clara-Ann Gordon (privacy lawyer at NKF), and Mikko Kotila (AdTech expert).
During 2018, the team dedicated their efforts to read the real problems that the current version of the internet was facing.
Keeping Data Safe
The often unauthorized misuse of personal data, mostly shared with organizations that the users didn’t know of.
It was then that Profila signed partnerships with the CERN´s privacy research team, the University of Lucerne, and the University of Saint´Gallen.
How it Works Financially
There are two revenue streams in the Profila business model.
- Businesses (called ¨Brands¨) who pay for customer data and insights.
- Fees over Brands posting paid advertising/content to users on their new marketing channel.
Here is how Profila plans to gain additional funding.
- Seed: Up to 1 Million € (250,000 € committed so far). Seed round runs in parallel to private round. A blend of token private round and seed is preferred
- Token Private Sale: 2/2,5 Million € (1,100,000 € committed so far)
- Token Public Sale: 3/5 Million €
Clients & Customers
Brands are the customers, and people are the clients.
A Brand could mean a business/company, a non-profit association, a governmental authority, any entity that offers products and/or services, or even an individual (independent professionals, politicians, celebrities, influencers etc.).
Brands pay for the services.
Profila´s Go-To-Market strategy during phase 1 is B2B2C (Business to Business + Business to Customer).
Basically, inducing Brands to convince their customer bases, to communicate with them on the terms of the customer. This is translated into improving the relationship both ways.
The Zero Knowledge Token (ZKT) can only be purchased through ADAs, the Cardano token.
Profila is reaching the Cardano enthusiasts who already own ADA tokens. The Cardano community is known for being active supporters of their projects.
For instance, a Profila´s Cardano experiment in community innovation, about turning ideas into real-world projects, is called Project Catalyst.
More than 4 projects are already receiving 150,000 U$ funding, from about 3,091 ADA holders, representing 526 Million ADA. The strong community support is vital for the ZNT´s growing value.
Profila is pole-positioning itself as an over-the-top provider of privacy, in people-centric customer communications.
Competitors in the branch like Brave, Google Floc or PIMs, have succeeded in narrowing the performance gaps, in some of these four functionalities:
- Privacy Management
- Data Management and Marketplaces
- Advertising and Consumer Content
- Marketing and Customer Relationships (CRM)
Only Brave is competing in two (Individual Privacy Management and Advertising), becoming the closest competitor yet. But they do not offer Customer Support.
There is nowadays, a very intense debate about what we are calling the ¨post cookies era¨, the misuse of data, and the explicit user consent.
Many different alternatives are on the table. Google has recently announced their browser Chrome, will cease using third-party cookies.
This will put an end to third-party cookies, on over 2/3 of browsers market share alone. Other efforts by the industry like Brave browser, Personal Data Platforms (PDPS) or Google´s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) are on their way.
Profila developed a new, efficient and simple privacy-preserving solution, for displaying only targeted ads on mobile apps, web browsers, and video platforms. More still; only under users´ instructions.
The Profila Client App can be set in two modes:
Zero knowledge advertising. Personalized ads show to users only in the selected frequency, without sharing any users´ info with third parties.
Consent-Based Advertisement Mode
This mode requires the proactive action of the user to activate. Explicit selection of what personal data items the user is willing to share, with each advertiser.
A reward system will assist users with ZKT tokens, for their interaction (watching and clicking), and for the amount of data they decide to share.
Users can also choose to stay anonymous while viewing content.
The Brand Dashboard can be set on https://profila.com
Here, the Brand can fill its company’s information, its promotional marketing, and check on its subscription base.
Demographic, psychographic and other general customer analytics are available too.
Transparent and consensual relationships between brands and individuals. Targeted ads and total privacy. Anonymity until the user decides. The ¨post-cookies era¨ is here.