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Company Update — Sept. '23
A lot of product and market traction; an update months in the making. 5M users, 12 data buyers, $1.5M backlog, double the team size, new product releases, and more...
Apologies for the long span between updates; we’ve been in the foxhole building and iterating with customers. Forewarning: this is going to be quite long, so I’m going to lead off with bullets for those who just want the highlights.
Since our last update (May):
We’ve crossed 5 million US consumers.
We’re piloting with 12 potential data buyers.
We have $1.5M of ARR in the backlog for this year.
We doubled the team size from 4 to 8 FTEs.
We launched a new SDK for receipt/SKU-level data.
We’re in final testing, preparing to launch a Shopify App.
We’re preparing to pilot our first managed rewards program.
And we raised a bit of capital this summer.
I think I got ‘em all, but it's best to read on just in case :p.
We’re focused on (aka what’s next):
Revenue, more specifically, from data sales.
Growing our user base, fast. 10 million users is in our sights.
Distinct datasets/sources —ZPD is unlocking doors.
Back in April/May, we started aggressively rolling out our data licensing infrastructure, signing up hundreds of developers. We quickly started to hear, “this is great, but we also need…”. Businesses on both sides were eager to learn about leveraging zero-party data but licensing only solved part of the problem for them.
Common data challenges kept popping up: data capture, reward management, connecting buyers and sellers, enrichment, hosting, and more. It quickly became clear that we created a new commodity by solving the legal and technical issues with data licensing. Participants would now need tools to derive value from it.
As an aside, it was simultaneously one of the most exciting and toughest points in my life; I know the team felt it. We were starting to unlock a huge, defensible opportunity (data powers basically everything). However, it meant we still had (have) serious work to do to get to PMF and little-to-no runway. Talk about make or break. Still is.
If the picture of a new data platform is forming in your head, you’re tracking me.
If you’re one of our many users who reads this and you’re like wtf, what about us? We’ve been building technology to enable millions (hopefully, one day, billions) of people to gain rights and fair compensation for their data —the mission from day one. Or if this doesn’t satisfy your reading quota for the day, Shane wrote a wonderful sarcastically titled blog, “We Exist to Make Corporations Richer and Are Operating as a Slush Fund for BlackRock.”
We’re not exactly sure what the right title words are yet for what we’re creating. There’s the customer data platform (CDP) market which exhibits similar characteristics but is multi-tenant for a first-party world. Data monetization infrastructure might be closest, and while it’s the economics of data exchange driving the bus under the covers, we’ve learned it’s rarely the killer feature in the forefront in our customers’ minds.
In reality, we’ve created a data pool where thousands of companies with billions of users can publish legally licensed (zero-party) consumer data. Data is joined across publishers to create unified and powerful consumer profiles, often with data you can’t get anywhere else. Profiles owned by the consumers and licensed to companies through TIKI.
Data buyers purchase pre-provisioned cleanrooms for their specific use case, addressing each individual’s provenance, rights, and compensation. You just specify the criteria for your panel and pay for access, like you’re renting server time from AWS —per consumer, per hour. Commoditized consumer data. A single source of truth.
On the flip side, we’re rolling out tools and services for data publishers to acquire key datasets, create reward programs, and open new revenue streams. We’ve got our work cut out for ourselves, but damn, it’s clearly resonating.
New team members
Onboarding users, buyers, and publishers meant we needed more hands, particularly engineers, to fulfill customer obligations —it’s why we raised a bit of extra $$$ in July.
Tim O’Guin — Product Lead
A talented engineer specializing in data and infrastructure. He’s making the fearful (exciting) leap into a product role. After all, our product is consumed by data engineers and app developers… our product lead better be able to talk the talk. Previously, he was a senior engineer at Paramount and a part-time technical advisor to us!
Jesse Monteiro — iOS Developer
Jesse comes to us from the fintech world, building iOS apps. Early in his career, he was given a lot of responsibility and rose to the challenge. We’re excited to see him do the same here.
Gabriel Schuler — Android Developer
The guy builds Android apps, a lot of them —a significant contributor to numerous sizable apps in a variety of industries, including his own game. Paired up with Jesse, we anticipate a lot of really cool features coming on the SDK front.
Miro Benício — Fullstack Developer
An excellent Vue.js developer with a background in REST APIs, RDBMS, and many other tools/patterns. We’ve already got Miro hard at work on multiple projects simultaneously, and we're looking forward to him helping accelerate several more.
Ricardo Gonçalves — Staff Engineer
Not a new hire, ya’ll already know Ricardo! Just a quick shout-out: he stepped up and took on the responsibilities of building out and leading a team. Together, Ricardo, Miro, Gabriel, and Jesse are our Brazilian army (office) in João Pessoa.
Tim’s working on a more formal roadmap, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for these short and mid. horizon releases.
Short Term (next 30d)
We partnered with Microblink to combine their receipt OCR technology with data monetization, enabling companies to quickly add (for free) tools to collect and use receipt data (SKU-level) in their applications.
Add TIKI to any Shopify store in minutes to start offsetting the cost of your discount strategy with data licensing. Create standard coupons like “Share your data to get 5% off your next purchase of $50 or more.”
Generate a cleanroom of consumer data, with a complete legal and compliant audit trail, for your specific use case, filtered by consumers that match your desired attributes. Cleanrooms are hosted data lakes, easily integrated into mainstream data tooling, out of the box ready for queries, model training, and ETL workloads.
In addition to tools for publishers to create their own reward programs, we’re rolling out a managed service, where TIKI will source a set of curated rewards app developers can drop right into their app. Faster time to market and guaranteed payouts for users.
Mid Term (next 90d)
Data Buyer Services
We have several data preparation and enrichment services requested by data buyers —features like differential privacy, de-identification, and ticker mapping. As we work through data buyer pilot programs, we’re developing a roadmap of add-on services to make the buyer journey seamless.
Website and Portal
Our website, and more importantly, our web portal, is grossly out of date. It has not slowed us down to date, as we are working hand-in-hand with a select group of publishers and buyers. As we move towards an in-bound self-service model, it requires a major revamp.
The largest unknown right now is the sales cycle for closing buyer contracts. It will become clearer as we work through pilots in the coming weeks. Right now, unless we go out and raise significant capital, time-to-close directly impacts burn and feature development.
It feels almost silly to write this, as it’s assumed for any startup at our stage, but runway and burn play a heavy hand in our roadmap and feature velocity. We must stay laser-focused on the one or two features that drive revenue.
Cash for rewards. This is a bit anticipatory, but I’m fairly certain our managed rewards pilot is about to be a smash success. The tricky part here is while we have the opportunity to rapidly scale the program to millions of users, obtaining hyper-valuable datasets, there’s inevitably going to be a delta, as sales catch up. All the more reason to nail our understanding of the sales cycle.
Do you know any direct-to-consumer brands in e-commerce (Shopify is a bonus!), fintech, or gaming? We’re aggressively onboarding data publishers and their users.
Do you know anyone sourcing/buying data? We’re making headway in the financial services (quants, hedge funds, PE), AI, and martech fields. Or maybe even someone at a major consumer brand on the hunt for consumer data they can’t get through traditional channels.
Till next month
- mike & the now much larger TIKI team.