Blocktac fights fake consumer products and data with our certificates and single-use digital seals registered with Blockchain technology, designed for brand protection and consumer engagement
As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a startup developer of blockchain technology, they were looking to further develop their solution and for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their “Blockchain of Things Devices” blockchain solution.
We spoke with CEO Francisco J. Guillén Martínez to know more about Blocktac and their participation in BlockStart.
In one paragraph, what is Blocktac?
BlockTac is a factory of trust: BlockTac fights fake consumer products and data with our certificates and single-use digital seals registered with Blockchain technology, designed for brand protection and consumer engagement. And with our Blockchain-of-things devices, that communicate directly with IoT sensors, encrypt the data, and store it in a public Blockchain. The information now becomes trusted and traceable, impossible to change, truly linked to its source.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?
We decided to establish BlockTac in April 2018 following the report of Blockchain in Education from EC and the news in the media of fake academic accreditations of well-known politicians. We decided to implement a service that would definitively solve the problem. At the same time, we discovered the need to protect different food products after the experience of fraud in a well-known brand of Spanish wine suffered by one of the BlockTac founders on a trip to China.
What is Blocktac passionate about achieving?
BlockTac was founded with a simple ambition: fighting fraud. Unfortunately, we all find fake products and services in many industries and it is impossible for consumers and service users to immediately verify its authenticity. Even the datasets from IoT platforms are poisoned as the result of cyberattacks and AI results are useless. We have developed a family of products, software, and hardware devices, that protect physical and digital assets and provide immediate verification tools through the use of Blockchain technology as the ultimate proof of authenticity.
Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?
– Francisco Guillen: CEO, Founder of BlockTac. Founder of other successful ventures (Web Technologies, Red Delta, Skillspro). Former Professor of Strategy at IESE Business School. He holds an MD, a Ph.D., and an MBA. In charge of high-level sales. Former Provost of 2 Universities. Experience of 25 years in Consultancy (Strategy, Gen. Management) to different industries (3M, DMR, DKV Insurance, General Lab…).
– Enrique Lizaso: R&D, Founder of BlockTac. Large experience (20y+) in Finance (former Deputy CEO of UnnimBank). He holds a Degree in Mathematics (sp. cryptography), another in Computer Eng., an MD, a Ph.D., and an MBA from IESE. Expert in Blockchain. Highly experienced in Management, Sales, Finance, IT. Previous StartUp experience.
– Marta Romero: COO. She holds a Degree in Industrial Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, another degree in Management from the International University of Catalunya, and a MsC in Production Management from Politecnico di Torino. Has worked before in Banco Santander, and now in BlockTac. Expert in Blockchain, software development, and industrial processes.
– Maiol Valenti: CTO. He holds a Degree in Multimedia Engineering from the University of Vic, where his Thesis Work was about Blockchain. He has worked before in IT for press groups (Regio 7; Diari de Girona). In charge of new developments involving Blockchain integration in App’s server and client side.
– Elisa Sánchez: CSO. Large experience (20y+) in Commercial and Strategic Marketing and Digital departments of large companies. Dialogue with the main stakeholders in the private sector (Food & Beverage, Publishing and Media, Agencies, Hospitality, Distribution Channel, Banking and Insurance) and in the public sector (Ministries, Communities and Town Halls). She holds a degree in Business Administration from UOC University, and another in Computing Engineering from the University of Alacant.
– Cristina Canton: Senior Account Manager. She holds a Commercial degree and has a long trajectory on sales, having worked at Seifa Keller, SONPURA, and Telefónica Spain. She has also been Head of Sales in Heading2Mark and Red Komunica.
Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
Our devices are autonomous Single Board Controllers (SBC) that collect information directly from IoT sensors or machines, encrypt the data, and store it in a public Blockchain. The information now becomes trusted and traceable, impossible to change, truly linked to its source. Privacy is fully protected, and potential scammers are immediately identified. We name these edge computers “Blockchain-of-Things” devices. This approach makes it impossible for third parties to amend or impersonate the real producers of the data, therefore protecting the training of AI systems, and reducing energy consumption. Our competitive advantage is unique and based on the high computing power, low size, and cost of the SBCs, with full compatibility and functionalities.
To further increase the security of our IoT devices, we have implemented a decentralized Key Management System (KMS) also based on Blockchain technology. The goal is to store key sensitive data in a decentralized and encrypted manner outside the device.
Our software may be used by third-party IoT platforms or SBC developers and is easily deployed through the use of Docker and Kubernetes.
This solution will protect IoT platforms and AI systems against data poisoning from cyberattacks. It may be applied in many industries: Automotive, Energy, Healthcare, Smart manufacturing, Smart Retail, Smart Buildings, Smart Homes, and Smart Cities.
What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
On the one hand, having the opportunity to participate in an outstanding group of companies as diverse as they are committed to the use of blockchain technology to solve real business problems. On the other, to have access to an environment in which to identify companies open to addressing their business problems in an innovative way and in collaboration with international partners. Finally, we benefit from the visibility and recognition that participating in a rigorous and challenging program brings.
Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?
We faced two challenges at the start with our Blockchain-of-Things devices. The first had to do with the Deep Tech nature of our solution. Such innovation does not find an easy entry on the market and the prospect to interact with SMEs and to identify opportunities to implement Pilot projects had proved to be difficult. The second challenge was to select the best industries for a diligent market entry, given the crosswise nature of our solution.
As a result of our participation in the BlockStart program, we had the opportunity to meet SMEs interested in implementing our solution to add higher value to their offers and eager for a join entry into specific industries. We have been able to improve our solution to better accommodate their needs and be ready to access the market in the following industries: Industry 4.0, Smart Cities, and Healthcare.
What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?
Our specialization is unique in providing, through the use of blockchain technology, solutions to business problems related to the protection of physical and digital assets, and the possibility of immediate verification of their authenticity. We do it with a family of products and services, software and hardware devices, highly effective, easy to implement, inexpensive, which can be deployed in a wide number of industries.
Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?
It is critical in order to be able to quickly and efficiently develop use cases that may demonstrate the effectiveness of our solution and arouse the interest of larger corporations.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We would like to become internationally recognized as the reference company in providing anti-fraud solutions that are easy to implement and inexpensive in multiple industries, capable of protecting and authenticating all sorts of physical and digital assets through the use of Blockchain technology.