How to scale an AI + Blockchain company – Interview with the founder of Eligma
Eligma is one of the ICOs we’re watching this month and we’re super excited by the potential it presents if they stick to their execution plan. We got in touch with the founder of Eligma, Dejan Roljic, to speak about his journey so far and the future, with some interesting tidbits about the general state of cryptocurrencies today.
Tell us a little about your personal motivations with the project. What keeps your team driven?
Belief in the idea. If your whole team feels passionate about the project, no work and effort are too hard.
What was your thought process while assembling your advisory board?
We recognized how complex of a project Eligma is from the start. We wanted to involve people that would cover every aspect of the project (AI, blockchain, finance, etc.). Most of all, we wanted advisors that were not just faces in our whitepaper, but people that genuinely believe in the project and are willing to help make it a reality.
Tell us a little about your team’s culture. What are some key characteristics define your team?
In a way, you answered the question already. They have to be a team, not just a group of individuals. If they don’t get along, everything falls apart. They have to trust in the project and be willing to put in the hard work required.
What about the current online shopping system is broken? Why is decentralisation a good approach to solve this?
The biggest problems are the abundance of choices, unsafe transactions on second-hand markets and fragmented loyalty programs. Decentralization is not a solution for everything but is perfect for improving the security of used goods sales. With smart contracts acting as trustless agents, buyers and sellers can be sure that they are getting the deal they agreed to.
Tell us about the AI component about Eligma? What goes into building a decentralised AI app?
Our AI enables us to implement a few important features – a discovery that will enable users to quickly find the best offer according to their demands, a chatbot which will help refine user searches and the option of tracking the value of household items. In the last case, our AI will also suggest when the best time to sell them is. Let me point out that our AI is not decentralized as that would not make any sense in our case.
What were your biggest product challenges you faced so far?
Acquiring enough data … in order for our AI to function as well as we envision it, we need a huge amount of data. We are confident however that we will be able to collect enough to give our users a not-before-seen shopping experience.
How does EliPay, your offline offering, fit into your overall vision, given your online first approach?
Eligma is being developed as a comprehensive solution, meaning we are not focusing only on online stores. We intend to bring the online and offline worlds of commerce together on one platform. If you think about in this way, EliPay becomes the perfect example of how Eligma will work, bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.
How did your partnership with BTC city come about? What advantages does this give you?
We have worked with BTC City before when I was still the CEO of ABC Accelerator. They have recognised the advantages of start-ups and new technologies very early and developed their city as a polygon for new ideas, companies and technologies, especially blockchain and cryptocurrencies recently. Being able to test Eligma in BTC City is a huge advantage, as it represents a small piece of world commerce with its different business units, online and offline. We will be able to test Eligma on a smaller scale, gather enough data and make corrections where needed for our expansion to the UK and beyond.
Your roadmap looks pretty aggressive. How will you go about executing it?
We are aware how complex of an undertaking Eligma is. We also know how fast the crypto world is moving. We considered both aspects when creating the roadmap. It is designed in such a way that we will achieve milestones as quickly as possible, but with enough time that they function as well as we believe they can. We will ensure that it comes to fruition with two simple words – hard work!
What are your opinions about the current state of the crypto industry?
At Eligma, we are all firm crypto and blockchain believers. A lot has happened in the last year or two. I think the industry is now in the phase of sorting itself out. What technologies are here to stay and what projects are well thought out and backed? These questions will get answered in the next few months and the path forward will be clear.
What do you think about ICOs as a fundraising instrument? Do you think they’re here to stay?
Yes, they are here to stay, but in different forms than we now know them. With the EU and the US preparing stricter regulations, companies that want to do crowd sales will have to adapt. We already planned our crowdsale with strict measures regarding the KYC process and data privacy in mind and crowd sales in the future will have to do the same.
What is your advice to anyone thinking of conducting an ICO today?
Do your research and don’t take it lightly. A crowdsale is by no means a sure thing. You have to have a great idea, a passionate team and enough people to back you. When you hit a rough patch, and that will happen, you have to persevere and remember what you are trying to accomplish. You have to go all in or you won’t succeed.
Hitesh Malviya is the Founder of ItsBlockchain. He is one of the most early adopters of blockchain & cryptocurrency enthusiast in India. After being into space for a few years, he started IBC in 2016 to help other early adopters learn about the technology.
Before IBC, Hitesh has founded 4 companies in the cyber security & IT space.