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Startups use blockchain to gain business edge

New companies are capturing the potential of blockchain technology and are poised to start executing in market. De-centralised apps built using blockchain technology can solve a variety of critical world issues – ranging from digital identity to fintech,and supply chain automation.
 
While blockchain is a relatively recent technological advancement, it is rapidly becoming a more mainstream and accessible platform for tech startups to build on. One key benefit of blockchain technology is that it gives more autonomy to individual users as their data is encrypted and accessed by a private key, as opposed to stored on a centralised server. The promise of these decentralised applications, or “dApps” as they are referred to, is they have the potential to completely transform industries and change the way that value is exchanged all around the world.
 
Asia-Pacific’s leading blockchain venture studio, Centrality, has been working on a number of core services to enable the easy building of “dApps” and is now incubating six projects that use blockchain technology. The accelerator programme is being delivered in partnership with New Zealand’s leading accelerator facilitator, Lightning Lab.
 
Through Centrality the participating companies have been able to tap into a series of core technical services, built on blockchain technology, to build their dApps. They have also been exposed to leadership with Centrality that are world authorities on this new technology.  Using the tools to build dApps provided by Centrality, this group of startups is able to go-to-market with strong technological foundations at a lower cost which will be passed on to their investors.
 
Teams gain access to core services in Centrality’s ecosystem including messaging, digital ID, payment gateways, exchange tools, distributed storage, and compliant analytics. All of these protocols are able to integrate with the individual requirements of each dApp. By enabling the accelerator teams to build on top of existing technology, the ecosystem of core services provides a leg-up to compete in an environment where 90 percent of incumbent applications fail in the first 90 days.
 
Each team received up to NZD100k seed funding to develop their concept and explore global market opportunities. Participating teams also received technical and commercial training to develop decentralised business models, which allow for them to build their business’ use-cases for blockchain. Teams will pitch their proposition to local and global investors at Demo Day, on 27 February at GridAKL.
The team at Yabble
 
The Centrality Accelerator powered by Lightning Lab showcases six use-cases of blockchain in a wide range of areas: carbon offsetting, ethical data sourcing, film distribution, e-payments, tourism and digital identity.
 
One company, Yabble, is working on an ambitious global plan to ensure ethical trading of data for all consumers.  With enormous focus on data sovereignty (returning the ownership of data to consumers, rather than major corporations selling it without permission,) Yabble is well placed to lead the world in creating a dataplace where consumers can opt in to trade data on their terms to the companies that wish to use it.
 
With the strength of leadership in distributed ledger technology with Centrality, Yabble has been able to craft a go to market strategy that is world leading. As an established company, Yabble entered the accelerator programme already working with New Zealand’s top brands.  They have built a community of “Yabblers” who happily provide brands with feedback not easily available through traditional methods.
 
Kathryn Topp, CEO of Yabble says that “joining the Centrality accelerator was about building our knowledge, deepening connections and ultimately bringing blockchain into our business in an effective way.  Yabble is now super charged to reach our global growth ambitions and further develop our ethical dataplace for consumers and brands.”
 
Centrality GM of strategic partnerships, Andy Higgs, says New Zealand is the ideal test ground for global tech solutions and Centrality is furthering that legacy. He states that, “the current model has consumer data controlled by corporations often without permission. We are beginning to see the unintended consequences such as more frequent data breaches and questionable economic outcomes. Centrality has set out to build fair, socially conscious tech solutions that allow consumers to own their data and for businesses to use it fairly.”
All of Centrality’s Accelerator teams will be pitching their platforms at a “Demo Day” event, before taking their final products to market and potentially joining Centrality’s ecosystem. This event is largely designed to introduce companies to investors to facilitate future partnerships and growth for success. New Zealand Minister of Statistics and Minister for Climate Change, Hon. James Shaw will deliver a keynote speech at the Centrality Accelerator Demo Day.
Jeff Mann, programme director of the Accelerator says the successful teams will graduate from the programme with a broad set of highly applicable business skills, along with sustainable business models. “These companies have been through a rigorous programme and are already engaged with commercial partners who will fuel their growth. The ideal outcome is to match these ventures with the right level of investment that supports their growth to deliver unique and real value to customers.”
Centrality Accelerator powered by Lightning Lab cohort:
 
Digital identity –  ?hau
A cultural identity platform that reconnects you with your place in the world.
 
Carbon offsetting –  CarbonClick
Empowering businesses to implement carbon offsetting with a simple, trustworthy, turnkey solution.
 
Cinema distribution –  CinemaLogic
Optimising the theatrical distributing supply chain.
 
Tourism –  CityOn
Enabling visitors to securely share their data to enhance their destination experience.
 
Payments –  Pocketful
An easy way for groups to save, spend and manage money.
Market research – Yabble
A dataplace where brands and consumers can ethically exchange data and earn rewards.
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