Backed by the revolutionary blockchain technology, The Knowbella Platform is out to break the monopoly of big institutions and organizations who exploit researchers and scientists worldwide. The mission is clear and that is to provide researchers and scientists open access to intellectual property, grants and lab equipment, career opportunities, communication tools and to share their knowledge with other fields as well. The disruptive idea to bring collaboration back to science and contribute to the global STEM community is also backed by a very strong business model.
I talked to Jason E. Barkeloo, the founder and CEO of Knowbella Tech, as he talked about his military background, how he is using blockchain to solve a genuine world problem and the challenges he has faced so far.
- Please tell us about your background and how you were introduced to blockchain?
Jason: I completed a career in the US Army, with the last station at laboratory for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Then I went into the troops for teachers program, teaching inner-city science at the high school level and at the end of that, I became an entrepreneur and developed a couple of technologies. I’ve launched five startups, had one exit and I’ve been an investor, public speaker and researcher.
I have got a fairly broad background in a number of different areas. I started looking at blockchain when bitcoin came out, right after the Satoshi article was written. I’ve been watching that space for quite a while and then decided that it was time for me to integrate this technology into my latest company which is a scientific crowd-sourcing platform that provides free intellectual property, tools, services and job to scientists around the world, particularly the underserved in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The researchers collaborate in the platform that is an open science collaborative platform and as the scientists collaborate in the platform, they earn cryptocurrency, what we call Anthro Tokens and those Anthro Tokens then become a model of exchange within the network and out of the network and that’s a utility token. We’re also launching a security token offering to sell Helix Tokens, which are security backed by the equity in the company and that’s a quick background on what I’ve been and what I’m doing.
- Great! Why you chose blocking technology to build the platform on?
Jason: The reason for blockchain from my perspective originally was about security. I’ve been involved in trusted computing for a number of years and very I’m keen on what’s going on in the security space. The storage of data is something I’m very interested in and blockchain is an elegant way to store data in a decentralized way that brought security to it. That was something I was very interested and eventually incorporated in my own open science platform.
- Please tell us about the challenges that you are facing right now regarding Knowbella Tech platform?
Jason: As an entrepreneur the single biggest hurdle is funding and the second biggest is always finding the right team members and those two go hand in hand. Without funding, one can not possibly bring in a good team and a good team is what enables you to execute and generate revenues. At the end of the day, there is got to be a business, it’s got to be sustainable and it’s got to provide an ROI. People need to understand that blockchain is a tool and anybody that gets enamored with it, often forgets that they got to have a business behind it that provides a return on investment. Those people are the ones that really struggle in trying to raise capital, what we call professional money.
- Talking about funding, how much funding have you raised so far?
Jason: We’ve raised $245,000 and that got us to MVP. We are in our seed round now and our seed round will enable us to launch our security token offering (STO). STO will be used to scale the platform, do some refinements, start bringing scientists on to the platform, provide them these free tools and services and reward them in cryptocurrency.
- Being CEO and founder of Knowbella Tech, what are you up to these days?
Jason: The number one is raising capital, so 99.9% of my time is dedicated to raising capital. The rest 0.01% is everything else ranging from attracting intellectual properties, looking for team members, making sure the platform is being debugged properly and all those other things that support raising capital.
- You said you’re trying to raise capital, is that the bottleneck right now?
Jason: No there’s really no bottleneck. Raising capital is a very time intensive endeavor and anybody that says it’s not, never had the experience of raising capital because you have to show an ROI and a pathway to an ROI. For us we have two pathways, one is potential acquisition and the second one is to take to the public and either of those will happen as a result of we being successful. Our focus is to be successful and then having that as side effect outcome. Most of the investors that I deal with really like the double bottom line, they like the fact that we’re providing intellectual properties to underserved scientists and enabling those scientists to make their own communities in a decentralized way as an economic development engine. They like the goodness that we do and then they also like the fact that we have a pathway to an ROI.