Here is the updated roadmap we’ve promised the community. We’ve come a long way and have some monumental mileposts ahead of us!
SOMA begins. Co-founders Jukka Hilmola and Joseph al Sharif were using legacy ecommerce platforms for their import business. Both founders observed the limitations of these existing platfoms for C2C transactions. Specifically, the interpersonal or social element was lacking. They noticed customers exiting these platforms and forming localized Facebook groups for trade, presumably for the social aspect.
Hypothesizing that a combination of ecommerce with social interaction would fill an existing need, Jukka and Joseph founded SOMA. In addition to leveraging social capital on an ecommerce platform, SOMA also introduced the concept of the interactive item card (IIC): a digital representation of a physical item, storing all provenance and ownership history in a hybrid blockchain/off-chain model.
1st funding round: Ocuaid Ltd, an investment company owned by a famous eye surgeon operating in multiple clinics in Helsinki, invested the first pre-seed capital for Soma.
Angel investment. Based on a business plan and pitch deck, Jukka and Joseph raised angel capital from a Finnish syndicate at a €1.5M valuation.
First app prototype. The founders opted to develop an iOS application, because iOS was easier to develop. (They subsequently discovered iOS to be incompatible with some key blockchain features and pivoted to focus on Android and web applications.)
ICO. SOMA sold about 4M SCT in the ICO, raising enough capital to continue development and expansion.
Technical white paper released.
Android app released for MVP closed testing. A small pool of interested participants tested the app in a closed environment.
SOMA COO. Jukka’s brother Ville Hilmola, who had been assisting SOMA part-time for nearly a year, quit his 19-year career at PostNord to serve as SOMA’s Chief Operating Officer.
PRESENT AND FUTURE
SOMA CMO. Jacob Andra joined SOMA as Chief Marketing Officer. Jacob is the first U.S. member of the team, and had previously served as a marketing director in the fintech and software industries.
Heimdall Protocol. Drawing on the architecture of SOMA’s IIC, the team developed the Heimdall Protocol, a data structure underpinning the IIC that could be replicated across any number of industries or use cases.
Marketing initiative. Following Jacob’s joining the team as CMO, SOMA launched on an extensive marketing initiative to raise public awareness of our project.
MVP release. SOMA released its minimum viable product for community testing and feedback. The MVP — as MVPs do — has basic functionality, and SOMA will iterate upon it based on said feedback.
Loyalty airdrop. SOMA plans a variation on the airdrop that will reward long-term SOMA supporters. Before committing to this, we will present our plan to the SOMA community and collect feedback to understand whether the idea has popular support. Stay tuned for details on this.
MVP iteration. SOMA will implement a form for MVP users to quickly and easily submit feedback, and will collate the feedback to look for common themes. Subsequently, SOMA devs will release successive iterations that implement key findings.
Civic integration. SOMA will integrate Civic’s identity validation service into its social marketplace. In addition to the social validation that will happen organically (users vouching for one another, creating a ‘trustworthiness profile’), community members will have the option to empirically validate their identity via the Civic Secure Identity Platform (SIP), which “uses a verified identity for multi-factor authentication on web and mobile apps without the need for usernames or passwords.”
Pilot market assessment. As part of SOMA’s go-to-market strategy, we’ve identified Singapore as an ideal initial market for our first real-world implementation. As a first step, SOMA will conduct a thorough assessment to validate the Singaporean nation as a best choice
Government of Finland. Via its Business Finland program, the Finnish government offers funding for select in-country startups. SOMA has applied for an initial funding round and will be receiving a decision.
Singapore partnerships. Pending a positive assessment of the Singaporean market, SOMA will begin establishing partnerships in that country in preparation for our pilot launch there in 2019.
SOMA web platform release.
SOMA escrow system. To facilitate high — value, trustless transactions on the SOMA platform, we’ll be releasing our escrow service.
iOS app. Based on indications that the above-referenced blockchain incompatibilities will be resolved by Apple, SOMA is developing a functional iOS app.
Singapore market launch. SOMA will implement our social marketplace in Singapore and use the Singaporean market as a theater in which to work out unforeseen issues related to provenance tracking, market dynamics, and social interactions.
Heimdall Protocol test. To prove our provenance tracking, SOMA will choose specific industry partners for a small-scale testing of our Heimdall Protocol, which is designed to eliminate fraud, counterfeiting, and uncertainty in the ownership value chain.
DEX & wallet. SOMA will integrate a 3rd-party wallet and decentralized exchange (DEX) into the SOMA platform.
Heimdall feedback. SOMA will collect feedback from our industry partners regarding their use of the Heimdall Protocol and will iterate on the protocol accordingly.
3rd-party integrations. SOMA will integrate third-party data input services to support adoption of the Heimdall Protocol.
Heimdall token. As part of a wider vision that goes beyond our social marketplace platform, SOMA will issue a token specific to the Heimdall Protocol. This will allow whitelabeling and use of the protocol by any company, in any industry. The new token will initially be interchangeable with SCT by par value.
Heimdall adoption. SOMA will roll out the Heimdall Protocol as an industry standard for the tracking of provenance and ownership history.
SOMA adoption. Based on lessons learned in the Singaporean pilot, SOMA will have a thriving social marketplace for the buying, selling, and tracking of goods, as well as the monetization of social capital.
Heimdall Protocol will be in use in multiple industries as a standard of provenance and ownership verification.
As you can see, SOMA’s future plans are ambitious. They’re also achievable. We’ve hit all our milestones to date, and we have every expectation of continuing to do so. If we need to pivot based on lessons learned along the way, we will do so. This is our vision today, and it inspires us to put in the long hours that we do to bring it to fruition.