In this article, we went straight to the source to get to know who is behind the CVProof.com project, how the idea came about and what is next.
Here are some insights and background info from founders, and brothers, Ray Chow-Toun and Frederic Verin.
Tell us about the founders background. How did you meet? Have you worked together before? And, what are your strengths?
Frederic Verin (FV): I’ve known Ray (the CEO) my entire life as we are half-brothers, and we have worked together on various venture projects. CVProof is the outcome of our collaboration, having spent significant time looking and conceptualising different products and business models. We believe that CVProof will be a catalyst, enabling us to make a difference and transform the job market.
Ray Chow-Toun (RCT): As entrepreneurs, our goal is to not only create wealth for ourselves, but to execute and scale something meaningful that contributes positively to the technology revolution the world is going through. Francois Bouteiller is the 3rd co-founder with advisory and board director responsibilities. His role is to provide CVProof with his aviation expertise and to sell our project to the various aviation organizations worldwide. I worked together with Francois in Flybaboo (Swiss Lowcost Airline) respectively as Head of IT and COO. Our key strength lie in our experience and track record in pioneering innovative solutions, having successfully led and scaled start-ups (ECMP, Telclic, Flybaboo, Nasair, HappyFresh).
When did you first learn about blockchain technology?
FV: We first heard about blockchain through bitcoin a few years back, but really learnt about it when we realized how its technological capabilities could become the backbone to develop CVProof concept and could enable us to create a new economic model based on token.
RCT: Yes, it was back in 2012–13, when I first started reading articles about mining in China.
How the idea for CVProof came about?
RCT: I had this idea a few years back when traveling to Russia and experiencing what they call a workbook, which is a paper document listing all of your professional credentials which you need to present when applying for a job. There is actually a legal requirement in a number of countries, like France, Switzerland, Russia and Brazil, to name a few, for companies to issue work certificate proving your employment track records. This document is not only required for job search, but also for a number of administrative requests, for instance opening a bank account, or claiming social benefits and even applying for an apartment lease. The idea was to digitize the process, however no technology was able at the time to provide a decentralized solution that everyone can trust.
FV: Yes, so when we learned about blockchain, we realized that it was what we needed to make our vision possible. We further developed the idea when we realized that the benefit should not only be a paperless process, but that the actual main goal should be reducing credential fraud taking its magnitude and the cost-efficiency impact to all kinds of organisations.
Why did you decide to apply for the Estonian e-citizenship? And why did you register your business there?
FV: For several reasons:
1/ We believe that the digital ID will spread in Europe and will make signature authentication far easier, particularly when operating a crossborder business remotely, like CVProof.
2/ The ease of setting up a legal entity rapidly under EU regulations
3/ Taking the very nature of our business notarizing digitally credentials, it made sense for the founders to have their ID also legally digitized.
4/ Estonia is definitely ahead of the crytocurrency curve as a nation, taking the various initiatives they are undertaking in this field. It’s quite impressive, what they have accomplished.
What if the government of your country of residence issued e-citizenships, would you move your company there? (I’m trying to understand the reasoning behind the question above)
RCT: We would not change the corporate structure that we currently have now, which is having our holding company based in Singapore, where Frederic is based, but it would certainly make our life easier, as our professional counterparts would also be able to use digital IDs to sign documents.
FV: Our intention is to set up a few legal entities fully owned by our holding company in the regional areas that we intend to operate (i.e. Europe, South Asia, USA, Russia, China).
You run a decentralized company, with employees and contractors spread around different time zones, how do you think CVProof will benefit companies that run similar operations?
FV: Yes, Ray is based in Switzerland and I’m in Singapore, and our team is all over the world. If the way we structure our organization can be a useful benchmark for companies that wish to operate in a geographically decentralised manner, then it’s great. The key elements to a decentralized organization in my opinion are:
1/ Effective use of collaborative tools
2/ Recruiting team leads that are suited for this type of management and remote working
3/ Have clear process of action plan execution and clear accountability amongst the teams
4/ Creating a strong culture that give a sense of belonging and purpose to the remote teams
RCT: It is, of course, an operational challenge to recruit talents worldwide and operate cross border in a cost effective manner, even though we are certain this is the right approach.
And, how will they benefit the people looking for remote jobs?
RCT: I believe CVProof will be the right platform for them, offering a space to grow and autonomy, whilst providing a clear framework in which both job seekers and hiring companies have visibility to operate efficiently.
Tell us a bit more about CVProof and how it will work:
RCT: In its first version, CVProof will offer credentials validation and issuance features. Users will also be able to post their CV’s using a professional standard format and customize the design of the non credential parts. Industries such as aviation, medical and education, will require our platform to provide features specific to their sector regulations. Those regulated sectors will be our primary targets as credential verification is already a legal requirement that they are performing manually today. Our advisory team is composed of high profile industry experts who will play an ambassador role to connect CVProof with the key decision makers in their respective sector (Aviation, medical, education organisations).
FV: We will also rapidly offer to Human Resources departments the possibility to deliver their professional credentials such as all types of certificates, promotions, expatriation etc, directly onto CVProof platform where their employees will access them online in a few clicks. We believe that the validation of credentials will only be a transition period, which will apply to the credentials delivered in the past. It seems like a nature progression that all future credentials will be delivered digitally and will be blockchain authenticated straight away.
Because of our decentralized organization, we will be able to target those industries in multiple geographies, with a first focus on Europe+Russia and Asia, in a cost effective way. Deploying CVproof teams cross border will not require heavy infrastructure and/or even having a legal entity in the targeted countries, it’s cost effective. We will operate based on lean commercial teams using home office concept at least until we reach our user growth inflexion point in the first 2 years.
How about your monetary policy? Explain the INK token distribution and the token utility.
FV: The INK token will be the currency to transact on the platform. We decided to create and use this token rather than fiat currency to settle transactions for a number of reasons:
1/ Ability to settle micro-transactions in a seamless process
2/ Payments removing intermediaries such as banks or payment gateways, enabling cross border transactions
3/ Ability to implement a creative revenue sharing mechanism benefitting all actors of the job market
With the INK token, we intend to monetize all services and transactions occurring in the job market enabling everyone to receive a remuneration in exchange of the value they generate.
We are issuing 1Bn INK making 47.5% of them available to contributors during the ICO. The funds received will be allocated to the business operations and the acquisition of users. 17.5% will be allocated to CVProof team and shareholders. The remaining 35% will be allocated firstly to paid partners, advisors and bounty programs and secondly to finance future expansion of the company.
Why are you issuing so many tokens? One billion seems like a lot?
FV: We will be issuing a constant number of tokens, taking into consideraion our business is a transactional one, but we wanted firstly to maintain a correlation between the INK price/volume and the transaction price that will be in place on the platform, and secondly anticipate on future financing needs in the years to come. Our ICO contributors have thus full visibility on the maximum token overtime dilution.
Tell us about your dev team:
RCT: We are currently working with partners (Papers.ch and EPFL) providing us the blockchain technical and mobile development expertise, and at this point have recruited one full-time blockchain engineer. I lead the development streams and also act as our Product lead (my forte). We are currently recruiting a CTO to take the lead on the tech dev aspects and fully internalise this function within CVProof. Contact us to apply.
When does your ICO start and what is the minimum you’re looking to raise?
FV: Our pre-sale is currently ongoing and the public sale due to start on March 1st. Minimum we are looking to raise in order for us to release a first version of our product and initiate traction is around $2m.
Why should people buy INK during the ICO?
FV: For 3 reasons mainly:
1/ We believe our product addresses an unmet need in a sizeable market and offers a cost effective and technically robust solution
2/ We offer a 50% discount during the presale to accredited investors and during the public sale we will offer early birds up to 25% discount
3/ As part of its ambitious user acquisition strategy, CVproof will incentivize companies, recruitment agencies and candidates by granting them INK tokens for the adoption of services. This will ensure an initial level of transactions on the platform, as well as provide liquidity to the INK token almost from day 1 of operations. These Incentive Tokens will be restricted for use only on the CVproof platform under the form of a discount rather than a freely tradeable token. CVproof will acquire the incentive tokens by purchasing them from ICO token holders (either directly or on exchanges).
This commercial strategy will not only boost user acquisition but will also support the INK token price. In other words, CVproof will use part of the token sale funds to develop the platform’s transactions and also to provide liquidity to the INK token.
What are the immediate goals for the post ICO phase?
RCT: We intend to release our pilot version after the closing the ICO, enabling our early adopters to use the platform immediately for the credential validation features upon issuing the INK tokens. Rapidly our goal is to enable companies to deliver to employees, directly on CVProof, their full list of credentials.
Will your product integrate with social networks and job seeking platforms, like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder?
FV: CVProof will definitely seek partnerships with job boards giants, as our business complement theirs. As for social networks there are clearly some synergies that we will look to either integrate and/or interface in the long run. Having said that, our key focus will remain on developing a platform that enables the credentials validation and issuance. This is our core business and around those activities CVProof ecosystem will enable users to create many services that relate to the job market .
What is the key message you personally like to convey to your potential pre-sale and main ICO contributors?
RCT: What a tremendous chance to hold in hand smart and powerful tools like the blockchain technology allowing us to change the world for the better! Adding concurrent transparency & tokenization to the Internet and mobile world is one of the most significant steps of the digital revolution. We are delighted to invite you to join CVproof in reshaping the entire Job Market.
Thanks for reading!