Slock.it secures $2 million USD seed funding to build next-generation Sharing Economy Platform
We’re excited to announce that Slock.it has secured $2 million USD in seed funding. This round will go towards the development of the Universal Sharing Network (“USN”) project, which seeks to shake up the sharing economy by enabling both companies and individuals to rent, sell or share any connected smart object.
“With the USN, rental apartments and offices will become fully automated, smart objects will be rented on demand and unused vehicles get a new lease on life.” — Christoph Jentzsch, CEO Slock.it.
How to revolutionize the sharing economy with Blockchain + IoT
Since its inception in November 2015, Slock.it’s mission has been to develop the future infrastructure of the Sharing Economy. We’ve codenamed this project the Universal Sharing Network, or “USN”. Build on top of the public Ethereum blockchain, the USN will provide users a set of mobile and desktop applications to find, locate, rent and control any object mediated by smart contracts, from anywhere in the world.
The main advantage of using blockchain technology in this context is a radically simplified user journey: Open the app > Find an object nearby > Pay for it > Use it. There is only one key (your smartphone) for everything and no need to register or login for the service thanks to a judicious use of security deposits.
The USN’s key differentiators are:
- Cost effectiveness: we leverage a public infrastructure and therefore do not incur datacenter capital outlays
- Interoperability: the same network of value used to rent your car can be used by the vehicle itself to pay for its own parking or electricity
- Security: Ethereum decentralized apps or ‘dapps’ benefit from public/private key cryptography by default, while the underlying infrastructure presents no central point of failure.
- Transparency: The USN lives on the public Ethereum blockchain and can be reviewed by anyone
- Permissionless: developers and manufacturers alike do not need to request permission to leverage the USN as part of their products
The Road Ahead
Slock.it ‘s USN will be a B2C product when it launches in beta next year and will be released under a mainstream, user-friendly brand and image. In the meantime, we are very much in B2B integration mode, helping manufacturers onboard their objects onto the blockchain. Manufacturers can contact us at email@example.com for more information.
It’s particularly important to note that we do not intend to produce hardware ourselves, instead, we are integrating with partners such as Noke, who find value in the USN as it allows them to dip into the waters of the service industry while gaining deep insight as to how their products are used in the real world.
“We’re talking about the deployment of a global, real-time, ad-hoc Internet of Value” — Stephan Tual, COO Slock.it.
We hope to build up our developer community capacity throughout 2017 by making the Ethereum Computer available as a free and open source image for popular SoCs platforms. We’re proud to have opted for a ‘permissionless’ approach on the public Ethereum blockchain, encouraging network effects through a free and easy integration for both the maker community and larger manufacturers of smart objects alike.
Blockchain is and will continue to be at the core of everything we do. It’s still early days, but we’re proud to be one of the first companies to give end-users a real-world preview of what blockchain can actually do for them.
If you’re passionate about decentralization and would like to join us in building the USN, please check out the careers section of our website.
About the Author
Stephan Tual is the Founder and COO of Slock.it.
Previously CCO for the Ethereum project, Stephan has three startups under his belt and brings 20 years of enterprise IT experience to the Slock .it project. Before discovering the Blockchain, Stephan held CTO positions at leading data analytics companies in London with clients including VISA Europe and BP.
His current focus is on the intersection of blockchain technology and embedded hardware, where autonomous agents can transact as part of an optimal “Economy of Things”.